Manchester United’s nine-game unbeaten streak came to a grinding halt on Sunday as Aston Villa surprisingly put United to the sword and walked away with a 3-1 victory.
The poor result was partly due to United’s gruelling schedule over the past month with players having to play Europa League Thursday night football along with the weekend Premier League fixtures.
Dalot’s absence will be felt
And the Dutch manager will have to figure out how to shuffle his pack yet again as one more of his ‘undroppables’ will miss the final league game before the World Cup.
Diogo Dalot has started in all games so far this campaign and after receiving five cautions in the league, he will have to sit out the Fulham game.
Malacia right back https://t.co/jWiBVUuQBv
— Hamad Al Thani (@althani_27) November 6, 2022
His limited skills with the ball at his feet and his weakness when bombing forward do not sit well with the Dutch manager, who prefers a more proactive style of full-back and someone is comfortable with the ball at their feet.
The former Crystal Palace man was close to being offloaded in the summer only for the United hierarchy to block the move at the last moment.
Rumours linking him with a return to Selhurst Park have once again resurfaced and the feeling is this time, he will be let go as he is clearly not in the manager’s plans.
The other options include playing Victor Lindelof there. The Swede has done that in the past, most recently against Real Sociedad in the Europa League and the ploy has never worked.
Malacia the deputy
The centre-back does provide height and additional security but he is too slow and not too good when it comes to bombing forward to join the attack.
The best option at Ten Hag’s disposal is to use left-back Tyrell Malacia there. He has already played there a couple of times this season and has the energy and football intelligence to cope.
The Dutch defender is not a stranger to such positional change requests with national team manager and former United boss Louis van Gaal playing him as an auxiliary centre-back in a game.
The former Feyenoord full-back’s versatility has certainly benefited United in more ways than one. He has played well when given the chance and has also forced Luke Shaw to lift his game.
Utilising Malacia from the right should only be viewed as a temporary solution and the club should go all in for a deputy in January.
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