Manchester United rolls on after tough start
By NICK PAPADIS
College Contributor Network
After a very rocky start to the season, Manchester United has turned its season around, and now sits third in the Premier League Table.
First-season manager Louis van Gaal's side has now won their last six league matches following their win over Liverpool on Sunday. The Red Devils started out the campaign with only four points in their first five matches of the season marking their worst start to a season in decades.
However, as of late, Man United has been unstoppable. This has been a result of a return to form of Juan Mata and Robin van Persie. The two have combined for seven goals in the past six league fixtures.
Both players found the back of the net in Sunday's match against Liverpool. The Red Devils topped the Merseyside club 3-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday with a goal from Rooney in addition to Mata and van Persie.
Despite top performances from the team's attackers, it was 'keeper David De Gea who left his mark on the match. The Spanish shot-stopper did well to hold Liverpool to a clean sheet despite the Reds having nine of their nineteen shots on target.
This performance by De Gea marked a continued streak of good form. The twenty-four-year-old has been considered as a target by many of Europe's top clubs following a very strong season, despite his club's ups and downs.
Another player who has been surrounded by transfer rumors is Juan Mata. Mata's worth was questioned by van Gaal during his early days at United, but the Dutch manager has been selecting the Spaniard consistently as of late due to good form by the midfielder.
Mata was one of the only signings made by former manager David Moyes, and despite decent performances last season, van Gaal was not convinced of Mata's ability. However, as of late there has been no questioning the prowess of the talented left-footer.
Netting a goal against Liverpool was the icing on the cake for Mata's recent form. He has now scored five goals in thirteen appearances this season for the Red Devils.
Mata, however, is not the only player in the squad who has proved their worth this season. After a rough start of the season that was plagued with injuries, Robin van Persie has also returned to form.
Many fans and pundits were beginning to question the scoring ability of the 31-year-old forward, but his seven goals in fifteen fixtures speaks for itself. It seemed that Colombian international Radamel Falcao may have been the heir apparent at center forward, but RVP has now scored three goals in his past two matches and thus has won back his starting spot.
Despite defensive troubles and lack of depth at centerback, the Red Devils have been able to move into a Champions League qualifying spot through their quality attack. If Mata and van Persie continue to produce as they have in the past matches, United could be well on its way back to dominance following a poor 2013/14 campaign.
Manchester United hopes to continue its successful streak as it prepares to face Aston Villa and Newcastle in its next two league fixtures.
Nick Papadis is a sophomore at American University majoring broadcast journalism and broadcasts AU Men's Soccer amongst other sports. Nick is an avid Liverpool fan. Follow him on twitter @NPSoccerTalk