Note: this article is contributed by a new writer for the blog, Leaxan Freitas. He discusses our start to the season and why we can't afford to make silly mistakes at Anfield this Saturday.
Eleven games into the season and by the time we finish up on 15th at Anfield we would have been two months into the season. What a start to the season, which really for me began in the second half of the Community Shield. Then, we lost Rio and Vidic on the opening day against West Brom. Millions of Red Devils all over the world feared for the worst, but 9 games on and we haven’t lost a single match so far.
We've been scoring goals for fun; with Rooney finally getting back to his devastating best. While Welbeck's a revelation (not shocking though considering his form for Sunderland) and Hernandez despite getting injured twice this season doesn’t look like he's going to allow Welbeck to take his starting spot away without a fight. And let’s not forget last season's top scorer, Berbatov and Owen Of course. Looking from afar everything looks great, we're scoring goals and winning matches.
We're on top of the table and the rest of the league continues to trail us, while Sir Alex has a selection dilemma on his hands with the oodles of talent at his disposal in the squad. But if we look closely, the number of saves that De Gea and Lindegaard have had to make (highest in the league), the number of sloppy finishes from the opposition (not just Torres) gets one thinking. What if?
What if De Gea did not live up to the hype and had crumbled under the Old Trafford pressure like so many before him? What if the opposition were more clinical with their finishing? So far we have been lucky, but at Anfield if we play like we have before, it might go all bad for us. Liverpool are not opponents to be underestimated under any circumstances.
This weekend I think we should be a bit more grounded and be a lot tighter at the back. It's all good with Jones making those quick dashes up front with it leading to a goal on two occasions. Also Evra keeps Young good company on the left flank, so does Valencia on the right with Nani. But then this also end with us getting caught out too often on the counter attack as we are unable to get sufficient players back to defend in time, as against Basel.
I don’t like to criticize or single a player out so I’m not going to, but it’s pretty evident from the games where we've conceded or allowed them to create opportunities that we need to be more careful in defense. What can be done is we play Liverpool with our heads on our shoulders and play a smart game, instead on trying to outscore our opponents. We all know what Suarez can do with the slightest of space provided to him at the back, he already showed us last season and hence shouldn't be given the luxury to do it once again. Having Vidic and Rio fit for the game is great news. Probably Cleverley too though i doubt he'll start since he's not played a competitive fixture since his injury against Bolton.
The next few matches this month are crucial since it includes a must win (Away) game against Otelul Gulati in the Champions League, then City at Home and Everton at Goodison Park. After that I don’t see any major hurdles till the year end. So here's to a great game against Liverpool and also a victory to Manchester United.