Axel Tuanzebe has had to be patient for his chances at Manchester United this season but he got one today against Wolverhampton Wanderers which he took with both hands.
This was only the 23-year-old’s fourth Premier League start of the season, but he was flawless as United finished the domestic campaign with a 2-1 victory.
Tuanzebe won every single one of his tackles today, achieved 89% pass accuracy, made seven recoveries and seven clearances.
The statistics also record that he made two blocks although to the naked eye it seemed like many more as he got in the way of virtually every threat Wolves mounted against the United goal.
Axel Tuanzebe’s game by numbers vs. Wolves:
100% tackles won
89% pass accuracy
7 ball recoveries
An eye-catching performance ahead of Wednesday. 👀 pic.twitter.com/LlUJvpHbcf
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) May 23, 2021
It was a performance reminiscent of the academy graduate’s brilliant outing in Paris earlier in the season as United pulled off an epic 2-1 victory against PSG in the Champions League.
Today’s game saw Tuanzebe partner Eric Bailly at the back and it is expected that United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will choose one of them to partner the rested Victor Lindelof in the Europa League final against Villareal on Wednesday.
With captain Harry Maguire almost certain to miss out through injury, Bailly would appear to have seniority in terms of standing in for him, but today’s masterclass from the former England Under-21 international won’t have done his chances any harm.
It is a similar dilemma that Solskjaer has in regard to the goalkeeping situation. Should he choose the older, more experienced, arguably more brilliant player, in David de Gea, who is also arguably more erratic and not a communicator as his understudy, Dean Henderson?
In many ways, the Bailly vs Tuanzebe question has the same characteristics.
Tuanzebe is yet to concede a goal in the Europa League this season, whereas Bailly has conceded four and was a part of the defence that leaked three against Roma in Italy.
It is a nice problem to have for the manager as both players seem to have come into some good form at the same time.