United fans puzzled by Cavani for James substitution

Amid a desperately poor performance at Selhurst Park, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked to change up his options.

Unfortunately the United boss did not have a proven selection of attacking players to turn to from the bench, with Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek all out injured.

Solskjaer threw the dice, and brought on Dan James. Surely the Welsh winger would inject some urgency into United’s play?

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

The problem for United, was that James came on to replace United’s biggest goal threat, when the team needed a goal. It didn’t make sense.

Edinson Cavani trudged off, with the ineffective duo of Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood retaining their places.

Cavani didn’t have a great game, but he was also starved of service. In the second half he had nothing to work with.

The decision to take him off caused a stir on social media, especially with what happened next.


Almost minutes after Cavani went off, United floated in a perfect cross to the centre of the penalty area for Dan James, who was unmarked. James barely connected with the ball as he tried to head it, and the chance went begging.

It was the sort of opportunity Cavani had been waiting for, and would have buried.

Now, had Cavani been on the pitch, he probably would have been marked a lot more tightly, but this passage of play added to the frustration around United’s result and performance.

The whole game looked disjointed, and then United took off the team’s top goal threat and then started putting in quality crosses. It was so frustrating.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Cavani of course was coming back from injury and Solskjaer will have wanted to save him for the City game, but first priority should have been to win this one.

The game petered out with a 0-0 draw and it was a mercy for everybody when the final whistle blew.

United have now gone 270 minutes without scoring a goal, three straight games. Three clean sheets is a positive, but we want to see goals. A huge improvement is required against City.

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