Man United 1-1 Swansea: Lessons learned as Reds drop points at Old Trafford again

Man United 1-1 Swansea: Lessons learned as Reds drop points at Old Trafford again

The result was compounded by injuries to Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw ahead of a crucial run-in

ryan-fisher
Ryan Fisher

Manchester United were yet again held at home as Swansea City snatched a late but deserved point at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils' defensive injury crisis worsened with both Luke Shaw and Eric Bailly limping out of the 1-1 draw.

José Mourinho's side extended their unbeaten Premier League run to 25 games, a club record for a single season, but another stalemate made it 12 draws since their last defeat.

Paul Pogba: United's most important player

Yet again, without the world's most expensive player, United were unable to create clear-cut chances. The notion that he is a flop can be completely discarded by just watching United play without him. The Frenchman has created over 50 chances in the Premier League this season, yet only has three assists, which highlights how poor the finishing has been at Old Trafford this term. The team relies on him to drive the ball forward, linking defence, midfield and attack. The forward runs of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard are wasted when Pogba is not in the team to play balls in behind the defence.

Mourinho still has a way to go with the youth system

With injuries to Bailly and Shaw, José Mourinho turned to the bench and brought on Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian, fielding the Italian full-back at centre-back and in doing so over-looking Axel Tuanzebe. The youngster has been in tremendous form all year for United's under-23s and has earned his chance in the first team. It was a questionable decision to start Bailly over Tuanzebe considering the workload the Ivorian has had due to the injuries to Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo. If Bailly doesn't make the Europa League tie away at Celta Vigo, Tuanzebe would be the only other centre-back in the squad to partner Daley Blind.  Mourinho has to trust him.

Set-pieces need a lot of work

Daley Blind and Marcus Rashford were on set-piece duty at Old Trafford and were unable to put in a dangerous one all afternoon. Blind was assigned onto corners under Louis van Gaal, yet has never been a consistently good corner taker. With the likes of Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young on the pitch, the decision to snub them for set-pieces was bemusing, as they have both proven during their long careers that they are accomplished deliverers of the ball.

End of the road for Wayne Rooney

Despite calmly converting United's penalty, the performance showed why legendary captain Wayne Rooney is playing his last season for the Red Devils. Despite being the club's leading goalscorer, now with 252, he is a shadow of his former self on the pitch. A poor first touch, inability to effectively distribute the ball and a tendency to slow the play cost United the speedy counter attacks their other attackers can provide. His flashes of brilliance are now far too sparse for him to be a viable option in the squad.

Daley Blind isn't good enough to play at centre-back

The Dutchman is now the only fit senior centre-back in the squad, so his selection is understandable. However, his performances have done little to ease the selection headache Mourinho is facing. His footballing brain has far exceeded his physical presence throughout his career, but both have been letting him down recently. His passing out from the back has been very poor, especially when you remember he made his name in defensive midfield. Defensive positioning has also been an issue, playing attackers onside far too often, and then being unable to deal with them due to his lack of speed and power.

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