Home » Christian Eriksen’s absence felt as Manchester United held by Newcastle United

Christian Eriksen’s absence felt as Manchester United held by Newcastle United

Poor squad depth costs United as Ten Hag able to make only one change

by Ayantan Chowdhury

A slow and ponderous Manchester United were held to a goalless draw at Old Trafford by a resilient Newcastle United on Sunday.

Both teams had chances to win the game with Joelinton coming closest for the visitors in the first-half with two of his headers hitting the post.

United stumble

For United, both match-winning chances came late on in the game with substitute Marcus Rashford creating the first for Fred who failed to guide the ball home with an empty net in front of him.

The Mancunian was then guilty of missing the most gilt-edged chance in the dying seconds of the game as he failed to direct his free header towards goal with Nick Pope rooted to his spot.

The point means United remain fifth in the table, a point above their opponents.

Erik ten Hag’s team selection was indicative of the fact that United face two members of the top 4 — Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in the space of a couple of days.

The Dutch boss decided to use Fred in Christian Eriksen’s stead and the Brazilian showed why he lost his place in the team. His passing was erratic as usual and he was slow to the ball on numerous occasions.

Fred is not the answer

Ten Hag had admitted that the Brazilian is great when it comes to pressing but with the Magpies sitting deep as the match went on, United needed someone who could break the lines with their passing.

United’s squad depth was laid bare as the only genuine midfield options at the Dutchman’s disposal was academy graduates Zidane Iqbal and Kobbie Mainoo.

Scott McTominay‘s injury and Eriksen’s illness meant the Red Devils had to make do without effecting any substitutions as the match wore on.

Eriksen’s passing would have been the perfect antidote to break down a stubborn Newcastle defence but unfortunately, United have to be happy with their first draw of the season.

Rashford could still have made it count but the result was a clear indication that the club still need to strengthen the squad going forward in crucial areas as one injury or suspension can create a lot of issues.

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