Despite a good point for Manchester United in their first comeback match against Tottenham Hotspur on Friday, there was certainly room for improvement. With fitness also an issue, there are three fresh faces that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must introduce as the Red Devils prepare for the six-pointer against Sheffield United on Wednesday.
1. Paul Pogba: It is of course important to ease Pogba back into action and not risk aggravating the injury that has kept him out of the side for so long. But his 30 minutes on Friday transformed the match and he was head and shoulders above the rest of the side. He must start on Wednesday even if he cannot make the 90 minutes – with five subs allowed that should not be too much of a problem.
2. Mason Greenwood: It was not just Pogba’s introduction on Friday that changed the course of the game, the 18-year-old was also a breath of fresh air and instantly provided penetration and a goal threat down the right that Dan James had not been able to provide.
Greenwood has also clearly bulked up during lockdown and looked stronger on the ball, which was arguably his one weakness earlier in the season. The kid gloves must now come off and the youngster simply must start the game.
3. Eric Bailly: It seems strange to criticise a defence that has the most clean sheets this season of any Premier League side (across all competitions) but question marks still remain over the Harry Maguire – Victor Lindelof centre back partnership. They are arguably too similar and there is a lack of mobility and pace, which was evident in the run up to Spurs’ goal on Friday.
Bailly’s more aggressive style and speed is called for. The Ivorian is yet to concede a goal in five games in 2020 and he should now be given a chance to start alongside Maguire on Wednesday.
Sergio Romero must also be under consideration for a recall by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after another blunder from David de Gea. In fact, Romero was in goal for 11 of those 21 United clean sheets this season – one more than De Gea despite only playing 14 games to De Gea’s 33. However, it is unlikely that the manager will make that call at this stage and the Argentinian is more likely to feature in the FA Cup game against Norwich City on Saturday.
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