There’s an old saying in football that you can only beat what is put in front of you. Yesterday afternoon, Manchester United did exactly that, by dismantling a QPR side that will already be early favourites to go down at the culmination of the Premier League season.
The result was met with the standard, unbalanced, views of fans from clubs across the league, positively seething at the fact that United had sparkled so brightly once again and sent out a warning shot to our closest rivals.
‘It was only QPR’. I suppose the much bigger challenges lie ahead when Aston Villa and Stoke come to town..
We as United fans have every reason to be extremely proud of the showing that was put on at Old Trafford, so don’t underplay it, don’t buy into the classic rhetoric of others, that simply cannot stand to praise Manchester United.
But enjoy it with an urge of caution. We are, of course, not yet the finished article. There is still work to be done and there will still be difficult moments ahead. But United have sent the most pristine message that they are still very much the top four club we knew they were and, in time (perhaps not as much time as we thought), they’ll be contenders again.
The euphoria that surrounded United’s transfer dealings, the first time United had spent so largely in one go for a considerable amount of time, was justified. The question of how LvG fits all of these stars into a successful team was somewhat answered.
Marcos Rojo bedded into the back four like he’d been there for years, playing with an obvious understanding with Angel Di Maria. Ander Herrera looks like the closest thing we’ve seen to Paul Scholes since he retired. Daley Blind was absolutely outstanding in his defensive midfield role.
Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher must have been watching yesterday wondering how on earth they were going to get into that team. It’s the first time in a long, long time that we’ve seen a United team, not only dominate possession, but dominate a match. It was terrific.
Of course all the plaudits will fall at the feet of Di Maria and rightly so. He’s been the breath of fresh air United have craved since Cristiano Ronaldo left, and it’s just so refreshing to see a player in a red shirt receive the ball and just purely attack. There is never another thought in his mind.
The start to the season has been a difficult one and we certainly haven’t accumulated the amount of points that United and LvG would have hoped for. But after all of it, we are right there with the others, outside the Chelsea juggernaut, that you sense may just run away with it this year.
The smiles are back on the faces of players and fans alike. Positivity has returned in bulk. Who’s excited for Leicester next weekend?