The Louis van Gaal revolution at Manchester United started in earnest on Sunday as Queens Park Rangers were dispatched in impressive fashion.
But aside that this United team is the most expensively assembled in Premier League history – and they were playing one of the poorest teams in the top flight – it was still a commanding performance.
The close of the transfer window and the international break came at the right time for van Gaal. He now has a squad closer to his liking and the focus on England meant the excitement wasn’t at fever pitch prior to Sunday.
United now have a favourable run of fixtures – away at Leicester and home to West Ham – to get up a head of steam. Even the early October visit of Everton should go United’s way – before last season the Toffees hadn’t won at Old Trafford in years.
A trip to the Hawthorns to play West Brom – who are already looking doomed – follows the visit of the Toffees and it’s after that when things get tricky for United. Chelsea provide the opposition for the last game of October and much will be learned about van Gaal and United then.
It’s a game that will pit Radamel Falcao against former Atletico Madrid teammate Diego Costa. Falcao made his United debut against QPR but little was gleaned from his late cameo.
Costa meanwhile continued to take the league by storm with a hat-trick for his fifth, sixth and seventh goals in four games. Swansea were enterprising but undone by the lethal Spain international.
So far no one has been able to overshadow Costa – a far cry from when he and Falcao were teammates at Atletico Madrid. As statistics from EuroFantasyLeague.com confirm, Costa was very much the junior partner when they last played together.
The 2012-13 season was the last Costa and Falcao spent as a partnership, before the Colombian chased the riches of Monaco. Between them they scored 38 goals in 58 games – 28 in 34 for Falcao, 10 in 24 for Costa.
Not only did Falcao play and score more than Costa, he had the selfishness of any front-line striker. Costa registered seven assists to Falcao’s one. This season Costa has yet to create a goal and he’s not likely to do so while he remains Jose Mourinho’s main attacking threat.
They were a successful duo, helping Atletico to third place in La Liga, victory in the Copa del Rey and a thumping European Super Cup win over Chelsea. When they’re pitted against each other in just over a month’s time whoever takes centre stage will determine the destination of the points.
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