- United left it late once again as they beat Burnley at Old Trafford by three goals to one. I’ve mentioned lately how young Mason Greenwood was hitting top form at a crucial part of the season and how he can be the winning card for United in the final straight. Today he gets my special mention. Mason scored twice against Burnley, playing from the right of United’s front three. The position suits him very well as he often has the opportunity to cut inside on his favourite left and that’s what happened with both goals, albeit the second goal took a wicked deflection on the way to hitting the back of the net, which wrong-footed the Burnley keeper. Take nothing away from Mason though. His direct running at defenders, quick feet and deadly strikes with left or right have to be a defender’s nightmare. As good and important as the goals were though, the one moment I appreciated Mason most was with his part in the third goal. Played in by Cavani in injury time and having just one defender in front of him, my immediate thought was to just go for it and get the hat-trick. Instead he looed up and saw Fernandes in a better position at the edge of the penalty area and passed the ball to Bruno, the latter to Van De Beek who assisted Cavani for a simple tap-in. Mason’s decision making and cool head in the build-up however was incredible for a boy of nineteen. Make no mistake fellow United fans, this lad will be a world beater if he keeps working hard and the people around him keep him with his feet to the ground. Southgate, are you watching?
- It is always a debate for United fans and pundits alike regarding the personnel who fill United’s three positions in midfield. Against the top teams, Ole has shown preference to start with Fred and McTominay as a defensive midfield pair to protect his defenders better. I can understand such a decision and I would agree with it. Against Burnley though, I was expecting Pogba to be deployed deep with Scott – given that the latter was suspended in mid-week – and another striker brought in to give more impetus to our attacks. Ole went for Fred though to start the match with Scott and the first half turned out to be a bit dull and finished goalless. We all know what happened when Ole changed things round at halftime. Aside from the fact that teams in mid-table and lower positioned are wary of United’s attacking threat these days and are happy to stay in their third of the pitch and soak the pressure for as long as possible, I think that when you field two defensive midfielders from the start, the message across to the opponents is that United are wary of the opponents. This is not right against teams in the wrong half of the table and needs to change. Also, I am a big fan of Fred. I think he is relentless in midfield but lacks the quality going forward, at least for a team that wants to win the Premiership. I believe that if United want to be the best, Fred can only be a squad player next season, an important one that can do a job when called upon. Still, United need an upgrade in midfield, Declan who?
- I have praised Ole decision to give a chance to Henderson in goal. The latter fared well in his first matches and seemed confident enough to make a serious claim for the number one jersey at United. Against Burnley was not his best performance, however. After the blunder in the first minute, where he was saved by VAR, he never quite settled. I’m convinced that he should have come out to claim the corner from which Tarkowski headed Burnley’s temporary equaliser. I expect a proper keeper to make his any crosses that fall in the small box and Henderson failed to do so on that occasion. Indeed, this lack of assertiveness in the small box is De Gea’s achilles’ heel and it is the area where Henderson needs to assert that he’s an upgrade on the Spaniard if he wants to keep the keeper spot next season.
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Article contributed by Contributor Roderick. Comments are appreciated on our Facebook page.