Manchester United defeated Newcastle United 2-0 to start off the new year in brilliant fashion. They had to wait until the second half at St James’ Park, with substitute Romelu Lukaku finding the back of the net with his first touch after being brought on.
This was cemented later on by Marcus Rashford, whose goal was created by Alexis Sanchez, another substitute brought on by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Much has been said about the performance of those two men under the Norwegian gaffer, particularly since their forms under Mourinho simply weren’t creating the requisite goals.
However, another area that has been intriguing under the new gaffer is the club’s defense. Even though United kept only their first clean sheet under Solskjaer against the Magpies, the performance of Victor Lindelof has been outstanding.
Against Newcastle, the Swede was the finest defender on the pitch, near perfect with his tackles and clinical in his takedowns. Even the few mistakes that were made at the back were amended swiftly by him. and it is only now becoming apparent why so much money was spent on him.
Fans took clear notice of this, and piled praises onto him on Twitter.
Victor Lindelöf's game by numbers vs. Newcastle:
100% tackles won
90% pass accuracy
most clearances (9)
most aerial duels won (7)
2 chances created
0 goals conceded
A well-deserved clean sheet. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/e0JyaDV9t9
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) January 2, 2019
— Sky Tshabalala (@SkyTshabalala) January 2, 2019
Lindelof would flourish if paired with a defensive leader
Jones contract expires by summer thank goodness #NEWMUN
— Michael Millz (@Millzyazy) January 2, 2019
Victor Lindelof needs Koulibaly by his side @ManUtd . he has been solid and a leader from the back
— Ntando Ndebele (@bulawayo_my) January 2, 2019
Look at Lindelof in this photo, he'd had a bad few games at the time and looked so short of confidence it was like he was about to burst into tears.
He's come a long way. https://t.co/zlC0GpuYUY
— Sibs 🔰 (@SibsMUFC) January 2, 2019
Lindelof is that type of guy that doesn't have to build physically to play the game cos man uses his brain so much.
— Oluwanishola (@Shileolaibrahim) January 2, 2019
So apparently Victor Lindelof played the RCB, LCB and also RB…. Build that guy a statue. 👏👏👏 #NEWMUN
— M.A.D (@blazindon) January 2, 2019
Lindelof was superb today. Build a central defence around him and we will be strong for years. He was absolutely immense and has improved so much!! Come on United!! #MUFC
— 👑 OLUWAFIFUNMI 🎨🇳🇬 (@FifunmiRexx) January 2, 2019
In addition to this brilliance, Lindelof has also been quite attacking in his approach, with the game against Cardiff featuring him making numerous offensive runs. Clearly, this is the sort of tactic that, once worked upon, will create magic in the team’s attacking tactics.
Regardless, there are still many who feel that the partners for Lindelof aren’t doing their job greatly, and that a leader is badly required at the heart of the club’s defense.
Will that be an area that the higher-ups at Old Trafford will invest in this season, or will the kind of performances Lindelof put in today inspire enough hope to hold off on spending until the summer?