Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes were among Manchester United’s poorer players in the bore draw with Crystal Palace.
It’s not right to be to harsh on two players who have scored 40 goals combined this season, and they haven’t regressed. What is hurting them is a lack of rest.
Rashford has played 42 games this season already and Fernandes 40. That doesn’t take into account international matches.
Factor in the relentless June to August schedule from last season too, and it’s clear these players just need a break.
Part of the problem here lies with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for poor squad management, the other aspect of blame lies with the board.
Jack Grealish was needed
The problem here could have been solved if United had bought Jack Grealish in the summer.
Aston Villa’s asking price of £80 million was too high and United walked away, without even trying to negotiate.
United bought Donny van de Beek for half the price, a move which was hailed at the time as sensible business. So far it has worked out poorly.
Van de Beek has not yet won Solskjaer over, starting only two Premier League games this season.
He was meant to be bought as an alternative to Fernandes, but Solskjaer does not feel he can drop the Portuguese international for Van de Beek without the team experiencing a drop off.
Nor does he feel Van de Beek is a natural replacement for Rashford on the left. This was the one drawback to not signing Grealish, who can play in both positions.
Grealish can play both left wing and attacking midfield roles adeptly, and was already Premier League proven.
Had United signed the Aston Villa man, both Rashford and Fernandes could have been rested a lot more.
Grealish this season has been playing at a high level. Far better than how he ended last year. He has created more chances per game (3.4) than any Premier League player.
While Jadon Sancho was a big miss on the right wing, and continues to be, not signing Grealish has had a negative impact on United’s team.
Fernandes and Rashford need help, and Grealish could have provided it, for both of them.
£80 million seemed expensive last summer, but it looks a little cheaper now.
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