Manchester United left Blackburn Rovers shell-shocked on Friday night by coming from behind three times to secure a stunning 6-4 victory at Leigh Sports Village in Premier League 2.
The Reds trailed thrice as a result of defensive errors in an injury-hit backline but the attacking play from Neil Wood’s side was outstanding throughout.
United are now the top-scoring team in Premier League 2, having hit the back of the net 39 times in 14 games. The fact they are also the top-conceding side speaks volumes for the kind of team this is right now.
It will come as no surprise then that the three best players in Friday’s victory all come from the attack.
To allow Shola Shoretire to play centrally, Hannibal has played out on the left. He’s excelling in the space that the position allows him. Mejbri can roam across the pitch, dragging defenders with him on some occasions and, on others, being left to move with the ball by opponents who don’t want to lose their team shape.
Hannibal’s goal was excellent as he put his opponent on the floor and finished well with his weaker left foot. It was his build-up play that excelled, though. His interchanges with Shoretire and Amad tore Blackburn’s defence apart. As a result, Blackburn resorted to taking him down before he could make the incisive passes which were exposing their backline. Hannibal was fouled more than 10 times. He’s been nicknamed the Grealish of Premier League 2. Rightly so.
Hannibal just appears so relaxed on the pitch with good composure and the technical ability to complete the passes he sees.
Amad’s performance had everything. His teammates looked to him to take charge of the build-up play. Last week, with two goals against Liverpool, it felt like Amad played everything at pace. This week, a slightly different style showed. That pace and speed to his play and thinking was evident again, but his composure was also obvious.
All three of Shoretire’s goals were set up by Amad. The final one was particularly noteworthy. A cross made its way through the whole penalty area, Amad took control of it but instead of shooting immediately, he paused. He saw that Shoretire was on his way into the penalty area and with a simple lay-off, allowed the 17-year-old to power home his third goal of the evening. It was all about intelligence and composure. Amad plays an exciting game and excelled in creating chances. He missed a big one-on-one opportunity but converted a more difficult chance later on.
Amad looks at home in the under-23s. His link-up play with Hannibal and Shoretire speaks volumes for how well he has settled in already. It’s a positive sign for his eventual assimilation into the first team.
Shoretire’s game on Friday night showed precisely why United had to work hard to seal his signature on a first professional contract. He’s a player who has attracted interest from major clubs abroad.
His movement is fantastic, as shown for all three of his goals; one was a powerful header while the other two were simple enough finishes from close range. Shoretire was efficient throughout. With a small figure, it’s impressive how calm and relaxed Shoretire is on the pitch. He’s only 17 but plays as if he’s the best footballer out there. Importantly, though, like Amad and Hannibal too, Shoretire works hard throughout. He tracks back and presses well.
Some fans questioned Shoretire at the start of this season. It has taken him a while to get fully used to under-23s football but he’s now excelling and knocking on the first team door at the tender age of 17.
Elsewhere, Harvey Neville had an excellent second half, delivering some wicked crosses, one of which was converted by Hugill. Galbraith had a decent game at centre-back, filling in for the injured Will Fish. Hugill converted his only chance.