Writers United: Half-Time Checkup (ft. Andy Warrant)

The boys talk about United’s season so far, and where they think the club will be, come May.

How do you think the season’s gone so far domestically?

Looking at purely stats such as league position/points and goals scored you’d have to say an improvement from last season. However, I personally think that is an easy and naive view of the season. We have been unfortunate to lose one of our best players for most of the season but outside of the first few games when we got inferior opposition at a good time, we have struggled. Lucky to beat Spurs and Arsenal then destroyed by Chelsea and City just shows that we are not performing at the same level as those teams. Are we better than last season? I’m not convinced we are and rather think we have purely been more clinical against lower opposition.

What about Europe? How’s the return to the European elite been for United?

We got given a friendly group to be fair and we performed well in beating them other than the one blip. The real test starts in February but think we should be good enough to get through Sevilla and into the quarter final where we will really be tested, and no doubt see the negative tactics applied once more.

A word on Jose, then? What’s he got right and what does he need to improve?

The summer business was strong, in particular Matic and Lukaku are excellent signings and have improved the shape and potential of the team. I think Mourinho has sucked all the creativity out of the team by being too negative in away games and against the top opposition. I think our lack of pace and urgency has been evident since the Southampton game and he changes the side too much. Not sure he knows his best 11 either, which is a worry considering the stage of the season we are at.

Who’s been our best player so far?

Phil Jones has been excellent at the back but personally I would give this to Anthony Martial. He has had to contend with a lot from his manager who clearly had no faith in his ability. The fact he has started most of the big games and more regularly in recent weeks suggests he has finally won Mourinho over which is proof of how well he has played. Without doubt our biggest attacking threat, just hope he continues to be a regular.

And who needs to pull up their socks?

I’d love to say Mourinho but from the playing squad I would have to say Ander Herrera. He is an important squad player as is likely to be the next in line when there is an injury or suspension in the middle due to the lack of numbers in that position. But his performance against City was pathetic as he seems to be stuck in the disruptive mode that he was forced into last season against Chelsea. He would rather kick people, dive around and moan for yellow cards rather than be a decent player and playing football.

Where do you see our rivals finishing the season?

Hate to say it but can see City winning the Champions League as well as what seems the inevitable league success. They also now seem certain to reach the league cup final so they could quite easily win 3 trophies. The remaining 3 positions of the top 4 is the only competition left for the rest and this seems impossible to predict as it changes from one week to the next.

Let us know where you predict United will finish in each competition:

Premier League: 5th

Champions League: Quarter Finals.

FA Cup: 5th Round

Finally, rate United’s season so far on 10 – 6/10 We’ve done ok, but no closer to winning the league or returning to the elite. League position the only reason this is not less.