Manchester United are on fire and many have suggested to us this week that this is the best form that the team has been in since way before Sir Alex left the club.
Of course Manchester United went on a longer winning run than this earlier in the season – they won 8 on the bounce at one point – but the performance levels were incomparable to the current form.
United still aren’t perfect. The second half against Liverpool and the performance against Aston Villa could have been better. But there is something so convincing and different about the way they go about winning these days – the way they beat City was something to behold and even Sir Alex’s teams rarely looked quite so dominant against the big boys.
But so much of the balance of the team comes down to the presence of Michael Carrick. His availability this weekend was surely a crucial factor in the outcome of the game. We would go as far as to say that Manchester United would have won if he had played.
So the biggest question of the weekend was, would Carrick play? Louis answered with bad news as MUTV reported:
Louis van Gaal has confirmed that Michael Carrick, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Daley Blind are all out of tomorrow’s game against Chelsea. “It’s all part of life in football,” he told MUTV.
What is it that makes Carrick so special? Positioning, intelligence and passing. He covers his defence as well as any player in Europe. He dictates to the game with his overall positioning and his passing, while not comparable to with the peerless Paul Scholes, is of exceedingly high quality.
Carrick is the calming influence that the team needs and at 34 he’s still a top athlete. He looks as if he could go on for 2 or 3 more years. But, sadly, he won’t play this weekend and that could be United’s undoing.