I did not see Man Utd’s performance at Bayer Leverkuson coming. So impressed was I with Leverkuson’s home form and Man Utd’s general patchiness I had once again put courage to my convictions and placed a small wager on a home victory. From the moment I placed the bet I should have known that Man Utd were going to do something special. For lets not kid ourselves a 0-5 away victory in Europe in Germany is something to savour.
To put the 0-5 victory in context Utd’s other European away games this season had yielded two draws to which the phrase ‘job done’ or ‘they’ll take that’ were surely uttered. If you win your games at home and avoid defeat away that’s 12 points and although I cannot be bothered to do the maths/research I can’t believe many (if any) teams have failed to qualify with this amount of points. As such when Man Utd set out for the North Rhine-Westphalia region it is a fair bet that a draw would have been seen as very acceptable. To win by five clear goals then is more than just a victory it is a statement of dominance.
On Wednesday Man Utd were dominant. They were fast paced in possession and ruthlessly clinical in front of goal. Time and time again Utd broke forward and past Bayer players who seemed to be stuck in treacle. This was a side a world away from the stale performance at Cardiff.
The question is can Man Utd roll this form over into the domestic campaign and a crucial game against Spurs. Afterall there are still heavy question marks over this Utd team. Firstly, it seems unlikely that Ryan Giggs will be able to play another 90 minutes at the same level so soon after this one. I mean whatever ring of power or Lazarus pit he uses kept bossing games aged 40 needs time to work/recharge right. This will then leave a Man Utd midfield with Cleverly and Jones in it. I would tip the Spurs midfield of Dembele, Paulinho and Sandro to win this contest every time especially since they will want to erase last weeks horror show. This of course is the perhaps the key problem for United at the moment they lack depth at central midfield. Some body is going to have to step things up for them here. Maybe the time is ripe for Cleverly to show everyone why both Ferguson and Hodgson rate him so highly?
Secondly, will David Moyes stick with Kagawa at number 10 as the central creative hub? Kagawa’s more central position was the x-factor in Utd’s performance but with Welbeck back, Van Persie possibly fit again and Rooney in one of his purple patches will Moyes continue with the experiment of playing Kagawa through the middle and leave someone out. Utd looked a much better side with Kagawa in his favoured position but Van Persie and Rooney are near undroppable and of course always score goals.
We should be able to start answering these questions by Sunday night. If Man Utd answer these questions correctly mid-weeks result might just be the shape of things to come. If they fail to do so a 0-5 thumping of Bayer might just be highlight in a very murky season.