A Midfield Masterclass – Manchester United vs Southampton Review

Mourinho’s first home Premier League game in charge of Manchester United ended in a 2-0 win over Southampton with Zlatan scoring a brace and Pogba having a brilliant debut…ish…

So there’s only one place I can start and that’s with Pogba, who despite having a dodgy first touch to the game, showed exactly why the club paid that money to bring him back. He can finally fill the hole that was created when Keane left and his ability to quickly move the ball from defence to attack quickly could prove to be very useful, especially if the team is needing to score in the dying minutes of a game and players with pace such as Martial and Rashford would allow us to be very good on the counter attack. It was also very refreshing to see his moments of skill and he definitely got the fans excited leading to a much better atmosphere. Overall he had a very good debut, but it is a shame that he didn’t pass to Zlatan…

paul pogba zlatan ibrahimovic

Though Pogba was very good, Fellaini was my man of the match. He took control of the midfield again and he looks a completely different player under Mourinho. It just goes to show how big a part the manager can make in a player’s performances and it seems as though Mourinho has found the perfect role for him in the team. Hopefully he will continue to play this well for the rest of the season.

Valencia is another player to have started the season very positively and this game was no exception. It shows just how well he has started this season as despite the calibre of players now at the club and the big names in the team, he was one of the first players that got me out of my seat in anticipation of a goal. His pace and power obviously gave him an advantage in attack but I was also very impressed with his quick link up play with Mata and the understanding they had between them. Mata I thought played very well and actually covered the defensive aspect of the game very well too, though it probably went unnoticed. He may be the smallest player on the pitch but his work ethic defensively has certainly increased since leaving Chelsea (one of the reasons why I believed he wouldn’t leave) and he was therefore able to break down any of Southampton’s  play or at least slow it down whenever Valencia was in a higher position.

The defence once again looked very solid. Bailly and Blind seem to work well together and I am still somehow in awe of Blind’s understanding of the game, which makes him surprisingly very good at centre back. The question now is how does Smalling get into the team? That’s not a question I thought I’d be asking this season but it shows the competition Mourinho has already instilled into the squad that should bring out more fight in the players to play their best.

Mourinho’s first few games have shown that he has already made a huge positive impact on the results and overall squad morale. It is quite hard to believe that players such as Mkhitaryan and Rashford were both sat on the bench without having a weak starting eleven. Every single player on the pitch had a good game and knew what they were doing and though it might be early times, and we were all excited at the start of Van Gaal’s era, something feels different with Mourinho and I just know that he is building what will be one of the top teams in Europe.

manchester united southampton

Player Ratings

David De Gea: 6.

Antonio Valencia: 7.

Eric Bailly: 7.

Daley Blind: 8.

Luke Shaw: 7.

Marouane Fellaini: 9 (my man of the match).

Paul Pogba: 8.

Juan Mata: 7.

Wayne Rooney: 6.

Anthony Martial: 5.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 8.

Thank you for reading!

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