Despite Louis van Gaal’s side somewhat unfortunately losing out to title leaders Chelsea last weekend, the Red Devils have nevertheless been on a decent run of form since the turn of the year.
The nerves and inconsistency that seemed to define their first half of the 2014/15 campaign have now partially faded away, leaving a trial of improved fortunes and confidence in their wake.
United have picked up four impressive wins in their last five outings, and beaten the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City rather triumphantly in the process. It seems such a long time ago now that this star-studded outfit managed to lose 5-3 to relegation flirting Leicester City towards the beginning of the season.
In light of such a notion, there are several important reasons therefore underpinning Manchester United’s recent success – and although van Gaal currently plays host to some of the most expensive and high profile names in the country – it may come as a slight surprise at to how well Michael Carrick has fitted into the Dutchman’s plans of late.
The Red Devils old boy may have been struck down by a frustrating calf injury recently, but the 33-year-old has nevertheless been a key component behind his side’s recent success, bet on the remaining Man United matches this season with the help of our Premier League predictions articles.
Looking back on Michael Carrick throughout his career in the Premier League, it becomes clear that the England international has always possessed a certain quality on the ball. Representing the likes of West Ham and Tottenham in the past – and not to mention his recent resurgence back into Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions squad – the centre-midfielder has displayed some near perfect traits that all good players require in the middle of the park.
The no. 16 could rival even the likes of Andrea Pirlo and Xabi Alonso in the current era when it comes to vision and cross-field passing. The game seems to slow down dramatically when Carrick gets on the ball, yet far from acting as a negative within his team’s usually fast flowing moves, the England man time and time again proves capable of linking up with his attacking teammates even in the most testing of circumstances.
Carrick displays sheer intelligence when given space in the midfield, he often allows the more attack minded midfielders the freedom to express themselves further up the pitch, and he can certainly do his fair share at the back whenever called upon.
Manchester United’s recent run of form, with Michael Carrick firmly placed within the starting XI, therefore doesn’t come as much of a surprise. All his aforementioned qualities have given Louis van Gaal’s side that added dimension in their respective matches, and alongside the likes of Ander Herrera and Daley Blind at Old Trafford, the Red Devils have certainly looked a great deal stronger because of his involvement.
Admittedly there are certain aspects to the former West Ham man’s game that seemingly hold him back from becoming the complete midfielder. Carrick hardly ever seems to put a tackle in despite playing right in the middle of the action and he simply doesn’t score enough goals to be considered a truly class act.
As United are certainly profiting from his contribution in the side of late however, such shortcomings will likely have little effect on Michael Carrick’s overall reputation with the Old Trafford faithful. It seems that now he is fully getting the recognition he deserves – transforming from a one time supposedly over-hyped and over-valued waste of money, into a player who has become pivotal in Manchester United’s updated and revitalized approach.
From the perspective of all those who happen to support the Red Devils anchor-man in their day to day footballing life, let’s hope the good times continue for the ever present and ever determined Michael Carrick.