By Kiran Thakare
- Goals from Lingard, Martial and Rooney seal 3-0 win
- Win leaves United fifth in Premier League table, five points behind Arsenal
Manchester United delivered their best performance of the season at Old Trafford as they thumped Stoke City to collect all three points on Tuesday night.
Goals from Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney rounded off a perfect night for the Red Devils.
United remian on the fifth position, five points off fourth placed Arsenal. The game saw many positive things about the Red Devils but here are the five points to takeaway from the convincing win.
Mata should continue at number 10
Juan Mata was at his best against Stoke City. The Spaniard started in his favoured number 10 role and kept the play ticking in the final third for the Red Devils. He was key in buildup of all three goals and came close to scoring with two decent chances.
The former Chelsea man thrives behind the striker when he has pace around and in last two matches he had decent amount of it in form of Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard.
Mata has created the most chances for Red Devils this season. The Spaniard is hitting the form again and it is necessary that United continue to deploy in the number 10 role.
Borthwick Jackson can be a perfect understudy for Shaw
Van Gaal suggested in January that he might be looking for a left-back due to injuries to Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw.
The Red Devils didn’t sign anyone in the window, but have promoted the Mancunian born Borthwick-Jackson to the first-team.
The teenager has impressed so far with both his defensive and attacking contribution for the team. He delivered a perfect cross for United’s first goal and was always threat while going ahead.
According to numerous reports Shaw can be back by mid March but in Borthwick Jackson Van Gaal has found a good cover for left-back.
Martial is the best wide man United have now
There has been lot of criticism for Van Gaal for not playing Martial upfront this season. The Frenchmen is proving his manager’s decision as he has been improving on the left flank.
He has an eye for goal from the flank . He grabbed a goal and assist against Stoke summing up his influence in the final third.Van Gaal has been craving for pace in the final third and Martial is providing it. He is probably United’s best bet on the flanks.
Rooney key for United’s revival of season
Wayne Rooney has been a completely rejuvenated man in 2016 as the captain continued his scoring spree. The captain has now 7 goals in last seven matches in all competitions.
Van Gaal has emphasised that Rooney plays a key role for the team both on and off the field. The Manchester United captain is six goals short of becoming Manchester United’s all-time record goalscorer, surely needs to continue this form if United want to make this season a success.
Van Gaal has dumped his possession game
The last few games suggest that Van Gaal has changed his approach. The Dutchman has been emphasising on total control with possesion and capitalising on the mistakes of the opponent.
After a difficult December, United have focused more on being clinical and more freedom in the final third. The Red Devils enjoyed less possession than Stoke City on Tuesday night but were more expressive in the final third.
A change of approach is surely the way to go for United at the moment if they want to save their season.
Manchester United: De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Borthwick-Jackson, Carrick, Fellaini, Lingard, Mata (Pereira 88), Martial (Memphis 79), Rooney Substitutes Not Used: Romero, McNair, Varela, Schneiderlin