Manchester United fans are a fairly chipper bunch and they took to social media in force to celebrate their team’s hard-earned victory against Manchester City at The Etihad on Sunday.
While Manchester City created the lion’s share of chances it was United who ended the day with the crucial statistic in the goals for column. That the excellent Marcus Rashford, a local lad who might have signed for City, decided the game was even more reason for short-suffering reds to be cheerful.
It was a good result and decent performance but it shouldn’t mask the fact that Manchester United’s bar has fallen lower than at any stage in the last quarter of a century. With the season in its final furlongs United’s main objective is to get into the top four and there is no guarantee of that either.
Especially given that the club has tended to take two backward steps immediately after a forward one while Louis van Gaal has been in charge. And few would be surprised if Everton take the points at Old Trafford after the international break. It’s a far cry from the heady days of Sir Alex’s tenure.
A big decision must the made sooner rather than later about the managerial situation. With Jose Mourinho and Ryan Giggs ostensibly chomping at the bit to take the reins there are obvious candidates to replace the veteran.
And while the Dutchman should take some credit for the City win, he has made way too many bad decisions in his two years at United – decisions which are partly to blame for the current situation.
His promotion of Rashford (although partially forced upon him) and the signing of Anthony Martial have been big plus points.
But the benching of Angel di Maria for three months last season – a player who is now running riot in France – and the persistent use of the quite awful Marouane Fellaini, would suggest that the Dutchman is no longer at the peak of his powers.
But, whoever is in charge next season, they will need to invest in the summer and a name which has popped up again in the latest news cycle is that of Saul Niguez. Sky Sports writes:
Manchester United are closing in on the signing of Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez, according to Don Balon.
The 21-year-old Atletico Madrid midfielder will supposedly cost around £31m and may be seen as a way of reinventing a midfield that still requires Michael Carrick – 35 in July – in it if the team wants any chance of winning.
Niguez has scored an impressive 8 times in 34 games for Madrid this season and it’s difficult to see Diego Simeone letting him leave the club unless the money is amazing. But he does look like the sort of dynamic and technically gifted player who could ignite and speed up the Manchester United midfield.
Make up your own minds with this video