Odion Ighalo’s starts for Manchester United are few and far between. That means when he does get an opportunity, he needs to seize it.
He was handed a start for United against Luton Town, and given his record of scoring early into his loan spell, this seemed like the type of game which could spark Ighalo back into life.
Instead it was a frustrating game for Ighalo, whose performance could be put in as a 6/10 at best.
Ighalo has lost some of the momentum he picked up in February and March. He was far too predictable for Luton’s defenders to deal with.
He needs more help
Ighalo did not have much to work with. United did not manage to create a single chance for him.
He only had one shot at goal, which came after a run he made himself and it was blocked by a defender.
Despite Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard creating a combined eight chances, none of them came Ighalo’s way.
It was similar in his last start at home to LASK, Ighalo managed only one shot, which was saved by the goalkeeper.
So it is hard to be too harsh on him, when he is not getting service he needs to be successful.
Ighalo was only able to make 25 touches before he was replaced in the 78th minute.
None of Ighalo’s last two appearances have come when Bruno Fernandes has been on the pitch.
He would stand a much better chance of being successful if he gets to play with the Portuguese star. The last two games he did, he scored three goals (vs Norwich and two away at LASK).
He also needs replacing
United are a more dynamic team without Ighalo in it, sadly for the on loan striker.
Anthony Martial’s movement is better, and as such, he is not as reliant on service as the Nigerian.
Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood both gave life to United’s attack when they came on. The difference was clear.
So while Ighalo needs more help to be successful in the short-term, his performance may focus United into scouring the market for an extra striker while the transfer window is open.
A lot of the good will towards Ighalo from fans has evaporated. He is being seen for what he is, an emergency option who does not offer any long term direction.
Ighalo’s loan deal expires at the end of January. He is not currently giving United any extra motive to try and renew that further.
At best he is now a sticking plaster solution to the necessity of signing an extra striker.
It made some sense to wait, with it seeming that United would invest in other areas of the squad this summer. However, no wingers have been signed so far, or defenders, so signing a striker should come back into focus if the right player becomes available.
United should take action now to try and sign a new front man, and find long-term option.
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