Man United Midfield Duo Matic And Herrera Allow Forwards To Shine

Manchester United have now made it six Premier League wins out of six, under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Man United’s attack has really kicked up a gear under the new boss; with Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford looking particularly stronger under Solskjaer’s guardianship.

The Norwegian has also toughened up United’s defence and they were on course for another cleansheet today in their win over Brighton & Hover Albion before a mistake from Phil Jones allowed Pascal Gross to grab a consolation strike.

A key part in Man Utd’s upturn in form, both defensively and in attack, has been the great performances of  midfielders Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera.

Like everyone else for the Red Devils, Matic underperformed during Jose Mourinho’s last few months in charge at Old Trafford. While Spanish midfielder Herrera had fallen out of favour under the former manager, which meant his appearances were sporadic before Ole’s arrival.

But since the arrival of Solskjaer and Herrera’s reintroduction to the starting eleven, United’s midfield has looked significantly better.

What the duo have given the team is consistency. They work well as a unit and do their best to protect the backline and to clean up if the attack lose the ball.

Against Tottenham Hotspur last week, both players would drop deep and sit just in front of the back four if Spurs ventured into United’s half. In the first period, it worked a treat as they continually plugged gaps and ushered the ball away from their goal.

When they are constantly protecting the backline, it gives Pogba the freedom to go forward whenever possible and do what he does best. Since the new gaffer took on the managerial hot-seat at Old Trafford, Paul Pogba has struck five goals and created four assists. He’s becoming a huge game changer and that’s because he has confidence in the two players (Herrera & Matic) playing behind him.

Against The Seagulls today (via Whoscored) both middle-men were very efficient with their passing. Ander made 62 passes in the game and 90% of them were successful, while Nemanja made an incredible 98 passes and 91% of those were successful too. They also made three key passes between them!

Matic brings added height to the engine room, winning three headers today. While Herrera gives the side more energy and mobility. The Spaniard stated to MUTV that he relishes playing in the number eight role:

“I like to help David (De Gea), and to help the defenders,”

“But I also like to try to score goals. I have a good chance today, and I think one of my qualities is that I can go from box-to-box. I can help the team with the ball and without the ball, and I think Ole likes that.”

Defensively today, Serbian international Matic made three successful tackles, Herrera made more interceptions than any other Man United player and between the two of them they made four clearances.

The pair of holding midfielders give the team much needed balance. They venture forward at times but it’s more about giving their teammates the chance to shine in their positions.

Talksport are reporting that Ander is close to agreeing a new deal with the Red Devils and I believe keeping the twenty-nine year old at the club would be a huge boost.

It’s great that the forwards are getting the plaudits and the goals, it’s also good news that the defence is improving but we shouldn’t overlook the contribution of Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic. The midfield duo do a lot of the dirty work but their performances have been invaluable in the past month and without them Manchester United wouldn’t be as strong as they’ve been and can now look to climb back into the top four!

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