Fred could be Manchester United's key to getting midfield back on track
Manchester United have suffered two home defeats to start the season and return to Old Trafford this weekend.
One of United’s problems has been an inability to pass the ball out from the back, with opponents Palace and Tottenham pressing the defence and midfield.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has two options here. Either he changes system and instructions to his players, or he switches personnel.
If Solskjaer goes with the latter, then one change in midfield could be key to making it work: Bring in Fred.
Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic both struggled receiving passes from defenders in midfield against Spurs.
This is one of Fred’s strengths. The 27-year-old is particularly effective in getting United’s attacks moving from the base of midfield.
Fred’s quick passing and resistance to the press are traits United need right now.
The Brazilian can do the basics, and United have lacked this in the opening weeks of the season.
Fred is also fresh after resting during the international break, not involved for Brazil.
In his last start against Brighton, Fred had more touches of the ball (91) than any player on the pitch, despite being substituted after 80 minutes.
His willingness to show for the ball and keep it moving, progressing United up the pitch, is key to get the team playing well.
It is not Paul Pogba’s natural game to be dropping keep into his final third to receive the ball and at times he has been caught out. He cost United a goal in this way at home to Southampton in July.
Competition for places in midfield is tough at United, especially so after Donny van de Beek’s arrival.
Whether Fred is a long term every week starter for United is uncertain, but he could be the player the team needs right now.
Fred was a regular fixture in United’s big Premier League games last season, putting in inspired performances against Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham among others.
With big games upcoming against Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton in the league, Fred should have a big role to play.
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