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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Man Utd’s £150k-p/w Dud Had A Shocker vs Chelsea

Manchester United secured their place in next season’s Champions League with a game to spare, having seen off struggling rivals Chelsea with a brutal 4-1 victory at Old Trafford on Thursday evening.

While it was a far-from-vintage performance from the Red Devils, manager Erik ten Hag will be breathing a sigh of relief to have seen his side clinch their place in the top four, with United having no doubt come a long way since the early season defeats to the likes of Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford.


The Red Devils haven’t lost on home soil in the league since that opening-day defeat to the Seagulls and that unbeaten streak hardly looked like coming to an end against Frank Lampard’s mid-table side with Casemiro heading home early on, before Anthony Martial tapped in just before the break to give the hosts real breathing room.

That lead was then extended after the interval as Bruno Fernandes won – and subsequently converted – a penalty for his side, before first-half substitute Marcus Rashford bagged his 30th goal of the season in all competitions to add further gloss to the scoreline, prior to Joao Felix’s solo consolation.

On a night of notable positives for Ten Hag, one performance, in particular, may have been of concern to the former Ajax man, however, with experienced playmaker Christian Eriksen having looked somewhat off the pace in the centre of the park.

How did Eriksen perform against Chelsea?

With an FA Cup final showdown with Manchester City on the horizon, the 31-year-old is hardly nailing down a starting berth for himself for the mouthwatering meeting with Pep Guardiola’s side, having again put in a mixed display last night.

Fresh from having not looked ‘convincing defensively‘ during the weekend win over AFC Bournemouth – as per 90min’s Tom Gott – the former Tottenham Hotspur man was again “defensively suspicious“, in the words of journalist Michael Akomeah, after winning just one of his five total duels.


As journalist Scott Saunders also noted, the £150k-per-week dud is “bypassed too easily in a deep role“, with writer Casey Evans going as far as to suggest that the Dane’s “legs are just fully gone“.

While Eriksen did play his part in proceedings after teeing up midfield colleague Casemiro for the game’s opening goal, the 5 foot 11 maestro was at times rather errant in possession, having lost the ball on seven occasions from his 30 touches, while making only 18 passes in total.

That limited number of touches – which was actually fewer than teammate David De Gea in the sticks (35) – also laid bare the lack of creative impact from the 120-cap ace on the night, with it having been no real surprise that the tiring asset was withdrawn on the 70-minute mark.

Having racked up a lowly match rating of just 6.6, as per Sofascore – the worst of any starting United player, aside from the stricken Antony – Eriksen was clearly something of a villain for his manager, with Ten Hag likely to be contemplating whether to unleash the one-time Brentford man again this season, with both Fulham and City to come…

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