Charlton Athletic fought harder than the scoreline will show. However Manchester United gave them mostly nothing in an otherwise no-fuss victory that will help give key players rest before their Sunday league derby against Manchester City.
Two blows from Marcus Rashford in the second half sealed the match but it was Garnacho who will be talked about the most. The young Argentinian caused havoc for Sean Clare at right back repeatedly dancing past him. A common issue for Garnacho has been his final third decision making which came to prominence during the game. He created big chances but decided to belt them over the goal instead of easy passes to team-mates in the box.
Anthony opened up the scorebooks with his traditional top bin curler after cutting in on his left foot from outside the box. It seems to be the only party trick in his bag. Outside of his goal, he looked largely ineffective due to the same routine. Dribble, stop, dribble, cut inside. Can he change this going forward?
Harry Maguire looked unsurprisingly comfortable leading the backline with Lisandro Martinez. Given the opposition you’d expect that and not against a top 6 team. Is Harry happy being a backup CB or will he look to move in the summer?
Anthony Elanga looked invisible for the majority of the game. He offered nothing leading the front line and one must ask: what does he actually offer? People may want a loan move for him but even that may be futile.
Diego Dalot hobbled off during the 1st half giving concerns before the City game but Ten Hag insisted ‘it wasn’t serious’. Aaron Wan Bissaka came on in his place putting in good tackles but not offering much going forward.
Between the start of the second half and his introduction, Charlton pushed forward with effect and were forcing themselves through the not-so-intimidating ‘McFred’ midfield but on came Casemiro and all was well. Casemiro immediately made himself known and put in several monstrous tackles while starting counter attacks. Is there enough nail on Pep’s fingers when this man turns up on Sunday?
The fixture panned out largely as a runaround for few first team players and a litmus test for the bench. Unfortunately, it feels like we don’t have a meaty bench. If one of Bruno, Casemiro, Eriksen, Rashford, Martinez and Varane get injured, do we have a competent replacement? Yikes.
Ten Hag has sustained huge momentum going into the derby with slick rotation and key players largely staying fit. A bigger fish awaits and if we manage to catch this one – we’re cooking!
Article by: Kirirajan Sathananthan