Home » Mission Mark-Frenkie-De-Jong: Fred is Manchester United’s trump card at Old Trafford tonight

Mission Mark-Frenkie-De-Jong: Fred is Manchester United’s trump card at Old Trafford tonight

by Abhishek Sarkar

Manchester United fans are chomping at the bit right now.

The Red Devils face Barcelona later tonight in the second-leg of the Europa League knock-out round, before a Carabao Cup final appearance against Newcastle United on Sunday, a crucial double-header that may determine the course of the rest of their season.

Marcus Rashford scored the first and played a pivotal role in getting the second during the highly entertaining 2-2 draw in the first leg against Xavi Hernandez’s men.

He remains United’s main attacking threat at Old Trafford, but this match could well be won and lost in midfield.

There is a strong likelihood that Erik ten Hag fields the same team that started the first leg, with the Brazilian duo of Fred and Casemiro joined by Wout Weghorst in a makeshift midfield three.

Fred, 29, delivered yet another excellent performance against the Blaugrana last week.

The Brazilian international got the assist for Marcus Rashford’s opener at the Nou Camp, with a well crafted through ball in the second-half.

His work rate was off-the-charts as usual, with Fred winning seven ground duels whilst emerging victorious in five out of six tackles.

He also played a key role in man-marking the effervescent Frenkie De Jong out of the game, thus restricting Barcelona in possession and allowing United to take advantage of the defensive gaps left behind.

The Dutch midfield maestro will remain key to any potential Barca success story at Old Trafford, and Fred will once again be tasked with marking him, a true battle for the ages.

Sir Alex Ferguson himself would often use the likes of Ronny Johnsen and Ji-Sung-Park to man-mark dangerous opposition players such as Zinedine Zidane and Andrea Pirlo, when the moment called.

It is clear Ten Hag trusts Fred to do a similar job in the big games, a true testament to the Brazilian’s qualities as a player and an individual.

Tonight, he must repay his manager’s faith back in kind, if the Red Devils are to emerge victorious, come the final whistle.

Latest Top Stories...