When Manchester United visited Brighton three months in the past the night ended with Graham Potter declaring the opposition nearly as good a aspect as they’d confronted that season.
The three-Zero win on the Amex additionally included a trademark United aim that rolled again the years and hinted at a vibrant future, a devastating counter-attack completed off by Bruno Fernandes.
It was the second in a run of 4 consecutive wins by a three-goal margin and at that stage United have been essentially the most thrilling crew to look at within the Premier League.
This week Potter mentioned United had been “nearly as good as anyone” after final season restarted and people performances helped take them to a third-place end.
However the restart is over. That is the beginning of a protracted, arduous marketing campaign and the recollections of these swashbuckling shows on summer season nights have gone. As an alternative, the temper is as darkish as the upcoming nights as Premier League golf equipment settle in for a grim winter.
The following 10 days can have a major impression on what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s aspect can count on from this season. That features a league and cup journey to Brighton, subsequent weekend’s Premier League fixture with Tottenham and a switch window that has to this point purchased disappointment, other than the weekend when United snuck upon a deal for Donny van de Beek.
Solskjaer shall be determined for reinforcements to reach earlier than the October 5 deadline, to strengthen his first XI and provides him higher choices off the bench.
Outcomes on the pitch can even be very important then on this interval, particularly the 2 Premier League video games. The loss to Crystal Palace at Previous Trafford final weekend may need been United’s first within the league since January but it surely’s insipid nature has raised considerations and Solskjaer’s aspect merely can’t be as flat towards the Seagulls and Spurs. They got here again to say third within the second half of final season but it surely’s unlikely to be a trick they will repeat twice.
Life can be a lot simpler if they may hold tempo with the highest 4 from the beginning of this season however to try this they should get the defeat to a Wilfried Zaha-inspired Palace out of their methods.
It is methods that shall be taking part in on Solskjaer’s thoughts as United put together to move to the south coast twice in a matter of days. Potter was proper to say that United have been the most effective crew round after lockdown, however their aspect and their type hasn’t modified a lot since then. Groups have grow to be clever to the specter of Bruno Fernandes and the tempo of Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
The standard of these gamers will nonetheless make a distinction, after all, however groups will work out methods to defend towards them, by making an attempt to mark Fernandes out of the sport and defending deeper and narrower towards the entrance three.
United have to seek out methods to unsettle defences, to provide them one thing else to consider if the strategies that labored so properly in June and July aren’t working in September and October.
Having one other artistic midfielder in Van de Beek might help with that and one other prime stage ahead shall be a bonus as properly. Solskjaer dropped Fernandes a little bit deeper after Van de Beek got here on final week. He may also use gamers corresponding to Daniel James off the bench to try to make the sport wider.
There are numerous methods to try to give opposing defences one thing completely different to consider, to try to engineer more room for United’s key males. Solskjaer has to discover a approach that works if Plan A would not.