Pundits are divided on whether or not Matic should play alongside Herrera. The duo has started on two occasions, once in the UEFA Super Cup duel against Real Madrid and against Stoke on the weekend. On both the occasions, it seemed like the team lacked real cohesion. The fluidity that was observed in Manchester United’s midfield in all of their starting 3 games was not as evident on the evening.
Fans were quick to point out that Herrera’s inclusion into the squad was United’s undoing as he was ineffective for most parts of the game.
In the starting of the season, many fans felt the midfield trio of Herrera, Matic and Pogba would be the successful formula for United in winning games on a regular basis. But after a no show against Real Madrid, and a nervy performance in central midfield against Stoke, maybe we should give some time for that trio to find some real form and cohesion heading into the season.
In their trip to the Britannia, many were excited to see how the midfield would perform, but they failed to contain the Stoke midfield, as they were regularly feeding the ball to the wide-men, Shaqiri and Chupo-Moting; who ended up doing most of the damage.
For most of last season, Herrera was the destroyer in Manchester United’s midfield as his interceptions would help disrupt opposition attacks to good effect. But against Stoke, did the ambiguity of the job had an effect on both Matic and Herrera?
Matic has been drafted into the United team for doing just what Herrera did all of last season. Could that have been why the midfield was largely ineffective against Stoke?
Apart from his inability to stop the midfielders from spraying out passes to wide-men, Herrera showed a great bit of rustiness on the evening. It can be expected from someone who has missed most of the opening games, but it was still surprising, to say the least.
Maybe it’s not the time to hit the panic button just yet. Ander Herrera is being eased into the squad, slowly and steadily. And his performance against Stoke will be analyzed in great depth, and he will only get better as we head into the mix of things.
For now, though, it seems like Herrera should not be starting games alongside Matic; until either of them is spoken to about what roles they should execute.