If there is one area of the pitch that Mourinho will not be spending sleepless nights is the defense having ditched the man marking for zonal marking his utilizing each of his defenders best attributes. His trusting them to do the job so well they have the confidence to do as they wish for some like Valencia are wearing that rear smile having notched four assists in as many games it’s looking like 2009. This is on the back of documented struggles in the final third of the field where they are accumulating blind passes by the dozens and the strikers have on more than one occasion ran into each other’s path during a buildup.
Defense on the other hand looks solid even though one would allude that some players are on the pitch because the occupants of those positions are either suspended or lack match fitness however if the current players keep it up it will be an uphill struggle for those players to get into the team. Bailly for starters looks like a steal, a black Vidic lunging into tackles take those on Vardy in the community shield followed up by a masterful performance against Bournemouth. On the other hand Blind is providing brains in defense with masterful discipline Mourinho will have to come up with a good reason to drop him. Sandwiched between an erratic tackler and a pace master for a full back in Luke Shaw his holding those too cogs together whenever cleaning up is needed. This role has been typified by his goal line clearance to clear Okazaki header during the community shield, brief argument with Bailly when needlessly rushed a tackle his message I won’t impose but complement short comings of everyone around me.
They have also shown an ability to handle teams that plan to play on the counter attack with plan of isolating slow defenders like Blind. This good defensive discipline, De Gea has become less prominent in united defensive plays because for the first time in his Manchester united career his being protect by defenders coached how to defend. On so many occasions most shots were blocked or the shooter was rushed by insisted tackling by Manchester United players no Bournemouth’s goal only came after tearing open that defense something you are sure will be corrected during the week. For the first time in a while Manchester united fans can have the luxury of sitting through a game and not worrying about conceding another sloppy goal that would have been avoided if the defenders knew what was expected of them.
With a strong defensive foundation to play on the players too have been eased once again into loving the physical side of their games something that had become alien during Louis Van Gaals reign. On so many occasions players like Mata, Herrera, and Rooney would easily be nudged off the ball by opposition players. Done once, twice and they would be forced to stop expressing themselves by going for the easy pass either sideways or backwards.
However against Bournemouth their physical side was on show including for pint sized players like Mata who once in a while would be seen getting into physical tussles with players several times bigger them. Same thing was in mid field everyone on the field was expected to fight for possession and last ditch tackles were frequent throughout the match. Even Fellaini who is knowing for physical this time around his learning to be physical without running into the trouble with the referee instead relying a lot on his legs than his elbows to impose himself. Even Martial who was the biggest culprit of easily being nudged off the ball last season was going shoulder to shoulder with opponents. If they maintain those two throughout the season teams won’t be getting easy points off us this season.