Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Premier League: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wrestles with Manchester United defensive challenge

In the Manchester United draw against Burnley the lion-like resiliency was missing from the Red devils Midfield.

Andreas Pereira, 23 was handed a start about a day after Ole Solskjaer praised the midfielder for how good he can be. But the performance turned out to be a very sub-par one from the 23-year-old. He lost the ball about 14 times and got physically overpowered by a Clarets side that very expectedly relied on brute force a lot of times. Pereira struggled to get control of the game and unlike how the pre-season had gone, games seemed to pass the former PSV man by.

United seemed to miss Ander Herrera every time Pereira was caught napping. The Spaniard’s no-nonsense and dogged approach to cripple the opposition and the lion-like resiliency seemed to be missing from the Red Devils’ midfield. While Solskjaer has to take a share of blame for rotating the side too much from the win over Arsenal in the FA Cup, but it again props up question marks about Pereira’s long term future at the club.

While Pereira won’t be isolated or guillotined straight away, a lot of times this season he has given the impression that he isn’t good enough for United. Even against Reading in the FA Cup, Pereira couldn’t get a foothold in the game when Fred did relatively better against the Royals. The disaster against Brighton away from home broke his confidence and he hasn’t recovered from that at all.

Following are the tweets regarding Pereira performance.

On the same side of the argument lies Nicolo Barella: the man who has already garnered interest from Chelsea and Inter Milan, with a host of other Italian sides also interested in the 21-year-old’s possible signature.

What Barella brings to the table, isn’t just what Pereira is expected to bring when he is playing well. But the Italian has in himself a lot of what Herrera has always been. While Barella is more Herrera than Pereira, but he is technically better than the Spaniard and more of a ground-covering player and a more mobile player than the Brazilian-Belgian.

Barella has won as many as 3.2 tackles per game this season- the fourth best in the Serie A and behind only Allan, Lucas Leiva and Valon Behrami. And all these three players are around the 30 age mark. Barella is about 9 or 10 years younger to them.

He is more box to box than Nainggolan was before he was used as an attacking midfielder by Eusebio di Francesco. He is more like a very younger version of what Herrera himself was at Athletic Bilbao under Marcelo Bielsa and how he was under Louis van Gaal a lot of times. He’s a proper fighter.

Author’s Take:

If Andreas Pereira keeps of disappointing with all the chances he gets. Barella is the man United need more than anyone else in the world. He is the one who sparks the attack and defuses dangers in midfield. Being a young player, he will love to play under Solskjaer and if used in the way Herrera is these days, he’d love to play for Manchester United.

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