When Jadon Sancho signed for Manchester United, the mouthwatering list of possible link-ups seemed endless.
Sancho and close pal Marcus Rashford would surely hit it off? What about Sancho and prodigious youngster Mason Greenwood, or even Amad?
Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival provided hope of a stunning link-up with Sancho, while Bruno Fernandes would surely spark alongside another top creative player?
All of these combinations still have high potential, and will surely come good with time. But against Arsenal it was another unexpected player who linked up with Sancho to devastating effect… Fred.
Fred and Sancho combine
Fred can be a chaotic and divisive player. The unfortunate way he injured goalkeeper David de Gea for Arsenal’s controversial opening goal summed that up.
He also showed his good side against Arsenal, turning the game into a 3-2 victory with Sancho’s assistance.
Fred has a lot of energy for tracking back and getting forward, and Sancho took advantage of his running from midfield to joint the attack.
For United’s first goal, Sancho picked out Fred’s run from midfield and the Brazilian slipped in another pass for Bruno Fernandes to net an equaliser and break his goal drought.
The pair then doubled up in the second half when Sancho played a perfectly weighted pass in between two Arsenal players for Fred’s oncoming run. Martin Odegaard fouled Fred and Cristiano Ronaldo scored the decisive penalty.
Fernandes and Ronaldo took the glory, but without Sancho and Fred’s industry, the goals would not have been possible.
For the third goal, Sancho waited for Fred’s run, he was looking for the Brazilian. It was an intelligent piece of play and showed that the pair could replicate their success in the future too.
Potential for Rangnick to develop
Ralf Rangnick wants a balanced team, with direct attacking play. United will need to be a connected team, as opposed to a group of individuals.
Seeing a midfielder and winger combine for such impact as Fred and Sancho did, with such a beneficial impact on the result, bodes well for the future.
Sancho especially is a player who Rangnick rates highly, with the German boss admitting he previously tried to sign him, regarding the winger as ‘phenomenal’.
He showed against Arsenal what a joy he can be to play alongside, and a few of those partnership mentioned at the start, could flourish and start to click with Rangnick’s guidance.
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