Wednesday 7 December 2016

'Fellaini is barely a League One player' - Five things we learned from United's FA Cup win

Alistair Tweedale

Published 09/01/2016 | 20:11

Marouane Fellaini of Manchester United rues a missed chance during the Emirates FA Cup third round match between Manchester United and Sheffield United played at Old Trafford
Marouane Fellaini of Manchester United rues a missed chance during the Emirates FA Cup third round match between Manchester United and Sheffield United played at Old Trafford

Perhaps Bastian Schweinsteiger should be dropped, Memphis Depay deserves more opportunities and more from the FA Cup tie at Old Trafford

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Fellaini is barely a League One player at present

I know he’s an easy target but it truly is one of life’s great mysteries why Manchester United paid such a vast sum of money for the mop-haired Belgian and also why he is still given so much game time.

He can control a ball on his chest life few others, but if that’s the reason he cost £27.5 million then we should all stop wasting our time with life’s other trivialities and commit to mastering the chest trap.

United’s problem these days is the tempo and incisiveness with which they attack. Given that Fellaini adds so little in this sense wouldn’t it be wise to try something, say, completely different? He barely found his level against League One opposition here.

It is a wonder why United’s fans still bother

It might be a bit drastic to entirely give up on your team when plenty of others have endured far worse times than these, but credit is due nonetheless to the Old Trafford crowd for maintaining support despite their team’s persistently painstakingly dull performances. There were some empty seats but plenty of fans still turned up on a cold, wet day for a third round tie against lower league opposition.

They were treated to a tenth successive first half in which their team failed to score. 10 in a row! Manchester United! Only a late penalty prevented another match ending goalless.

Tickets aren’t cheap and few would blame the fans for choosing not to stick with it for much longer.

Memphis has little hope if he doesn’t start in cups

Louis van Gaal made only a few changes from a team that won last time out but no sane onlooker would suggest United were convincing in victory over Swansea last week.

Memphis Depay didn’t make it off the bench for that game and the cup surely provides the perfect opportunity for squad players like him to gain confidence and much-needed match sharpness. Van Gaal decided that wasn’t the case and Depay had to settle for half an hour off the bench. He was by far their brightest player when he did appear and won the crucial late penalty.

Perhaps Schweinsteiger should be dropped

The root of United's woes is a cumbersome central midfield that play too many sideways passes. Schweinsteiger is arguably the most culpable player in that sense and although they might miss him when he is gone, could it be worth Van Gaal testing the water to see whether his team improve with a more athletic and dynamic midfield?

Borthwick-Jasckon has a bright future

Whether it was the fact that his team-mates were so below par, Sheffield United barely attacked or simply because he fits in at this level, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson didn’t look at all out of place as he put in a performance indicative of the potential he possesses.

Telegraph.co.uk

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