Another day, another clean sheet, another win. But what else did we learn from United’s straightforward victory over Burnley? Well, Ryan Gray was at SJP and has some salient points to make.
- This midfield three allows Bruno to flourish
It took a few attempts, but it seems Eddie Howe has finally found a midfield three that gets the best out of Bruno Guimarães. The win over Burnley was arguably their most commanding display yet and, though it was hardly much of a contest, it was nonetheless very encouraging.
Elliot Anderson looks right at home in the Premier League and offers the work rate Howe demands, while Sean Longstaff is proving himself a vital component.
He’s currently as important to the starting XI as the first R in the word ‘turmeric’. A lot of people seem to think it shouldn’t be there, but it’s just not right without it.
- Jamaal Lascelles still has plenty to offer this side
It would have been easy for Jamaal to cut his losses and force a move elsewhere once he started to drop down the pecking order, but he has a huge role to play at Newcastle this season and, for two games in a row now, he’s more than risen to the challenge.
Against Man City and now Burnley he’s remained calm, performed brilliantly, and shown he can adapt to play in this team. What’s more, having his leadership on the pitch is always a huge bonus.
After all he’s done for the club, I couldn’t be happier to see him as part of a side trying to be successful for once, instead of just trying to survive.
- We could be in for a tough few weeks
Though the win over Burnley was pretty routine, it has left us without another key player, with Joelinton now heading back to the treatment room. There he joins Sven Botman, Joe Willock, Callum Wilson and Harvey Barnes.
Champions League, Carabao Cup and Premier League fixtures are all in the calendar within the next month and Howe won’t be able to rotate anywhere near as much as he’d like for those games.
Any more problems could really stretch this squad to its limits and leave us competing in European fixtures with a significantly weakened side.
- We need to start games better
Back-to-back 8-0 and 2-0 league victories is hardly the signature of a side struggling to find form, yet against tougher opponents, things might not look so rosy.
Both Sheffield United and Burnley created great openings and got the better of the early exchanges before rolling over and meekly accepting their defeats.
While it’s not necessarily worrying just yet, it is something to improve on, with more clinical sides less likely to be profligate with those early chances.
- Stop getting Abba wrong
As an Abba fan, I’m delighted that we have added not one but two of their hits to our match day song list.
However, it’s clear to me that the vast majority haven’t taken the time to actually listen to Voulez-Vous because they’re getting the melody horribly wrong.
At the end of the chorus, the “we’re all going to Madrid / Milan” part, the melody goes up slightly, while our fans seem to go in the opposite direction and merge into a completely different song.
I’m aware this is a much more trivial point than the others, but I just think, if we’re going to sing some of the best pop songs ever written, let’s at least do them justice!