Manchester United failed to capitalise on Chelsea’s loss and remain eight points off the Champions League places after drawing 2-2 against Aston Villa.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have hoped that a victory against the Villains could instil some confidence and momentum ahead of back-to-back big 6 clashes against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.
Judging by United’s performance, it is hard to see why Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola should be worried.
Here are three players who tried to have a positive influence on United’s performance.
It is clear that the £52million signing is missing his midfield partner Scott McTominay, but to be fair to Fred he tried to drive his team on.
Playing alongside Andreas Pereira must be difficult for him because you just don’t know what you are going to get from United’s number 15.
Fred showed great skill to get away from his compatriot Douglas Luiz and then had the vision to play in Anthony Martial.
United’s number 17 tried to get his team on the front foot and he was playing against a talented Villa midfield, which had a bit of everything.
Despite getting a yellow card for brining down Grealish, Fred continued to press and hassle, but he could have done with more energy around him maybe Dylan Levitt and James Garner.
It was Fred’s teasing cross that led to Victor Lindelöf giving the Red Devils the lead and his delivery from corners caused problems.
He could have scored the winner after ghosting into the box, but his header was straight at Tom Heaton.
Fred has probably endured his most fruitful spell in a United shirt and when McTominay and Paul Pogba return, United’s midfield and season may finally take off.
The former Swansea man had the opportunity to stretch his legs in the 9th minute.
James flashed the ball into the Villa area and it was begging for someone to be on the end of it, but Rashford didn’t anticipate the cutback.
The Welshman felt the full impact of the imposing Wesley after he clattered into the Brazilian, but after some time on the deck, James dusted himself off.
On the hour mark, there was a some lovely interchanging passing between James and Martial, which nearly led to the latter being played through on goal.
With United chasing a winner, it was James who clipped a perfect cross into the middle for Fred, but it was straight down the keepers throat.
Mourinho and Guardiola will be worried about the threat James will bring and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if United’s speed demon gets some special rough treatment.
It was clear that Frederic Guilbert was petrified about the threat the red hot Rashford posed.
Every time United’s number 10 got the ball he was looking to drive forward and force the visitors into retreating.
The most pleasing thing about United’s equaliser was the fact that Rashford had the awareness to make a darting run into a dangerous area and the ball from Pereira put it on a plate for him.
He should have done better with his chance in the first half on his left foot after being fed by Juan Mata, he might have snatched at it, but he is regularly getting himself into goalscoring positions in every match.
Rashford is scoring goals in a side that doesn’t have a natural creator, he would only be more dangerous, if he had someone like Grealish to create openings for him.
With Pogba and McTominay close to a return, Rashford’s goalscoring threat is only going to enhance.
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