The lack of creativity in midfield and lack of defensive cover was a recurring theme of the first half of last season for the Red Devils, but this is the first time we’ve seen such a stark pattern from the side.
“We are the only team that has not conceded at least one goal on the counterattack in this competition, which is a record in our league,” said United manager Louis van Gaal.
“We were lucky to have scored in the first three games, but we lost two in the last six games.
The counterattack is very important for us.
We can be creative in the counter-attack.
But we have to score goals and be competitive.”
But how did the United midfield play last season, in comparison to the one Van Gaal had at Old Trafford?
We can only speculate, but the midfield is not an area that should have been under scrutiny for the Reds last season.
And while the defensive system has changed under van Gaal, the lack of creative intent is still evident.
When you look at the stats on the stats page, you can see that the Red Devil were top of the table in terms of interceptions per game, which was the fourth-highest mark in the league.
But that was due to the fact that they conceded two goals on the break in every game, meaning they were able to exploit those opportunities.
Instead, the midfield struggled to produce any sort of cohesive play, as they failed to consistently play a cohesive pass from the back.
This led to a number of errors by the team, with United conceding a total of eight goals from counter-attacks.
So while United were in control in the midfield, their play was not cohesive.
As such, there were times when the team were in a vulnerable position, meaning the team could not get forward and create anything meaningful from the attacking phase.
Even the attacking pass, as described earlier, was not a consistent and effective tactic, as it was too short and often went to a player behind the defence.
We’ve seen this before in United’s defence.
The Red Devils are now playing at home, and will be facing Manchester City in their opening game of the season on Saturday.
Manchester City, on the other hand, have been playing at Oldham Athletic, and the match is in the air, so it’s very difficult to see what sort of results they’ll get from the match.
In the meantime, the team will need to put in some more effort to put their performances on the right path, and that will only be achieved through more consistency.
Follow me on Twitter @RUSnewsboy