Manchester United’s good run under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer continued with a 2-1 win at Old Trafford over Brighton on Saturday. Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford found the net for the Red Devils while Pascal Gross scored what was a consolation for the visitors. Contributing writer, Nathan Quao, observed the game and picked out a few things.
Second half withering?
It may be a point of concern or it may be nothing but there was a dip in energy levels towards the end of the game and it was quite clear.
Against Spurs in the previous round, the team seemed to wither as the game went on but then, one could argue that Tottenham were on top and it was usual to see the Red Devils backing off and holding on.
But it came up again with Brighton and if they had better players and took better decisions, the victory may not have happened.
The visitors felt more comfortable on the ball and went about creating the set pieces and crossing situations they had been craving all game.
One such foray got them the Gross goal but they could not follow through and lost the game.
But the trend should strike Solksjaer and the rest of his coaching team as odd because getting outlasted in the Premier League only means that you will be beaten to all points at certain critical times.
Good show, Dalot
Getting thrown into a game not long before it starts may be a tough thing to handle especially if you are trying to improve your understanding of the team and fight for your place.
However, Diogo Dalot’s performance against Brighton showed not only his ability to good account of his abilities but to perform a task in calm manner.
That was the biggest takeaway from what Dalot did on the day.
Previous showings had stated the obvious: he had the ability to play in the role and the not-so-obvious: not being able to stay calm to take the best decisions sometimes.
Against Brighton, he kept things very simple with his movement and choices especially in attack and he capped it off with very good link-up play to set up Rashford’s lovely first half strike.
The expectation is that Dalot will get better and he has to improve.
But then, he must have gained a few more followers with his performance as a left-back.
Keep it up, son.
Oleball wins again
When all the tapes are reviewed and all the criticism has been done, there is a very glaring fact on the table: Man United won again in the Premier League and it was the 6th straight time under Solksjaer.
That is the cold, hard truth and there is the need to be happy about that.
There is the need to see that some forward steps have been taken and progress, no matter how small or large, needs to be enjoyed.
And there is no one better at enjoying the new wave is Paul Pogba. Another game, another goal and a good performance. He could have had a second but his second half attempt was not as sure as his penalty.
For Marcus Rashford, he is growing and the goal he got proved that. A curler just like the one scored by Ashley Young against Fulham is the type of strike that is moulded by love and trust and powered by confidence.
May the good times continue and may keep smiling for we need to enjoy that winning is always the essence of the game. When everything fades away, the biggest question will forever remain: ‘who won the match between Man United and Brighton?’
The answer: Man United did.
On to the next league game. Bring it on.