- Pushing the Pace
- Ajax United shines
- Lack of clinical endpoint
Pushing the speed – From the opening whistle, we saw that United were determined to set the pace. It starts with De Gea not passing from the back (although there are options) but instead keeps sending the ball long and moving into midfield, its quick passing and the ball rushes into open space.
In the first ten minutes, United enjoyed most of the possession and were very comfortable despite ferocious efforts from Leicester. The three forwards were in sync with Rashford’s clever play to let the ball at his feet, and Bruno and Sancho created their chances. This was exactly how they scored their first goal, with Bruno passing quickly and Rashford running into spaces; the weight of the pass meant all Sancho had to do was stay calm and collected, and he did, scoring his 2nd goal of the season.
What Ten Haag will be happy about is that this intensity is matched when defending, closing gaps in midfield. Even Mctominay was playing well in the first half alone: 100% long balls completed and tackles won, 82% tackles won, and one clearance, key pass, and one interception. I could write a similar sentence about Diogo Dalot, because he played well. Maybe Ten Haag is working a miracle?
Ajax United are doing well – All of Ten Haag’s former Ajax players shined tonight. Martinez was tasked with keeping Vardy from scoring, and even with Leicester in low form, it was a tough challenge. Martinez is Man United’s player of the month for a reason.
His yellow card was just a blip in his performance, and although some fans were delighted for his tenacity, he and Varane complemented and understood each other as well as if they had been playing for years. Looking at other former Ajax players, although Malacia had moments where he struggled to keep the ball, he pushed the ball well, and Eriksen provided his classic crisp passing. (81% passing accuracy, with 16 of them in the final third). It will be really interesting to see the flair and creativity that Antony will bring to this United side.
Lack of clinical endpoint – They must have scored more than one goal. Leicester’s defense was very weak, and the anxiety of the stadium increased with each passing minute. Manchester United should have scored, and even though Rashford had a brilliant game, he should have at least one goal. Eriksen and Bruno weren’t much better, both trying to get through, but Eriksen’s shot from 20 yards out looked harmless.
While there are many positives to take from this match, especially defensively keeping United’s clean sheet, this excellent chance had to end with a goal. With the Europa League starting soon and the next few fixtures including Arsenal, who got an A+ in our latest rankings: https://worldinsport.com/ranking-every-premier-league-teams-start- to-the-season/) and City, Ten Haag will have to hope that his team can ride this wave and maintain consistency.