David de Gea is human after all, Louis van Gaal is struggling to name a capable team and other things we learned from Bournemouth 2 Manchester United 1
By Editor Wayne Veysey
Even De Gea makes mistakes
The Spaniard is on course to win United’s Player of the Year award for the third consecutive season. He is the team’s rock and most consistent player. But even the best are not error-free, and De Gea showed he is human after all with his blunder for the Bournemouth opener less than two minutes into a thrilling encounter. Junior Stanislas’ inswinging corner was devilishly difficult to deal with, and assisted by a swirling wind, but De Gea got his positioning hopelessly wrong and was left grasping at thin air as the ball arced beyond his outstretched fingers. Little wonder he had his head in his hands afterwards.
United can’t find the right balance between defence and attack
This was not the dreary United of much of this season. Credit should go to Van Gaal for un-caging his players and giving it a go. But the visitors’ inexperienced side were over-run at times in the second half by the enthusiasm and vigour of the home side. Were it not for some errant finishing by substitute Glenn Murray, the scoreline would have been more emphatic. It was wonderful to see United’s renewed attacking intent, but they were ripped apart far too often at the back. Van Gaal can’t find the right balance between defence and attack.
King can be striking royalty
Mobile, lively and physical, and with an eye for goal, King seemingly has all the attributes to be an effective Premier League striker. Yet he was released by United two years ago and has scored only intermittently in his professional career. Aged 23, he looks as if he could be a late developer with the personality and ability to go to the top. He stretched United’s inexperienced defence with his movement and pace, and his goal was a predatory piece of centre-forward play as the visitors were once again undone at a set piece. King can go to the top.
Questions need to be asked of Van Gaal’s methods
Something has gone drastically wrong at Old Trafford. Why exactly are players limping off match after match. Take the last three games. Morgan Schneiderlin and Paddy McNair were withdrawn in last Saturday’s goal-less draw against West Ham with injuries. Matteo Darmian suffered the same fate in midweek against Wolfsburg, while Chris Smalling was sent up front as an emergency forward for the last 10 minutes because Van Gaal had used all of his substitutes. It was Jesse Lingard’s turn to join the walking wounded in the Bournemouth clash. That’s five injured players in three matches, an astonishing and worrying number. Questions need to be asked of Van Gaal’s methods.
United’s wide players are cursed
First Luke Shaw. Then Antonio Valencia. Then Marcos Rojo. Then Darmian. Now, Lingard has joined the extensive list of injured United wide players. The flanks are cursed. With Guillermo Varela and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson making their full Premier League debuts, Van Gaal’s options were laid bare. Just 30 minutes later Lingard limped out of the action and further questions will be raised as to why United cannot keep their players out of the treatment room.