5 Things Manchester United Can Do To Challenge Again

After turning over rivals Manchester City 4-2, Manchester United looked for all intents and purposes to be back.

Or at least back in the sense that they had reasserted themselves as one of the top three sides in England and genuine challengers for next season's title.
But then Michael Carrick succumbed to injury and United tumbled to three consecutive defeats.

Fans who had been on the bandwagon three weeks ago, claiming that United had second place all but locked up and were unfortunate that they didn't have enough matches left to catch Chelsea in the table are now preaching doom and gloom again.

The truth is that United do have a few deficiencies in their squad and will need to make some changes in the summer if they are going to make a run at the title next season. There is still a lot of quality in the squad and, despite his peculiar tactics at times, Louis van Gaal should still be looked on as the man who can bring United back to the summit.

The following are five things I believe the club should look at addressing:

1 - Find a Replacement for Michael Carrick

It's funny to think now how undervalued Michael Carrick was during United's most recent championship winning campaigns. Whenever he's out of the side now, which is happening with alarming regularity, United don't seem to have the right tempo in midfield. They simply do not have a player capable of intelligently sitting deep in midfield, collecting the ball and then starting attacks when Carrick is out. With the Geordie midfielder not getting any younger, signing a replacement for him is critical for United.

2 - Decide What To Do With Angel Di Maria

Angel Di Maria is a world class player, anyone who saw his performances for former club Real Madrid and for Argentina knows this. But I am struggling to remember his last good performance for United. He has been painful to watch in recent weeks as he seems so badly out of sorts that he now struggles to do even the simple things right. It could be the fact that he hasn't adjusted to the English game, it could be he simply never wanted to come to United at all and wants out, or it could be the break-in at his house that unsettled him. Whatever it is, Di Maria is a shadow of the player United spent £60 million on. Van Gaal needs to figure out whether or not he can help Di Maria turn it around or if he needs to find a buyer for the troubled winger. Considering Di Maria is bringing home approximately £250,000 a week, this is a big chunk of wages that could be put towards another signing, that is if the Argentinian's time is up at Old Trafford.

3 - Play Rooney Upfront

Wayne Rooney seems to have suffered for being too versatile for his own good as he's seemingly played everywhere except in goal this season. Without him leading the line, United appear blunted in attack, and when that's added to the fact that his first touch is nowhere near the standard required for a top rate midfielder, you wonder why Van Gaal persists with dropping him into deep positions.

4 - Sign Some Defenders

Rather than throwing silly money around to try and land a shirt selling marquee player like Gareth Bale, United have to address their issues at the back and bring in a top rate centre back. Anyone of Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett can be decent defenders on their day, but none of them are of the quality needed for a side hoping to launch a domestic and European title assault. Signing an experienced, top drawer centre back is an absolute must for a defence that always looks ragged. In addition to this, a right wing back who could offer Antonio Valencia some competition for a starting place would be a welcome signing.

5 - Van Gaal Needs to Settle on a Formation

In his first season at Old Trafford, Van Gaal has tried three at the back, he's gone with a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3, and we've now seen the bizarre sight of Rooney and Robin van Persie in midfield with Marouane Fellaini playing up top. The Dutchman will now have had the benefit of a full season behind him with the club, the ability to hopefully bring in the players he needs and can then find the formations and tactics that will bring United success. For a club famed for attacking wing play, many Reds hope this is the style he lands on.


Post a Comment