The greatest humiliation from Tuesday night’s loss to Manchester City was that Manchester United were left somewhat pleased that the scoreline was kept to only 3-1. It was a miserable affair. But United’s one goal showed the potential of Mason Greenwood in a central position for the Reds.
Picking out one moment to decide a player’s position or a team’s formation would be silly. But Greenwood’s assist to Marcus Rashford was a good example of his quality in that area. United’s recent form demonstrates the ineffectiveness of the frontline. A change could bring some relief.
In Anthony Martial, United have a goalscorer who, despite having many critics, has a very good and consistent record. Rashford is a menace from the left and Dan James’ speed on the right is frightening.
There are two more crucial factors at play, though.
Terrible options at number 10
United’s quality in the number 10 role is abysmal. Lingard, Mata and Pereira have all failed, unsurprisingly, to have an impact there.
Angel Gomes did well as a substitute against Manchester City and is certainly an option, but Solskjaer has been hesitant to give him regular chances thus far.
Furthermore, Mason Greenwood is an elite talent in need of more chances. They can, and have, come on the wing or in less important games. But given his goalscoring record and string of impressive performances, he deserves to start.
Front two of Martial and Greenwood may solve problems
Solskjaer should consider a front two of Martial and Greenwood, playing off each other. Both the Frenchman and the England youngster have the ability to play with their back to goal, dropping deep and creating chances. James coming in off the wing, but more likely Rashford, could finish those chances off. He’s got 17 goals this season from the left flank.
In the midst of a minor crisis at the start of 2020, Solskjaer must do something.
If he can’t sign anyone, and the fault for that would lay at the feet of Ed Woodward, Matt Judge and the owners, then he has to search for another solution. Removing United’s need for a number 10, given the woeful options there, and playing Greenwood off Martial could work well.
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