Manchester United have been in strong form over the last few weeks, although their ascent up the table has suffered a couple of setbacks in recent days.
The draw at Crystal Palace was a disappointing one, with United conceding an injury time equaliser having led for most of the game. At Arsenal, they took the lead before being outplayed for the cast majority of the contest, with the hosts ultimately deserving of their late winner.
While they will be disappointed with the last two games, there are a number of positives to take away from their showings since the season returned after the World Cup. That includes the upturn in form from a number of players, including the likes of Marcus Rashford, Casemiro, and Luke Shaw.
However, some concerns are growing over other members of their squad.
Rio Ferdinand has growing concerns about Antony
Antony started the game at The Emirates, although he failed to make much of an impact on the contest. Despite showing some nice touches early on, he offered very little in terms of attacking threat as the match went on.
It continues a worrying trend in recent weeks. The Brazilian seems to be somewhat of a one-trick pony, looking to drift in from the right onto his stronger left foot. If that option isn't on, he usually resorts to simply passing the ball backwards to his fullback.
He lacks any sort of explosiveness in his play and has a very long way to go in order to justify the €100million price tag that United forked out to sign him from Ajax during the summer.
Rio Ferdinand is starting to develop some concerns. Speaking on Vibe with Five, the former England defender said that Antony is lacking some key fundamentals in his game that you would normally expect to see from top class wingers.
The concerning thing for me with somebody like Antony is that he can’t beat anyone – and for a Brazilian that’s surprising!
He just doesn’t beat anyone and I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Was that always the way?’ I’ve seen clips of him when he was at Ajax and he was somebody who used to beat people.
I saw [Thomas] Partey – who I wouldn’t put down as like a roaster, a sprinter – absolutely burst past him, and I’m thinking, ‘Woah, he [Antony] hasn’t got much power in them legs!’ So, yeah, he’s a tricky winger, but tricky wingers you want them to still be able to beat the defender.
Even Zinchenko, he’s a great player, great footballer, but defensively you get him one-v-one and you’re a wide-man, you should feel, ‘I can get hold of this guy and I can deal with him’...
You want a winger to be going past full-backs without any hesitation at all and with Antony, as much quality as he has on the ball and his technique and stuff like that, [he doesn’t get past players].
When I played with Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs, Antonio Valencia, even Ji-Sung Park would get past the full-back. Not just by going past them but he’d play it and run and get the other side of them.
I want to see that from Antony. Listen, its his first season so you’re going to have to give him a bit of time, doesn’t matter how big the price tag is, but I need to see more glimpses of that.
As Ferdinand points out, it is far too early to write off the possibilities of Antony being a success at Manchester United. However, there are certainly some concerns present that would make you question the decision to spend such a vast amount of money on him last summer.
It will be interesting to see if those issues will be addressed in the months ahead.