Amid the 16 players used by Manchester United in the defeat to Young Boys, Mason Greenwood was not one of them.
The decision was understandable from the perspective of United wanting to give Greenwood a rest, having started every single pre-season match and Premier League match to start the season.
On the other hand, United missed him, badly. Cristiano Ronaldo was too isolated in attack and Greenwood’s pace could have been utilised to stretch the Young Boys’ defence.
Now Greenwood has had his rest, it is time to bring him back into Manchester United’s starting XI this weekend away at West Ham.
It was at the London Stadium last season where Greenwood scored his first Premier League goal of the 2020/21 season, with a very well taken goal from an Alex Telles assist.
Greenwood has been in strong form this season, netting three goals in his opening three games. Even though he had a quiet game in the 4-1 win over Newcastle, he still popped up to force the decisive moment of the first half when his shot rebounded into Cristiano Ronaldo’s path.
Assessing United’s wide options
Cristiano Ronaldo will start for United up front. Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani remain out, while Anthony Martial will have to hope for a Carabao Cup start next week.
United’s wide options depend on how Paul Pogba is used. With Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek and Fred competing for midfield spots along with a fit again Scott McTominay, Pogba could end up out on the left wing.
On the right that leaves a choice between Greenwood and a so-far less than convincing Jadon Sancho.
Greenwood is likely locked in on the right, with Sancho having to settle for a spot on the left if Pogba is in a deeper midfield role, otherwise he will be on the bench.
United’s most lively player
This season Greenwood has been lethal in front of goal. He has scored three goals from just five shots on target so far this season.
Greenwood leads United’s players with 16 ‘Shot Creating Actions’ this season, according to FBRef. These are defined by a pass, dribble, or foul drawn leading to a shot at goal. Paul Pogba follows on 15, with Luke Shaw on 13.
The creativity Greenwood offered was missed against Young Boys, with United managing only two shots on target, and none after Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s red card.
While there are various ways to go with United’s team selection this weekend, Greenwood should be an absolute certainty to start.
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