Aston Villa vs Man United
Manchester United faced a trip to Villa Park on Sunday afternoon, for a meeting with Dean Smith’s Aston Villa.
The Red Devils actually had very little to play for on the day, with a Champions League place already all but secured.
However, a loss would have meant United’s cross-town rivals, Manchester City, being crowned Premier League champions for a 3rd time in five years – something all involved with the Reds were no doubt keen to delay for as long as possible.
Man United’s weaknesses exposed
Nevertheless, it was Villa who took the lead on Sunday, through Bertrand Traore.
The visitors lost the ball in midfield after a breakdown between Fred and Scott McTominay.
Victor Lindelof then failed to clear his lines, allowing Traore to smash an effort into the roof of Dean Henderson’s net:
TRAORE WITH A BEAUTY! 😍
How about that for a finish? Bertrand Traore finds the top far corner from a tight angle ⚽️
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 9, 2021
Traore’s goal on Sunday also exposed two of the biggest weaknesses in United’s setup at present.
The first came in midfield, with the Manchester giants still lacking a dominant no.6-style player.
Nemanja Matic, in his prime, filled the position well. But it is fair to say that the Serbian has lost a few steps in recent years, forcing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to often utilise a ‘McFred’ pivot, to make up for his side’s lack of a top quality defensive midfielder.
This also regularly forces Paul Pogba to play out of position, much like he did on Sunday.
But, as showcased by the opening goal at Villa Park, even having both midfielders on the pitch is sometimes not enough.
Elsewhere, Traore’s goal also highlighted the fact that Lindelof simply isn’t good enough to be playing week in, week out for a side who should be challenging for the Premier League, and competing in the Champions League.
A centre-back has been touted as one of the Manchester outfit’s transfer priorities this summer, and Sunday’s game once again showcased the need for fresh legs at the heart of the club’s backline.
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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