Man United 1 Swansea 2: Three talking points

Man United 1 Swansea 2: Three talking points as Wayne Rooney's strike can't prevent a Red Devils loss

Man United
1
Swansea
2

The death of 5-3-2?

In the build up to this season, there was a lot of talk about Louis van Gaal and his 3-5-2 formation which worked so well for the Netherlands at the World Cup. In the first half of Saturday’s game, though, it simply did not work. At both ends of the field, Manchester United looked lacklustre, barely creating a chance and the back three looked all over the place, like they were unfamiliar with the system. Despite being far from their best again in the second half, they were better and the change to 4-4-1-1 allowed Wayne Rooney to get more invovled and they did look more dangerous. Defensive issues were still abound but the players looked more at home with the change of system and it seemed to suit the players on the pitch better, whether it reemerges this season remains to be seen.

Defensive reinforcements badly needed

No matter which system United were playing on Saturday, they were a mess at the back. There was no natural leader so men were left in too much space for both goals, and it was clear both Ashley Young and Adnan Januzaj were not in their natural positions and defended poorly. Luke Shaw is set to return from injury but he is also inexperienced and there is a massive need for bodies. Replacing the likes of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand should have been the priority for the new United manager as it seems Phil Jones and Chris Smalling need to be led. Youngster Tyler Blackett didn’t look out of his depth but did make mistakes. With just two weeks to go of the summer transfer window and clubs around Europe aware of how desperate United are, how easy and cheap these replacements are to get in is another matter.

Is it time to stop talking about title contenders?

No doubt, Swansea were superb on the counter on Saturday but United were very, very average. With young inexperienced players on the field and big-names below par, talk of a title challenge looks very premature. Rooney and Juan Mata are the big names right now but without them, there is little attacking creativity. The likes of Ki Sung-yueng and Ashley Williams were fantastic in keeping the Red Devils at bay, but the big story is how much work there is to do at Old Trafford. Some United fans were getting excited about the season ahead under Van Gaal but that needs to stop. There is a desperate need for reinforcements and the new manager needs time to settle in. Fourth would be a good year for United, and on this first showing, that may be a challenge.

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