Home » Anthony Elanga struggles yet again as Manchester United progress

Anthony Elanga struggles yet again as Manchester United progress

by David O'Neill

Anthony Elanga endured yet another night to forget at Old Trafford as Manchester United overcame Charlton Athletic 3-0 in the Carabao Cup quarterfinal.

In fairness, the Swede was deployed in an unfamiliar role up front and was not up to the physical requirements of the task.

He worked hard but never to much avail, failing to make an impact off the ball with a number of his runs heading into blind alleys while his pressing was ineffective.

Elanga can never be accused of laziness, but in terms of offering any sort of threat, the academy graduate is unfortunately lacking.

In fact, in all 60 of his minutes up front against League One opposition, he touched the ball just ten times – once from kick-off.

He did not complete a single dribble, he did not win a single duel, he did not manage a shot beside a single blocked effort.

Elanga complete lack of presence was, at times, seemingly due to an inability to cope with the physicality of the opposing defenders.

But more alarmingly, it was a product of a lack of awareness, a lack of footballing intelligence.

Those qualities are paramount for centre forwards in professional football and Elanga is obviously not a centre forward.

However the 20-year-old fared no better after the hour mark, when he was moved over to a more familiar wide role on the right after Marcus Rashford was substituted onto the pitch.

He managed to see a little more of the ball, but never in any way that posed a meaningful threat to Charlton.

In isolation such a performance could easily be put down to a bad day at the office. But the truth is that it would be hard to argue that Elanga has had a good one in quite some time.

You would probably need to go all the way back to his wonderful equaliser away against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last season – a magical moment never to forget, even if it unfortunately proved fruitless in the end.

With reports of interest from Frank Lampard’s Everton, it may be time for Anthony Elanga to look elsewhere for his moments, as right now they are certainly not coming at Old Trafford.

Perhaps he could go out on loan and come back with the benefits of some lessons learned. But on the basis of his overall time in the United senior team, they would need to be some lessons.

(All stats taken from SofaScore)

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