Manchester United beat Newcastle United at Wembley on Sunday, thereby ending a 6-year trophy drought. It was a deserved victory although the team looked a bit pedestrian at times. The most obvious way to win a football match is by scoring more goals than the opponent. Manchester United created enough opportunities and scored them before the first half ended. This led to a decrease in Newcastle’s motivation to continue fighting, effectively changing the game. During the second half, Manchester United defended well, with Varan and Wan Bissaka being particularly effective in stopping Newcastle United’s attacks and minimizing their chances of scoring The team dominated the midfield, holding the ball and creating chances for the attackers. The question on everyone’s lip is why Manchester United is doing so well. Credit should first to Ten Haag who created an atmosphere of competence and has a no-nonsense attitude toward his relations with the players, fans, and the media. He transformed the club from something that could be best described as tabloid fodder constantly churning out sensationalistic stories about its players, coaches, and executives and heavily biased, with a clear emphasis on promoting the interests of its inner circle of cronies, to a club that’s committed to creating a culture of meritocracy.
Manchester United’s success this season can be attributed to several factors, including but not limited to:
Harry Maguire, Manchester United’s captain, has been an integral part of the team’s defense since joining the club in 2019. However, his form dipped in the 2020-21 season, leading to a dip in the team’s performance. This season, Erik Ten Haag, Manchester United’s manager, made the decision to drop Maguire to the bench for a few games, allowing him to regain his form and confidence. This decision paid off, with Varane and Martinez forming an effective relationship and keeping Maguire on the bench.
Manchester United made a bold move by signing Casemiro from Real Madrid in the summer transfer window. Casemiro is widely regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, a position United has struggled to fill since Roy Keane days and has been a vital addition to the team. His presence in midfield has allowed Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes to play more attacking roles, which has led to an increase in the team’s goal-scoring ability.
While Cristiano Ronaldo was undoubtedly one of the best players in Manchester United’s history, his departure has allowed the club to focus on building a team rather than relying on one player. The team has been able to play more as a unit this season, with different players stepping up to score goals and making key contributions.
Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford are two of Manchester United’s most talented players, and ETH has given them the freedom to express themselves on the pitch. This has allowed them to play to their strengths, with Bruno trying as many Hollywood passes as he can and Rashford playing from the wing, cutting in without worrying about holding up play or involving his teammates. This led to an increase in the team’s creativity and goal-scoring ability.
Creating a meritocratic system that values competency above all else: Manchester United’s success this season can also be attributed to the club’s commitment to creating a meritocratic system that values competency above all else. Solskjaer has been unwilling to make tough decisions, such as dropping Maguire to the bench, in order to improve the team’s performance. So was Ragnick. ETH has been focused on prioritizing and rewarding players who fit into the team’s style of play, rather than just playing them for any other reason.