Whisper it, but United might be on the way to redemption. They’re not quite there, of course, but November was as encouraging a month as we had witnessed since lifting the trophy in May 2013. Three games, nine points, two clean sheets and a first away win, all while United’s direct rivals for fourth place – which, like it or not, is the only realistic target for this season – dropped points, allowing Louis Van Gaal’s troops to sneak into the top four.
Beating the likes of Crystal Palace and Hull City at home should be a routine exercise for United, but if last season taught us anything is that nothing should be taken for granted and, therefore, November’s mini-revival was more than welcome, particularly as it’s been achieved with a squad ravaged by injuries.
A win against Stoke would lift United within one point of third place, ahead of Southampton’s trip to the Emirates tomorrow night, but Mark Hughes’ men are likely to prove a sterner test than Hull did on Saturday.
Javier Hernandez has admitted he might need to find himself a club capable of guaranteeing him first team football next season, after Real Madrid turned down the chance to make his loan deal permanent.
The Mexican was shipped out by Louis Van Gaal this summer but has managed only 10 appearances in all competitions for the European champions, with Carlo Ancelotti opting against signing him the Mexican, who insisted he remains concentrated on doing well for his current club.
David De Gea has been named the PFA Fans’ Player of the Month for November, further proof that the Spaniard is finally beginning to receive the credit he deserves.
The United keeper kept two clean sheets in three games in January, remaining unbeaten at home against Crystal Palace and Hull and conceding just one against Arsenal, as United clinched their first away win of the season. At the Emirates, De Gea was outstanding as United withstood an early onslaught from Arsenal, with the Spaniard pulling off a couple of superb saves to keep the Gunners at bay.
Diego Godin is the latest defender to be linked with a move to Manchester United, as Louis Van Gaal looks to address his defensive crisis in the January transfer window.
According to reports on today’s Daily Mirror, the Atletico Madrid defender has been monitored by United’s scouts, though it remains difficult to see how the Colchoneros would be happy to part ways with one of their main men, who’s under contract with the current La Liga defending champions until 2018.
A third win in a row, a second clean sheet in the last three matches and yet more encouraging signs for Louis Van Gaal. Here’s five things we have learnt from United’s 3-0 win against Hull.
Louis Van Gaal has urged his team to be more ruthless in front of goal and to dispose of their opponents more swiftly than they’ve done in the first three months of the campaign.
United go into Saturday’s game against on the back of their first away of the season and, with two home fixtures in four days, United could well be looking at traveling to Southampton in 10 days time with four consecutive wins under their belt, as they beat Crystal Palace before the international break.
If anyone has come down from the result last weekend then I’d recommend watching a clip of Kieran Gibbs’ face on repeat after the fullback inadvertently directed the ball into his own net on Saturday evening. United have seen victory more times at the Emirates than Olivier Giroud has seen his wife over the last 12 months, but this time it felt different.
Despite the performance this was the result United deserved and after a gradual improvement of performances against Chelsea and City that didn’t see wins materialise , victory was welcomed with open arms. Now it feels like United could be at the start of something special and the next run of fixtures sees an opportunity to storm back into contention for the top spots. This begins with Hull tomorrow afternoon.
Jonny Evans was happy to return to action but admitted he’s not yet ready to make a first team return, after spending 10 weeks on the sidelines with a fitness problem.
The Northern Ireland defender played just over 60 minutes on Tuesday as United reserves, featuring Ander Herrera and Adnan Januzaj among the others, thrashed Blackburn 5-0 in the Lancashire Senior Cup but poured cold water on the prospect of an immediate return to the first team squad.