After 12 matches unbeaten, Manchester United has slumped to a 1-0 defeat at home to Southampton. A very horrible display at home saw Manchester United lose 1-0 to a very inspired side. A combination of misjudged tactics and poor substitutions ensured we lost our second home game of the season to Southampton. A lot of fans all over the world who were expecting Manchester United to bounce back with a win after failing to win a premier league match since December 26th were shocked after losing to high-rising Southampton. After it seemed Manchester United were back on track this disappointing performance that led to a defeat is a new low for United. With a lot of fingers pointed and a lot of opinions given across the globe I have selected 5 things we have learnt from the United vs Southampton match.
The 3-5-2 formation is not working: Louis Van Gaal’s highly favored 3-5-2 formation needs to be stopped. This formation might have gotten Netherlands to 3rd Position but it is clearly not working for Manchester United.The majority of the matches we have won this season with the 3-5-2 have been scrappy and uninspiring wins. We started the season with 3-5-2 and did not succeed in winning our first game till we played Queens Park Rangers .Van Gaal said he was forced to use 3-5-2 because of the limited defenders we have but with a full squad of fit players he still used 3-5-2 and it earned us a defeat. The 3-5-2 formation leaves Manchester United tactically dull and does not allow each player to work to his full strength. If we are to challenge for a top 4 position this season, Coach Louis Van Gaal will have to change his 3-5-2 formation
Unreliable Defence: Asides from the fact that the 3 defender paring at the back does not work well, Our defence this season has the poor and the need to sign an experienced centre-back is very urgent now. The back three today lacked cohesion and were caught napping for Southampton”s goal. It would be wise for Van Gaal to sign one or two defenders this transfer window and switch to a back 4 defence.
Lack of Pace and Creativity: Another straight match where United have lacked creativity and purpose when in possession of the ball. It seems Manchester United run out of ideas against teams that defend deep. Van Gaal will need to re-evaluate his starting line-ups and draw up a formation that can get the best out of his creative players.
Slow and Porous Midfield: Another area that needs to be improved greatly by Louis Van Gaal, our midfield was being over-run many times defensiely and offensively we failed to move the ball forward with urgency when it mattered. Van Gaal should try and sign a quality midfielder to replace Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher, who are starting to fade off.
Van Persie should be rested: Even though the Dutchman has had a good goal-scoring record this season he has otherwise been disappointing in a couple of matches this season, his finishing has been very poor in his last 4 games and needs to be rested. However, his injury should be able to give him some time off so he can come back better.
A very disappointing defeat ensures United drop down to fourth. Coach Louis Van Gaal needs to go back to the drawing board and ensure this kind of performance never happens again. We will have to step up our game if we are to make top four this season.