For the first time this season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s stock has risen as manager of Manchester United. The club is enjoying some good moments under the Norwegian following a poor start to the season.
Manchester United were impressive in the last two games they played. The Red Devils came from a goal down to defeat Newcastle United 4-1 in the Premier League last week and followed it up with another impressive 2-1 victory at Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League.
Manchester United scored five times and conceded twice (both goals conceded were own goals) over the course of the two games.
The fact that no opposition player has managed to score against the Red Devils is a testament to the renewed solidarity in the Manchester United squad in recent weeks.
The Manchester United defenders received effusive praise for their performances in both games, but the midfield pairing of Scott McTominay and Fred Rodrigues deserves a mention.
After the 6-1 humiliation at the hands of Tottenham, Solskjaer had to make some tough decisions. The first was to drop his favoured midfield pairing of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic.
Fred and McTominay have been running the show for the team after being given an opportunity by the United manager and the pair has rightly won many hearts with their assuredness and tidiness in the middle of the park.
Last week, the duo were unplayable against Newcastle and kept Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in check during the game against PSG in the Champions League.
Pogba may be a bigger and better player than both Fred and McTominay, but his lack of defensive work on the pitch is often costly for the team. Matic is also very slow and usually gets exposed and overrun by teams with pacy attackers.
Based on their performances against Newcastle and PSG, Fred and McTominay deserve to start against Chelsea on Saturday. They are more compact and their solidity in midfield allows the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford to make use of the spaces in front of them without worrying about defending.
The pair also protect Manchester United’s backline better. Fred and McTominay are currently United’s most in-form central midfielders and they could just be the future of the club’s midfield.Published 24 Oct 2020, 17:53 IST