Manchester United‘s U23s currently sit 4th in the Premier League Division 2 table at 35 points. They are 3 behind Arsenal in third but have a game in hand on the Gunners. Meanwhile, Tottenham and Crystal Palace both sit just behind United on 33 points. Finishing fourth for the U23s obviously doesn’t carry the same impact as it does for the first team but the sentiment of it is meaningful. Finishing in the top 4 consistently at all academy levels can help create a winning culture in the club. That culture has certainly been lacking since Sir Alex departed in 2013.
The U23s have played three matches since the last U23 update from the American Red Devils. They’ve taken 6 points from an available 9 having beaten Derby County and Everton. Their one loss came to Leeds United at Ellan Road. There are four league matches left for the U23s and a date with Arsenal on April 22nd will play a decisive role in who finishes in the top 4.
Manchester United U23: 5 – Derby County: 2
This one was an absolute rout, Derby’s two goals were merely consolation. Following a comeback draw against Crystal Palace the week prior, this was certainly a good performance. Among the goal scorers were Charlie Savage, Hannibal, Shoretire, Noam Emeran, and Alvaro Fernandez. United controlled the overwhelming majority of the ball at 67% and had 24 shots. Failure to finish chances initially did see Derby equalize on the 54′ but the draw did not stand for long.
Standout of the match goes to Alvaro Fernandez who had a cracking goal and has been proving he’s more than capable of playing for the first team sooner rather than later. Ralf will be keeping an eye on the former Real Madrid youngster.
Manchester United U23: 0 – Leeds Scum: 3
This a match we certainly don’t need to talk much about. Leeds United were brilliant on the day. United did again control the majority of possession quite convincingly at 69% but Leeds were quick, decisive, and clinical on the counter. In fact Leeds outshot United 19 to 12 with 8 on target to United’s 3. Unfortunately it was just one of those days. These types of results on the road are bound to happen at the youth level, especially when the U23’s are also focused on European football. Leeds U23s are not playing in Europe.
Following the result United needed to respond quickly and be sure they don’t lose pace in the U23 top 4 race. The young Red Devils did just that the following week.
United 3 Everton 0
Manchester United responded brilliantly to their 3-0 defeat at Ellan Road with a 3-0 win of their own over the Toffees at Old Trafford. Charlie Savage scored in the 60′ while D’Mani Mellor would go on to add two more of his own. Once again United dominated the possession at 70%, although they were outshot 17 to 14. The U23 side is clearly good at keeping the ball and breaking down teams but their weakness remains in defense and their vulnerability to the counter attack.
The U23 squad will look to maintain their lock on the top 4 when they travel to the King Power stadium on April 4th to take on Leicester City.
Hannibal is learning from Ronaldo. “I watch everything he does,” said Hannibal on Ronaldo’s influence at the club. The youngsters at Manchester United need to follow suit and learn as much as they can from the Portuguese star before his time is up. No matter his age or current form, Ronaldo is still Ronaldo and his work ethic remains the same. Hannibal said, “I watch the drink he takes. I do just like him. When you see him on a daily basis, you realize that there is only that for him: work. Whatever is good for the body, he does.”
Brandon Williams remains a consistent starter in the Norwich City side. But, with the Canaries likely to be relegated and finding results hard to come by its hard to gauge the United fullbacks performances. Fellow players at Norwich seem to like him and rate him highly. He does look good but again its hard to tell when a team is so bad overall.
James Garner remains a vital player for Nottingham Forest as they chase promotion. Forest are in prime position to finish in a playoff spot, but if we know anything about the Championship its that you can’t be assured of anything.
That’s it for this U23 update form the American Red Devils. The international break is unfortunately upon us. Let’s hope the U23s and first team can both come back and finish the season strong with a top 4 finish.