Huddersfield 1-1 Manchester United
Goals: Isaac Mbenza (£5.9m) | Scott McTominay (£4.2m)
Assists: Jonas Lössl (£4.4m)
Bonus: Lössl x3, McTominay x2, Ashley Young x1 (£5.7m)
On Sunday afternoon, Manchester United players went some way to arguing the case that
Furthermore, Sunday afternoon’s display left those who had signed Manchester United assets for the final two Gameweeks of the season cursing their luck. Paul Pogba (£8.5m) and Luke Shaw (£5.1m) were among the top five most-signed for Gameweek 37 but combined for just four points.
Of the two, the French midfielder came closest to living up to his billing with his four shots on goal. Only Marcus Rashford (£7.3m) had more than that at Huddersfield, and Pogba was unfortunate not to score when his second-half header hit the bar. With that said, he was hardly any better than his recent mediocre form and has now blanked in eight of his last nine Premier League matches.
Likewise, Rashford remains in a poor run of form and was unable to end that even against Huddersfield. The forward is now without a goal since March and never really looked like scoring in West Yorkshire. There was plenty of characteristic running from Rashford but that was as much as he was able to bring to the team, even after overcoming a yellow flag to start the match in a central striker’s role.
Deployed alongside Rashford in the front pairing of a 4-3-1-2 formation was Alexis Sánchez (£10.0m) who got his first start in just over two months. He had been considered as an extreme differential for the last two Gameweeks of the season with Romelu Lukaku (£10.8m) out injured but it was more of the same for the Chilean international. Any suggestions that facing Huddersfield would bring him back to his best now look naive in hindsight as Sánchez still looks completely burned out and in dire need of a new beginning, probably outside of the Premier League. He was also taken off with an ankle knock early-on in the second half.
“[It was an] ankle injury, if he twisted his ankle or if it was stood upon I don’t know.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ultimately, Shaw’s undoing as a Fantasy asset came in the second half when Huddersfield were able to score completely against the run of play. Manchester United switched off in the breakdown of one of their own corners, allowing Jonas Lössl (£4.4m) to pick out Isaac Mbenza (£5.9m) with his clearance. Shaw was the one at fault for the winger’s run through on goal as he missed the opportunity to clear the ball.
“We’ve done that a few times this year. There are so many things we will improve on and can improve on. You should never concede goals from your own corners, we did it against Everton, we did it against Wolves and we’ve done it again today. We need to make sure we don’t make those individual errors.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
“We became sloppy and we didn’t perform to our level, that’s true, and we gave them chances, and the goal we gave them, more or less, we’ve conceded too many times now when we’ve had a corner kick ourselves and that is something we have to improve on that next year.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Despite creating more big chances than any other defender in the four matches prior to Gameweek 37, Shaw was unable to make up for his defensive shortcomings with any attacking returns. The left-back did not do enough to contribute to Manchester United’s attacks and offered little in the way of an end product. That was of huge disappointment especially considering Huddersfield’s weakness down his flank in the previous six Gameweeks, no side allowing more chances there than the Terriers.
A less than convincing return for Phil Jones (£5.1m) inspired even less confidence in Manchester United’s clean sheet potential for the visit of Cardiff. He almost gifted Huddersfield an equaliser in the first half with a poor pass out from the back and even managed to miss a chance to make it 2-1 late on too.
The disappointment of those key assets does not bode well for Gameweek 38, even if it is Cardiff coming to Old Trafford. Given Huddersfield’s form since their relegation from the Premier League was confirmed, many had expected a better performance from Manchester United. Any confidence that they will up their game against the Bluebirds on Sunday has taken a serious knock from their Gameweek 37 exploits.
Furthermore, the fact that the Red Devils can now no longer qualify for Champions League football, there will be nothing to play for next weekend. So it is now possible that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes the opportunity of the final match of the season to rotate some of the big names out and give some youngsters a chance – also bad news for Fantasy managers.
“Well it’s not what we want, let’s see what happens next week, let’s see what happens with Arsenal and the final with City. But that’s the reality, the kids will get chances, definitely, to play games, that’s for sure.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Perhaps the only silver lining for Manchester United and Fantasy managers was the performance of budget midfield Scott McTominay (£4.2m). He was perhaps the only one of Solskjaer’s outfield players who played well and also added his second goal in the last three Gameweeks. Not surprisingly, no Manchester United player has more goals or shots in the box than him in that time.
Huddersfield Town XI (4-3-3): Lössl; Löwe, Kongolo, Schindler, Durm (T Smith 45′); Hogg, J Bacuna, Mooy; Pritchard, Grant, Mbenza (Diakhaby 90+1′).
Manchester United XI (4-3-1-2): De Gea; Shaw, Jones, Lindelöf (Dalot 83′), Young; Pogba, Matić (Herrera 53′), McTominay; Mata; A Sánchez (Chong 54′), Rashford.