Valencia a player of the year contender
Phil Jones nicknames him ‘The Machine’ and that surge from Antonio Valencia which nearly led to a first-half Paul Pogba goal was therefore relentless the Ecuadorian may are mistaken for the T1000 from eradicator two.
Valencia posted a video of him sculpting his body on a day off on and, looking at those muscle definitions, it is easy to envision why no one gets past him. His adventurousness belies his thirty one years and it was somewhat deceptive that United’s opener came from the other flank. Valencia, a right-back, was arguably United’s most incessant attacker in a productive first-half.
His form this season has been his best since Valencia was recognised as the club’s 2011-12 Player of the Year. His level of performance is perhaps higher this campaign.
Martial’s Mkhitaryan moment has arrived
One United employee delineated the first-half as ‘one of the best’ he had seen from the team in years. The fluidity of United’s soccer was therefore natural that, unlike previous home games, a breakthrough seemed inevitable.
That was chiefly due to the pace Mourinho injected into the facet. Anthony Martial is a more natural left athlete than Marcus Rashford and director Mazzarri’s call to change defenders and formation at the pause was a mirrored image of United’s charming wing play.
Martial created Juan Mata’s tap-in and killed the game together with his neat second-half finish. He might like the variety 9 however he plays like associate eleven and Martial is destined to transform a best talent if he stays there.
During one second-half tussle, Martial muscled off his marker and sprinted down the flank to applause from his manager, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic clapped him off. The Frenchman’s turning point this season may have arrived. There is hope for Luke Shaw.
Ibrahimovic needs to act his age
There was one occasion in the first-half where Ibrahimovic withdrew therefore deep he was within his own 0.5. It coincided with a lull from United which left their supporters anxious and was solely offset by the brilliance of their wingers.
If Ibrahimovic is not acting just like the figurehead he’s doing little or no. He had the gall to criticise Juan Mata’s decision not to pass to him at one stage once he was, by a considerable distance, United’s poorest performer in the first-half.
The 35-year-old is too static to masquerade as a playmaker and it absolutely was not a coincidence his assist for Martial came when Ibrahimovic was virtually level with Watford’s last line of defence. He needs to keep there.
Mourinho lets the crowd play
One of the foremost stirring moments of United’s campaign came around 60 first-half seconds. Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a point-blank header repelled and, just as United supporters pondered whether or not it’d be another maddening day at recent Trafford, Mourinho turned to the crowd and whipped it up. The stadium became a raucous cacophony of cries of ‘United’, the team attacked again in real time and Mata born-again Martial’s cross.
Mourinho has invited United supporters to ‘play’ with the team in his programme notes this season and this was an example of it. The players, manager and supporters collaborated for the goal.
United do not have a first-choice left-back
Had Marcos Rojo recovered from injury then the likelihood is he would have started at left-back. Instead, Daley Blind was recalled and his poor form continuing as M’Baye Niang had him on toast.
Left-back is the one place still up for grabs within the United side associated it’s such an acute issue the natural choice Shaw doesn’t even build the bench currently. Rojo played there ahead of Blind at Leicester, yet the Argentinian has revived his United career by taking part in at centre-back. The right-footed Matteo Darmian never convinced there and last started at left-back in the league against cityvirtually a month agone.
Shaw’s United future looks bleak and it would seem the position is Rojo’s for the remainder of the season.