I woke up today and thought “Finally. After three long months of a dark football-less world…
Football is back and life is picking back up!
At first, it seemed that all Manchester United picked up was the bad habits they had worked so hard to extinguish pre-COVID. Poor squad selection and sluggishness out of the gate led to a disheartening first half for the Reds that made that pit in all of our stomachs return – the worry. The worry that the lifeless football we have been watching Post-Ferguson might be back to haunt us.
Fortunately for all of us the second half was a bit more of what we were getting used to and the night did not end without positives. United were able to take a point home back to Manchester in what was the hardest fixture remaining, Bruno looked as hungry as ever, and the Pogback was in full effect.
United remain in the 5th spot – only two points ahead of Sheffield United who has a game in hand. Sheffield take on Newcastle United on Sunday giving us an extra day of rest before our clash with them on June 24th at Old Trafford.
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – 6
Two of the most important game management decisions are team selection/substitutions and having the squad ready to play from the first whistle. Before the suspension of the season, Ole had seemed to have gained a much better grasp of both of these but today seemed to be what hopefully is not a regression.
Team Management Potential Errors:
- Setting up against Jose Mourinho you have to expect to face a deep block, immediately eliminating Daniel James for Mason Greenwood who is more skilled and creative and at finishing and (insert anything other than pure pace)
- I will always feel that Bailly > Lindelof
Positives for Ole would be his substitutions. Clearly bringing Pogba into the game was a great, albeit obvious, decision. Looking forward to Ole getting his groove back next fixture.
GK: David de Gea – 4
Absolute howler for the Spurs goal. Maguire was at fault as well for putrid defending, but a Manchester United keeper cannot be making these types of errors with this level frequency. There is no denying that David de Gea the last 24 months has not looked anything like the keeper that kept us afloat for years. Maybe he needs a change of scenery to give him a jolt, but in his current state he has cost Manchester United far too many points in critical games. We have Dean Henderson in waiting and finding a buyer for DDG’s massive wages would only help us.
RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 7
Handled Son with relative ease as he does with most wingers who take him on. Also didn’t seem to tire nearly as much as the rest of the players and never stopped tracking. If only we could fuse AWB’s defensive ability with Dalot’s attacking…
CB: Victor Lindelof – 7
Played decently well and defended the air better than he usually does. Will never have the raw athletic ability of Bailly but reads the game well. Subbed off late on with a calf injury so I assume we’ll be seeing how Bailly fills the spot. Would also love to see Tuanzebe get more minutes before the end of the season.
CB: Harry Maguire – 4
Woof. Usually a rock in the back who reads the game superbly well, Maguire leans on his reading ability to make up for his lace of pace and agility. On the Bergwijn goal it looked as though Harry was on delay and was completely run past by Bergwijn. Slightly better in the second half as United imposed their will a bit more and controlled possession better. Showed off some nice footwork late on.
LB: Luke Shaw – 8
The Brandon Williams fire under Luke’s butt has been the perfect catalyst for Shaw’s resurgence. Whether at LB or CB, Shaw the last 10-15 games has been superb at the back as well as showing all the attacking ability he was known for. Still at times seems to be running too reliant on pace and is often forced into a hurried angled hospital ball similar to Dan James.
CM: Scott McTominay – 6
The thing I love most about McTominay is also what tends to put him at risk. His passion for United and aggressive play style creates opportunities for great momentum changing tackles, but it also puts him at risk for cards. Like it did early on today. Scott did not provide nearly enough offense today but was tough in tackles, in the air, and controlled with possession. Pretty average game and a level below whats expected from a Manchester United starter.
CM: Fred – 6
Our season MVP prior to the suspension of the season was unable to continue with the same level form. Careful with the ball (94% passing) but was unable to create much and was sacrificed for Paul Pogba
CAM: Bruno Fernandes – 9
MOTM every game he has played in since signing for United. When you watch Bruno Fernandes you see what you want in a United player; someone who doesn’t hide and always wants the ball. Everything dangerous from United was coming from Bruno and he converted the 31st out of 33 penalties in his career to grab us a point. Was he a bit selfish and maybe reckless with the ball? Sure he was. But he’s earned that right and it’s paying off for us every single game. The only fear at this point is the wear and tear on his body playing in England. He gives 110% at every minute and hopefully it doesn’t take a toll on him.
RW: Daniel James – 4
Almost every rating I’ve given Daniel James could be copy and pasted here and it would pass. The only games Daniel has proven to be effective in are against teams that play on the offensive. He hits on the counter with pace but once he has defenders in front of him it’s over. Lack of skill moves, poor passing choices, and pure lack of size and strength. Would love to see him go out on loan to a smaller club. Either we bring him back a better player, or sell him for a profit when he starts playing well for smaller teams who counter.
ST: Anthony Martial – 5
Martial must have nabbed Harry Potter’s cloak because he was invisible in the first half. Forced Lloris into a save DDG usually makes in the second half but sheesh he truly has the ability to completely phase himself out of games.
LW: Marcus Rashford – 6
Great to see our boy back in action but he was never expected to hop back into the same form he was in. Six months removed from a back injury, Rashford looked rusty and seemed to be relying being able to just run by people. A bad habit that he broke in early 2019.
SUB: Paul Pogba – 8
Clearly changed the game immediately upon his entry. As the saying goes “there are levels to this game”, and Paul Pogba on his day is up there with the worlds best midfielders. Not only did he influence the game with his passing, he absolutely ate Eric Dier’s lunch before drawing the game tying penalty. I was in favor of Pogba starting on the bench purely because of his recent injury history; and I still think it was the right call. But boy does it feel like the wrong one. Very excited for Pogba and Bruno to gel.
SUB: Mason Greenwood – 7
Reportedly put on 6-7lbs during quarantine and he is starting to look like a man. We saw this development with Rashford and it’s difficult to contain the excitement over Greenwood’s ceiling. In the final minute he had a beautiful step-over and shot that nearly bagged us the three points. Future star.
SUB: Nemanja Matic – 6
Didn’t do much due to lack of time. Did show a decent burst of pace and a nice ball out wide. Matic is always better with rest and he looked VERY well rested.
SUB: Odion Ighalo – NA
Not on long enough to have an impact
SUB: Eric Bailly – NA
Not on long enough to have an impact