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Season Review – United’s Midfielders

The 2014/15 season has well and truly come to a close. Chelsea’s dominance saw them rightfully retain the title for the first time since 2010. Southampton’s massive rise under new manager Ronald Koeman has enabled them to stake a claim in Europe next season, after they were seemingly down and out when a majority of their players where snatched away from them in the summer. Leicester City defied huge odds to stay in the Premier League, after sitting at rock bottom for such a huge period of time. Although it was maybe not the most exciting season ever, it did produce one or two spectacular, or simply unbelievable viewings. From Southampton’s 8-0 massacre of Sunderland, Steven Gerrard’s final game for Liverpool ending in a 6-1 thrashing, to Charlie Adam’s absolute belter from the halfway-line. All in all, it’s yet again been brilliant value for entertainment on all fronts. Manchester United have had a questionable season, they saw themselves clinch the top 4 once again in Louis van Gaal’s debut season in charge. However, it divides opinion as to whether this achievement should be greatly hailed, with the club spending almost £150 million in the summer. Over the next few days, ManUNews will be reviewing Manchester United’s season in its entirety, from goalkeeper to manager. Any player that has made over 5 appearances for the first team will be included.

Manchester United’s midfield is one of the most dynamic in the Premier League, with bags of talent all across the board. Louis van Gaal invested a lot in the summer on new midfield recruits, with Ander Herrera, Daley Blind and Angel di Maria arriving for a combined total of around £100 million.

At times, United have looked lost in the middle of the park but equally, on their day, they’ve proven to be unstoppable. Take the games against Spurs, Liverpool and Manchester City as examples. Their dominance in possession was scary to watch.

The January transfer window saw United’s midfield lose a couple of their ‘unwanted’ stars. Anderson’s time at United was cut short as he made a move back to Brazil, and United legend Darren Fletcher grabbed at the chance to move to West Brom, in an attempt to play more football.

So lets begin with the reviews..

Michael Carrick

Edging ever closer to his 34th birthday, Carrick doesn’t show any signs of ageing ability-wise. Although he made just 18 league appearances this season, the lowest in his time at United, Carrick has played an integral part in the sides top 4 surge. Injuries blighted the Englishman’s season, but when he has played, he’s been absolutely unplayable. Michael Carrick’s ability has been ignored for some time, it’s only now that he is receiving the credit he deserves. Overall, Carrick has played a huge part in the side this season, if not for his injuries, who knows where United could have ended up.

Rating – 8/10

Daley Blind

The Dutchman has played all over the place in his debut season for United, however, he’s appeared more often than not in a deep midfield role. Making 25 appearances for United this season, Blind has been one of the more consistent midfielder’s for United. Even though he has struggled with injuries, he’s played a big part in the squad. For me, Blind has not been overly brilliant for United. He seems to lack that killer instinct pass that we have seen Carrick produce so many times, he also struggles to win 1v1 battles, partly due to his shortcomings with his height, strength and pace. All in all, I don’t see Blind as a United holding midfielder. I still believe he has great ability and will provide much more next season, but I think Blind’s best position lies in defence. United’s left hand side received a lot of credit when Blind played at left back, maybe that is a position LvG will consider keeping the player.

Rating – 6/10

Ander Herrera

Herrera’s start to life at United had a similar feel to that of Shinji Kagawa’s. The playmaker was desperate to play, and fans were desperate to see him play, however, for whatever reason he was overlooked by LvG. The new year definitely saw a new Herrera come with it, he began to stake his claim in the first team and eventually stamped down his place. Making over 30 appearances the Spaniard managed 8 goals, which is a fantastic tally. Overall, Herrera’s presence in the squad has proven to be a risk worth taking, and one that means fans are already excited to see him play once again next season.

Rating – 8/10

Marouane Fellaini

What a season it has been for Fellaini. Described as a secret weapon by the manager, the Belgian has certainly come on during his time under LvG. It was widely questioned whether the midfielder would even be at United during the 2014/15 season, there’s surely no question where he will be next season. Making over 30 appearances and scoring 7 goals, Fellaini has quite literally bullied opposition players and become a huge player in the United team. His red card on the final day of the season may have put a shadow over his season, however I think regardless of what happened he should be given a good rating.

Rating – 7.5/10

Juan Mata

Another player who has been hugely effected by Van Gaal’s management. Mata has been my favourite United player this season, he’s done just about everything right. 10 goals in 35 appearances shows he has been the business this season. It was thought earlier on in the year that Mata may be on the way out of Old Trafford, with a return to Spain on the agenda. However, with United securing Champions League football next season, Mata will almost certainly be a player Van Gaal will insist on keeping hold of. Oh, and who can forget his goal against Liverpool at Anfield? United’s goal of the season without a shadow of a doubt.

Rating – 8.5/10

Adnan Januzaj

Unfortunately, Januzaj has been hit with a little dose of second season syndrome. Although he has made 18 appearances, which on paper seems fairly reasonable, it is obvious to anyone that he has not played a big part at all in United’s campaign. At just 20, Januzaj still has a bright future ahead of him and it is clear that he just needs a little more time. A loan move would probably suit Januzaj next season, with Everton one of many clubs linked with the Belgian.

Rating – 5/10

Ashley Young

United’s best midfielder this season. Ashley Young’s turnaround in football this season has been phenomenal. At the beginning of the season, many would’ve written off Ashley Young as a player surplus to requirements and someone that Louis van Gaal would surely allow to leave Old Trafford. However, it has become clear that the Dutchman saw something in Young that would allow the winger to climb his way back into the starting XI and become a major part of the squad once again. The 29-year-old has made just under 30 appearances for United this season, but he has played such a vital part in the team, he has been involved in a small way in most of the goals United have scored. All in all, it’s been a quite remarkable turnaround for the Englishman. Ashley Young has been one of United’s stand out performers this season and it will surely be only a matter of time until he reaps the benefits of his consistency with a new contract and/or a recall to the England set-up.

Rating – 9/10

Angel di Maria

Di Maria’s transfer to United came with so much anticipation and excitement. Unfortunately, his time at Old Trafford has been bitterly disappointing. Although the Argentine started off brilliantly, his form very quickly dipped, the reasoning for this could be debated for hours. It’s not all doom and gloom for the British transfer record holder, he has managed 10 assists for United this season, the second highest in the league, but this has been overshadowed by his clear lack of effort and his inconsistency. Like many, I am disappointed in Di Maria this season, however, I’m extremely confident he will come good should he stay on.

Rating – 6/10