Home » 13 days to fix Man United – Day six: Antony

13 days to fix Man United – Day six: Antony

by Red Billy

This series of articles started when there were 13 days until Manchester United’s next game against Brighton at Old Trafford.

13 days to make the necessary adjustments to remedy a poor start. 13 days to implement tactical changes which will improve the team’s performance. 13 days to regain and rally the spirit which was carefully cultivated last season.

13 days to fix United’s season essentially.

Over these 13 days, The Peoples Person team are looking at 13 areas United can look to improve upon before their next Premier League fixture. An article a day until Erik ten Hag’s issues have drifted away.

Yesterday we focussed on Jadon Sancho, which leads us right into today’s issue – Antony. The Brazilian winger has started the season poorly and until recently, many fans were calling for Ten Hag to give either Sancho or Facu Pellistri a chance on the right wing as well.

Ten Hag has stuck steadfastly by Antony and we can perhaps now see why, with his criticism of Sancho’s performance in training and the England man’s public reaction to that.

Pellistri has looked positive and tricky in his cameos so far, but it may be that the manager thinks he is not ready yet to play regularly. His slight physique might also be a concern.

However, everything has now changed as Antony has become embroiled in a domestic dispute that is being investigated by the Greater Manchester Police and that has seen him dropped from the Brazil national team.

The player appeared yesterday on Brazilian TV to deny the allegations levelled against him, something that in itself might have gone against the advice of Ten Hag and/or the club’s lawyers.

The outcome of the police’s investigation is one issue and another is the fact that the boss is now dealing with not one maverick winger but two.

So many questions: will Antony be available to face Brighton on Saturday? And if he is, will he have behaved in a way that dissuades Ten Hag from picking him? And if not, will his head be in the game? – All this, remember, added to a scenario where the player was under-performing in the first place.

Sancho would have been sitting pretty to take advantage of the Brazilian’s fall from grace, but he has picked the worst time to cook his goose. As a result, with Anthony Elanga long gone and Amad weeks away from being fit, Pellistri could find himself the only specialist right winger available for selection.

Antony and Sancho’s exclusion would not mean that Pellistri is the only option, however. Last season, Ten Hag pushed Bruno Fernandes out to the right, although it was not an ideal solution. There is also the option of switching Marcus Rashford to that wing and bringing in Alejandro Garnacho on the left, although he is still looking more effective as an impact sub than a starter.

There will be other options again when Mason Mount is fit, but for now, there are not too many palatable alternatives.

It’s a dilemma for Ten Hag and one that he will need to solve quickly if Antony’s situation – and form – does not improve soon.

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