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4 Dundee United talking points: Dylan Levitt’s importance in numbers, Ross Graham vs Vicente Besuijen, the Tangerine Wall and Kevin McDonald

There were ample talking points from the stalemate at Pittodrie
There were ample talking points from the stalemate at Pittodrie

Dundee United were rock solid in the Granite City to deny Aberdeen victory on Jim Goodwin’s home bow as boss.

Tam Courts’ men opened the scoring courtesy of Marc McNulty’s fourth-minute penalty, with Matty Kennedy swiftly restoring parity.

Christian Ramirez, Vicente Besuijen and Lewis Ferguson all came close for the hosts but United repelled the pressure to extend their unbeaten run to six games.

The push to secure top six football, and perhaps even mount a European push, remains on track.

And Courier Sport was in Aberdeen to analyse the action.

The Tangerine Wall

United’s recent resurgence has been built on an iron-clad defence. This was no different.

Aberdeen played well. Very well, at times.

Connor MacLennan, Besuijen, Ferguson and Kennedy were particularly effective, with Ramirez a constant threat as he stalked the penalty box.

United had to be at their resolute, diligent best to keep them at bay — particularly in the second period.

Aberdeen were left frustrated as United claimed a point

Liam Smith made a wonderful block to deny Teddy Jenks, Ferguson saw a shot blocked on the line and Benjamin Siegrist denied MacLennan.

In the Premiership form table over the last six matches (as of Feb 26), no team has shipped fewer goals than Dundee United’s stingy tally of three.

They last conceded more than one goal in a single game against St Mirren on January 18 – nine matches ago.

It is evident that more attacking potency is required, but Courts’ charges have an admirably sound base on which to build their offensive endeavours.

Ross Graham’s learning curve

The boyhood United fan lived the dream when his towering header secured a draw against Rangers, while his form in recent weeks has been imperious.

And Ross Graham experienced another formative afternoon on his rise to prominence.

Aberdeen winger Besuijen — remember the name — was unplayable at times on Saturday, intelligently picking up the space between Graham and Ilmari Niskanen and fearlessly running at the centre-back.

Aberdeen focused the majority of their attacks down the right flank

It was the Dutch flyer’s surge and shot which led to Kennedy’s leveller.

Opta statistics showed that the Dons focused more than half their attacks down that flank over the course of the 90 minutes.

But after enduring a testing time in the first period, United got to grips with the challenge after the break. Graham, in particular, was stoic.

Dylan Levitt injury sweat

The sight of a dejected Dylan Levitt, clutching his leg and ruefully shaking his head, was a miserable one for all United fans.

The on-loan Manchester United midfielder — strutting his stuff in front of Old Trafford icon Sir Alex Ferguson — has been an inspired addition to the Tannadice ranks this season.

He provides metronomic precision of passing, ice-cool composure and has contributed two goals to the cause; his strike in the 2-0 win over Motherwell earlier this month was a thing of beauty.

As such, United can scarcely afford to be without the playmaker for any length of time.

Since he joined the club, United have only lost four of the 17 Premiership matches in which Levitt has featured.

They have lost six of the nine played without him.

The importance of the Wales internationalist — withdrawn after 41 minutes on Saturday — cannot be overstated.

Kevin McDonald edges towards full fitness and form

As United nervously await news regarding Levitt, solace can be found in Kevin McDonald’s continued progress.

After completing 73 minutes against Motherwell and 53 minutes against Partick Thistle, the former Fulham and Dundee star edged closer to registering his first full match since February 8, 2020.

Indeed, he could have celebrated that milestone at Pittodrie.

Kevin McDonald and Dylan Levitt

He was not substituted due to fatigue or injury with three minutes left on the clock; rather Courts’ understandable desire to shore up his back-line with the introduction of Kieran Freeman.

“Kevin is a top player and a Scotland international, and is probably searching for his top form,” noted Courts. “That [outing at Aberdeen] will do him a world of good.”

Indeed, even without reaching the heady heights of which he is capable, only Ryan Edwards and Ian Harkes racked up more completed passes for United than McDonald’s 28 [Opta].

When he does hit full gear, Courts will have a fine asset to call upon during the decisive weeks of the campaign.