INTO THE TOP 4

To think that United are playing poorly according to the manager and yet are above all their top 4 rivals makes you wonder what they are capable of when all boxes eventually tick.
United have certainly shown that goals will not be the problem this season. It's shipping them that will. It's a credit to the defence, though, that we have managed to win the last 2 games by the odd goal meaning we've had to collectively see out the last few minutes under pressure from our opponents.

If it's right that you must always play to your strengths, then I'm glad our strength is in attack. It's quite a while since we've been treated to the kind of entertainment United give us on a weekly basis. First halfs in particular have seen us batter teams almost to submission with a verve of exhilarating attacking football. I thought we were unfortunate to go in just the 1 goal up at halftime because Radamel Falcao could have had a hattrick on another day.

The turning point, or lack of it, was that penalty save by De Gea from Baines. Ironically, it was not the best save of the match but given the narrative of the first half and how excellent we were, to lose our lead at the tail of the half would have 'smashed' the confidence of the players ahead of the second half. Everton did eventually equalise but that could have been their second if De Gea had not kept out that spot kick.

The Spaniard's saves late on have seen him earn the plaudits of just about everyone that can tweet. I still feel though that he needs competition in that position. At the moment, we only have one good goalkeeper and at his age, he could yet suffer from complacency as he never has to compete for his place. That is not to suggest that all good goalkeepers need competition, but it takes an exceptional keeper to keep improving without competition. So far, he seems exceptional, but like we've learned from Iker Casillas, even the exceptional are not immune to complacency.

Finally about the game; Angel Di Maria is one hell of a footballer!

Moving on, we struggled to get points off the top 6 last season so it will do our confidence a world of good that we've bettered one big result already ahead of the games against  Chelsea and City. Also, breaking into the top 4 for the first time in more than a year should challenge the players to aim higher. The nature of the league standings is that about  10 sides are separated by just 3 points. It means losing a game could just as easily see you drop way down as much as winning one can take you places.

West Brom away is now a must win because of the difficulty of the next 2 fixtures. Until then, we can enjoy the fact that we're already looking down on the three sides we must finish above.

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