Manchester United dug deep and eventually emerged triumphant against Aston Villa at Villa Park in the Premier League on Sunday.
The 2-1 win ended manager Erik ten Hag’s away hoodoo against top-nine sides and meant the Red Devils closed the gap between themselves and Villa to five points and are only six behind Tottenham in fourth.
Rasmus Hojlund opened the scoring after an excellent start from the away side but they ended up relinquishing control, as has been the case very often this season.
The Red Devils somehow held firm in the first half but Luke Shaw’s injury-enforced substitution meant the manager brought on Victor Lindelof in his stead.
A centre-back by trade, the Swede found it difficult against the pacey pairing of Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey and eventually the hosts equalised through Douglas Luiz.
Thankfully for the Sweden international, Scott McTominay turned out to be a super-sub again as he popped up to score the winner.
The centre-back has had to play as the left-back a couple of times this season due to the dearth of options in that area and has not managed to impress.
Even at the heart of defence, the former Benfica man has hardly been as effective as he was last term, only keeping three clean sheets in games he has started.
He looks weak in the challenge and on quite a few occasions gets outmuscled by opposition strikers while struggling to win aerial duels. His passing range is quite good but a lack of robustness has always been a major weakness.
Injuries have also not helped matters with the 29-year-old missing 10 games through a groin injury till now.
There are chances that the former Västerås SK might be used as a makeweight in order to prise Benjamin Pavard away from Inter Milan.
The Nerazzurri are unlikely to entertain such a request and a move to Saudi Arabia makes the most sense with multiple clubs said to be interested.
Gone in the summer?
“Victor Lindelof recently renewed his contract with the ‘Red Devils’ but only for formal reasons. His destiny would in fact be projected far from England and who knows, he might also be proposed to Inter by the English management themselves in order to be able to more easily get closer to Pavard’s card.
“The only plausible scenario would be that of exchanging cards with the inclusion of an economic adjustment until the desired sum is reached, but even in this case there would be no positive factors for Inter to take into consideration.
“Lindelof has very few minutes left in his legs and would like to take a less tortuous path than European football, probably embracing one of the many proposals coming from Arab football in the Saudi Pro League.”
Former manager Jose Mourinho brought him to the club for €35 million back in 2017 and his current market value as per Transfermarkt is €18 million. It will be great if United can actually recoup such an amount.