Manchester United secured their place in subsequent season’s Champions League with a sport to spare, having seen off struggling rivals Chelsea with a brutal 4-1 victory at Previous Trafford on Thursday night.
Whereas it was a far-from-vintage efficiency from the Purple Devils, supervisor Erik ten Hag will probably be respiration a sigh of reduction to have seen his facet clinch their place within the prime 4, with United having little question come a great distance for the reason that early season defeats to the likes of Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford.
The Purple Devils have not misplaced on dwelling soil within the league since that opening-day defeat to the Seagulls and that unbeaten streak hardly appeared like coming to an finish in opposition to Frank Lampard’s mid-table facet with Casemiro heading dwelling early on, earlier than Anthony Martial tapped in simply earlier than the break to provide the hosts actual respiration room.
That lead was then prolonged after the interval as Bruno Fernandes received – and subsequently transformed – a penalty for his facet, earlier than first-half substitute Marcus Rashford bagged his thirtieth purpose of the season in all competitions so as to add additional gloss to the scoreline, previous to Joao Felix’s solo comfort.
On an evening of notable positives for Ten Hag, one efficiency, particularly, might have been of concern to the previous Ajax man, nonetheless, with skilled playmaker Christian Eriksen having appeared considerably off the tempo within the centre of the park.
How did Eriksen carry out in opposition to Chelsea?
With an FA Cup closing showdown with Manchester Metropolis on the horizon, the 31-year-old is hardly nailing down a beginning berth for himself for the mouthwatering assembly with Pep Guardiola’s facet, having once more put in a blended show final night time.
Recent from having not appeared ‘convincing defensively‘ in the course of the weekend win over AFC Bournemouth – as per 90min’s Tom Gott – the previous Tottenham Hotspur man was once more “defensively suspicious“, within the phrases of journalist Michael Akomeah, after profitable simply one of his 5 complete duels.
As journalist Scott Saunders additionally famous, the £150k-per-week dud is “bypassed too simply in a deep position“, with author Casey Evans going so far as to counsel that the Dane’s “legs are simply totally gone“.
Whereas Eriksen did play his half in proceedings after teeing up midfield colleague Casemiro for the sport’s opening purpose, the 5 foot 11 maestro was at occasions somewhat errant in possession, having misplaced the ball on seven events from his 30 touches, whereas making solely 18 passes in complete.
That restricted variety of touches – which was really fewer than teammate David De Gea within the sticks (35) – additionally laid naked the dearth of artistic impression from the 120-cap ace on the night time, with it having been no actual shock that the tiring asset was withdrawn on the 70-minute mark.
Having racked up a lowly match ranking of simply 6.6, as per Sofascore – the worst of any beginning United participant, other than the stricken Antony – Eriksen was clearly one thing of a villain for his supervisor, with Ten Hag prone to be considering whether or not to unleash the one-time Brentford man once more this season, with each Fulham and Metropolis to return…