It wasn’t a loss but it wasn’t a win. Manchester United went away with a 1-1 draw against Sunderland yesterday at Stadium Light. Louis van Gaal and United are still looking for the winning team and a first win of the season.
United played with a formation of 3-5-2, which didn’t work in the first match but there were changes in the lineup. Van Gaal started striker Robin van Persie, back from injury, instead of Javier Hernandez. At wing-backs were Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young. The back-line still had Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Tyler Blackett; a new defense line to the team from last season.
United went ahead of Sunderland in the 17th minute when midfielder Juan Mata scored off of an assist from Valencia. United looked sloppy and less confident continuing on even after being in the lead. Wayne Rooney and van Persie could not make any chances at goal. There were poor passes from the midfield. The back line wasn’t clear about each other’s movement and positions.
Sunderland played on that and took the opportunity to attack and had plenty of shots on goal. United wouldn’t keep the lead for long, when Sunderland midfielder Jack Rodwell scored a header from a corner kick in the 30th minute. United looked unorganized for the rest of the match.
In the second half, van Gaal substituted Smalling for Michael Keane. United looked better in the second half; scoring more chances at goal and passing the ball more accurately. In the 63rd minute van Persie and Darren Flecther were substituted for Danny Welbeck and Adnan Januzaj.
The match was a great result for Sunderland but not for United. Van Gaal has a tremendous amount of pressure on him. Not only is van Gaal managing one of the best teams in the league but has to follow big shoes of Sir Alex Ferguson. Van Gaal needs a leader to take over the backline. So, will van Gaal continue with the formation of 3-5-2 or does he need to sign players with experience and can take the leadership role United is looking for?
On Saturday, August 30 United will play against Burnley FC, a new team in the Premier League.