Following yet another win for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s free-flowing Manchester United, FOX Sports Asia takes a look at the key talking points from their game against Huddersfield.
5. Prodigal son Solskjaer gets rapturous reception
Prior to his first home game as manager, Solskjaer spoke about the Old Trafford crowd in glowing terms, “This is how I remember the fans from my previous time at the club: home and away, the players are always able to count on your backing. It is time for that faith and support to be repaid,” wrote the Norwegian in his programme notes ahead of the game.
The home crowd was equally effusive in their support to the manager, welcoming him back to a hero’s reception at the ground where he scripted so many famous wins as well as glorious comebacks.
Making his way inside with a smile plastered on his face, the crowd broke into thunderous applause on hearing their new manager’s name being announced in what was a classy although entirely expected gesture of goodwill towards their old hero.
4. United take time to get going before Matic strikes
Those expecting United to come flying out of the blocks in a repeat of their game against Cardiff were in for a surprise as the home team certainly didn’t start with the same vigor, although there was greater purpose on display as compared to the drab showings under former boss Mourinho.
United had a lion’s share of possession but lacked the final pass before Juan Mata’s corner was flicked on powerfully by Lindelof for Nemanja Matic to tap the ball in at the near post.
United’s confidence certainly grew after the goal as their football turned into something more reminiscent of last week’s 5-goal show.
3. Two-goal Pogba thrives in free role
Following Jose Mourinho’s departure, Paul Pogba was widely spoken about by fans and pundits alike as having ‘no place to hide’ anymore. On the back of his recent showings though, one wonders why the Frenchman would need a place to hide at all.
Rarely burdened with tracking back to retrieve the ball, the Frenchman looked completely worth the 80 million Manchester United paid to get him home. Showing strength and guile in addition to his array of tricks and flicks, his repertoire of skills had a purpose to them that they so often lacked earlier in the season.
The crowd’s adoration for his display turned into awe as he capped off an all-round performance with two lovely strikes into the bottom left-hand corner – the first to finish off a beautiful team-move and the second a scorcher from outside the area.
2. De Gea denied a clean-sheet yet again
Right until the clock ticked over to the 88th minute, the home team’s display had been spotless. With David De Gea pulling off a world-class save at 1-0 and Paul Pogba’s twin strikes putting the game out of Huddersfield’s reach, it seemed like United were on the way to a rare and arguably, much-deserved clean-sheet.
Jorgensen however, made sure there was a blot on the new manager’s copy – netting late on from a set-piece headed across goal to ensure a furious David De Gea finished the game without the clean-sheet he so craved.
1. United pile pressure on Chelsea and Arsenal
Having been 11 points adrift of fourth place when Jose Mourinho was dismissed, United’s win at Huddersfield meant they are now only eight adrift of the 4th spot.
A task that seemed unattainable just weeks prior now suddenly seems within grasp, especially as United have picked up form just at the right time – with Chelsea dropping points at home last match-day and Arsenal scheduled to play Liverpool next.