Manchester United’s FA Cup run is over for another season. Leicester were worthy victors as they won 3-1 on Sunday evening.
It was a frustrating, avoidable loss for United. The team did not play well, and were beaten by a fresher, more organised side.
The most infuriating part from United’s perspective was that the loss felt avoidable.
United played poorly and there were individual errors in there along with the familiar problem of bad defending from the set piece for Leicester’s third.
Three United players were especially disappointing, and we aren’t including Paul Pogba in with the mix, as he did not look fully fit, playing a second game in four days after six weeks out injured.
This was a tired and error prone performance from Fred who looked off the pace early on.
When he gave the ball away for Leicester’s first goal, it was the third time he had given possession away cheaply inside the opening 25 minutes.
He wasn’t helped by United’s plan to play out from the back, which played into Leicester’s hands as they seemed to make a concerted effort to press him.
Fred attempted more tackles than any player on the pitch (5) and this was not a good thing. It was a result of his inability to retain the ball, and his desperation to win it back after losing it.
He was too slow to close down Youri Tielemans for Leicester’s game-turning second goal.
Perhaps this was a result of starting his third match in eight days, but it’s not really an excuse for a performance this bad. United need him to be fresher, quicker, and simply better.
A bad performance like this has been coming from the Brazilian over the last few matches. United’s midfield needs strengthening, and he was shown up in all areas by Wilfred Ndidi and Youri Tielemans.
It made sense to bring Matic in and give one of Fred and Scott McTominay a rest. Solskjaer probably picked wrongly with McTominay sitting out.
A bigger frustration however was Matic failing to really offer anything positive of note to United’s midfield.
He was caught out ball chasing for Leicester’s second goal and looked off the pace.
Matic has not had a good season at all. He’s regressed and is no longer considered an asset to the team, just an extra pair of legs in midfield to help with squad rotation.
Finding a replacement for him has become essential. Ndidi showed he would be a huge upgrade, although probably unattainable.
Next season it would be preferable to see loaned out James Garner given a chance over Matic, although hopefully United can add to the squad too with a Premier League proven player.
Anthony Martial’s only shot at goal came with a weak header in injury time.
United just need more out of a striker. You can blame a lack of service, which was to some degree valid, but Martial’s lack of movement did not help.
The Frenchman was too static inside the penalty area and did not create any chances either. The only time he had any type of impact was when he dropped deep, and even then, his contribution was minimal.
Martial has no goals since netting a brace in the 9-0 win over Leicester.
This season he has only seven strikes to his name. United simply need better from a centre-forward.
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