We have to start with Alejandro Garnacho. The Argentine youngster has been in and out of the United first team, playing for the U21s as well. Although his time playing for the U21s may be over for good after his stellar performance at Fulham on Sunday. Garnacho made an exceptional run to score the winner for United in stoppage time to get the Red Devils all 3 points heading into the World Cup break. Alejandro Garnacho has been on the radar of many in his time with the U21s. It seems his time with the big boys has finally come.
The Manchester United U21s haven’t faired too well without Alejandro Garnacho. They are winless in their last 4 matches. Let’s break them down.
United 0-1 Sparta Praha (10/26) PLIC
United’s first match in the Premier League International Cup was away to Sparta Praha. The match ended 0-0 with both sides earing a point a piece. Many of the younger reserve players played in this match. This could be a unique competition for United’s youngsters to win, but given their position the Premier League 2 table, perhaps Mark Dempsey is making the right choice.
There’s little to nothing to discuss about this match. United sat 5th in group B of the PLIC group stage, while Sparta Praha sit top after this match.
United 1-1 Tottenham (10/29) PL2
Another match in which the young lads dominated a match statistically but only came away with a point. United out possessed Tottenham with 64% of the ball and out shot Tottenham 11-9. After this match United sits 11th in PL2 with 10 points on 11 matches played.
Mark Dempsey made 8 changes from the Sparta match. Mainoo led the line with Shoretire and Iqbal on the wings. Savage held down the midfield and Vitek was back in goal.
Iqbal drew a pk in the first 8 minutes of the match, but Emeran took it and missed over the bar. Iqbal had excellent footwork to earn the pk. Chances were shared in the first half as Vitek was called into action more than once. Shoretire had the bulk of United’s quality chances. Unfortunately for United Iqbal had to be subbed off in the 1st half due to injury. And then things only got worse for United as Santiago Alonso finished off a well worked chance form Tottenham just before the break.
United came out on fire in the second half and dominated the match, but their lack of quality in front of goal was on full display. But, in stoppage time (90+2) United got the equalizer by way of Jurado with a terrific strike form just inside the box to find the top corner.
After the match Mark Dempsey said, “They undid us too many times…wonderful character and resolve…pleased with the attitude.” When asked how the team as developed over the season Dempsey said, “We’re seeing progress collectively we’re not pleased with that.” No indeed we are not Mark, I have to say. This has been a shambles of a season thus for the U21s and it all has to fall on the manager. May be time to shake things up.
United 1-6 City (11/5) PL2
Alright, lets just get through this one real quickly. Too many shades of this match between the United and City first teams. City now sits 3rd in the table with United still in 11th on 10 points. McNeil started at eh number 9 with Hansen Aaroen, Iqbal and Mainoo in behind. Savage and Forson held the midfield 2.
United did score first and early off of a corner kick. The match was 1-1 at the half after City scored on an incisive through ball. City controlled much of the first half but United had some opportunities they failed to capitalize on. The rest of the match may have been quite different had they been able to finish, but this isn’t the first time we’ve said that about this U21 side this season.
Needless to say, this was a match to forget and just continued to drive home the need for these youngsters to work on their finishing. The match also makes us wonder why Mark Dempsey still has a job.
United 0-2 Monaco (11/11) PLIC
The second match of United’s European campaign ended in defeat at home to the French side in Monaco. United honestly should’ve won this match and the score line does not tell the story of this match. Monaco took home all 3 points after a wonder goal from Diedry Kouassi in stoppage time. You can see that goal here, Kouassi wonder strike.
This was just another frustrating match for the U21s as it yet again put all their short comings on full display yet again. Charlie McNeil has been touted to have incredible potential since we “stole” him from City, but maybe City just let him leave. He’s shown good play in build up, but as an out and out number 9 he fails to find the back of the net far too often.
Amad Diallo has had a great time in his loan spell with Sunderland in the championship. He led the line for them against Luton in a 1 all affair recently. The Sunderland boss said of Diallo, “Amad was amazing today…not, just the saves he drew from the keeper, but his intensity and aggression to win the ball back. I trusted him in central midfield at the end there, which says everything.” Diallo then went on to put in a man of the match performance against Birmingham City in a 2-1 victory for Sunderland. Diallo assisted for the first goal and made a stellar run for the second. He finished his run with a spectacular curling effort.
Ethan Laird and Hannibal played against each other as Birmingham beat QPR 2-0. Hannibal had an assist.
Alvaro Fernandez played 86′ for Preston North End in a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough. which coincidently was also Michael Carrick’s first game in charge of Brough.
The U21s will play Wolves in the Football League Trophy second round on November 22nd. Much of the U21 schedule is expected to stay the same, but the World Cup could cause some changes to the schedule. Hard to tell, but updates form the American Red Devils will continue throughout the World Cup. Until then, let’s enjoy the month long festival of football.