Systems, Stanton & More: The reasons for Dundee United’s revival

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Saturday’s victory over Dunfermline Athletic saw Dundee United climb to the top of the Ladbrokes Championship.

It’s quite an achievement for a side who lost three of their first 10 games this season, including a humbling 3-0 loss to fellow title challengers St Mirren.

So, what’s the secret behind the Tangerines turnaround? We take a look.

Super Sam fulfilling his potential

It hasn’t all gone as planned for Sam Stanton. A highly rated teen prodigy at Hibernian, he never quite progressed as planned at Easter Road, eventually being loaned out to Livingston and Dumbarton.

However, the 23-year-old is enjoying a new lease of life since his loan switch to Tannadice. And he’s continuing to improve week-on-week.

The midfielder has now managed three goals and an assist in his last five games, producing a string of energetic displays in the process.

A player with real class and quality, there’s every chance he’ll continue to make the difference in big games – just as he did by netting the winner against the Buddies last month.

Tactical set-up paying dividends

United have been using a 4-4-1-1 system since Csaba Laszlo’s arrival. And the system is working very well.

The experienced and powerful Scott McDonald has been excellent leading the line, with the tricky and skilful Scott Fraser behind him. On the left and right of a midfield quartet, Stanton and Billy King offer pace, creativity and an eye for goal.

Defensively, they’ve looked much better since Paul Quinn’s return from injury. Now reunited with his regular partner Mark Durnan, they’re increasingly tough to break down.

Other title hopefuls slipping

Whilst United have been in stellar form, they’re the only side in the Championship who can boast any consistency right now.

St Mirren pack plenty of attacking quality, but have had their struggles defensively. Those issues have seen the Paisley club fall to a couple of fairly hefty defeats – including a 4-1 loss at Cappielow.

Livingston have impressed on fairly modest resources, but their title hopes look to be fading. As for Dunfermline Athletic, they started very brightly but are now five league games without a win.

With Dundee United heading into the Christmas period in fine fettle, they look likely to come good on the current odds of 10/11 to lift the title.

Next up for the Tannadice club is a trip to Greenock Morton on Saturday, with United 6/5 to bag another big three points against the Ton.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.