Manchester United were convincing in the 3 – 0 win against Brighton & Hove Albion at at Amex. Goals from McTominay, Mata and Pogba saw us through to the quater-finals of the Carabao Cup. We take a look at five things we learnt from the game.
1. BAILLY MAKES A CASE FOR MANCHESTER UNITED’S FIRST TEAM
It has to be said, Eric Bailly was superb yesterday and is knocking on the door of the first team. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer even talked up a Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly partnership in defence and quite frankly he needs to start against Tottenham Hotspurs. Bailly made Lindelof look good today and this also has been the case with Maguire for some time. According to me, Bailly has been the best center back at Manchester United since he was back from injury. He is probably the ideal partner for Harry Maguire – possesses good recovery pace and is good on the ball. The only question about him is his injury problems but when he is fit we need to utilise him properly.
2. JUAN MATA IS NOT DONE YET AT UNITED
Juan Mata was the best player on the pitch at the Amex Stadium as he controlled the entire game. Mata’s football intelligence has never been in doubt. The only thing that is pointed out from his game is that – he lacks pace because of his age. That shouldn’t necessarily be a problem and in my personal opinion he needs to be managed well because Mata has the ability to break down low blocks with his passing game and should be utilised in games where the teams just sit back and defend.
3. MANCHESTER UNITED NEED A NEW BACKUP STRIKER
Odion Ighalo isn’t good enough for Manchester United. Yesterday’s match was proof of that and he has been abysmal for quite some time now. Ighalo was a panic buy at the last minute and initial signs showed that he may be a good signing but post lockdown he has been dreadful. He has only scored one goal since then and I think it is safe to say he has not been a god signing. Woodward at all costs must not look to renew his loan deal and we need to get a decent backup striker in place. An alternative is going after Sancho and make Mason Greenwood as the backup but that has hit a dead end and we need to look at Edinson Cavani or Luka Jovic etc.
Check out my article on Five Odion Ighalo alternatives (was before the transfer window).
4. HENDERSON MAKES PUSH FOR MANCHESTER UNITED’S NUMBER ONE
United probably have the best goalkeeping department in the world right now. Dean Henderson made a superb save that reminded people of what De Gea was like in his prime – saving the team with an outstanding reflex to make sure the lead stays intact. Although De Gea has done nothing wrong yet, Dean Henderson is breathing down his neck and it is making life difficult for Solskjaer in a good way as he has a selection nightmare. Don’t forget Sergio Romero is still at the club…
5. DANIEL JAMES NEEDS A LOAN MOVE AWAY FROM MANCHESTER UNITED
It’s all gone downhill for Daniel James since his blistering start to life in Manchester. Since then he has been consistently poor as he has still to develop football intelligence. He makes bad decisions on the pitch and that is probably the main flaw in his game. A loan move would do him good as he can play regularly and try to work on that aspect of his game. He has the potential to be a huge star and now needs to put the hours in. With Leeds United interested in acquiring his services for the season, it will be interesting to see of this materialises.