Instead of Garnacho: Ten Hag must finally unleash Man Utd’s ‘complete’ star vs Palace – opinion

Manchester United is getting ready to go to Selhurst Park to play Crystal Palace this evening in their return to Premier League action.

After Newcastle United’s victory on Saturday, the Red Devils go to London to play The Eagles with the goal of rising back to sixth place in the league standings.

If Erik ten Hag’s team wins all three points tonight, they will move back into the top six in the division, where they are presently sitting in seventh place, two points behind sixth place.

United enters this game coming off a poor 1-1 Premier League tie at Old Trafford against relegation-threatened Burnley.

Ten Hag’s team was held to a draw by the Clarets, who fell to Newcastle 4-1 on Saturday. Now, the Red Devils should be hoping to recover with a victory at Palace.

The manager of United may alter the starting lineup from the draw with Burnley in an effort to boost the team’s output and outcome against Oliver Glasner’s team.

In light of this, ten Hag needs to start Mason Mount, an offensive midfielder, right away so that he can partner Bruno Fernandes in the attack.

The player to be dropped for Mason Mount 

To allow the England international to rejoin the team against Palace, the Dutch tactician will have to drop one player from his starting lineup.

To give Mount the opportunity to start on the left of the attacking midfield trio—Fernandes in the middle, Antony on the right—winger Alejandro Garnacho may be benched.

In his last five outings across all competitions, the Argentina international has managed just one assist and zero goals, the latter coming in the 4-2 victory over Sheffield United, who have since been demoted.

Garnacho’s failure to score in the final third could not be attributed to his teammates, either, as he missed four “big chances” in those five games. This indicates that his teammates did create excellent opportunities for him to score goals.

Though the 19-year-old starlet is still in his early stages of his professional career and shouldn’t be expected to be consistently good for the duration of the season, his lack of form should not come as a complete surprise.

23/24 Premier League Alejandro Garnacho
Appearances 32
xG 7.64
Goals 7
xA 2.77
Assists 4
Duel success rate 40%
Stats via Sofascore

As the table illustrates, he has demonstrated quality at times as a goal creator and scorer on the wing and, considering his age, has had a tremendous campaign thus far.

But going forward, his performance indicates that tonight’s match against Palace would be the perfect occasion to sideline him and give Mount a chance to show himself.

What Mason Mount could bring to the team 

Due to a calf injury and an unidentified problem, the former Chelsea player missed 27 competitive games during his debut season with the team.

Between the 2019–20 and 2022–23 seasons, he has already missed more games due to injury this season than he did in his four complete first-team seasons with the Blues (19).

Due to these problems, he has only made 13 appearances and four starts for United in the Premier League; his most recent appearance came in November 2023 against Luton.

Mount hasn’t had enough opportunity to show off his best qualities in a red shirt; his last goal for the team came against Brentford at the end of March.

The 25-year-old wizard earned 20 Premier League starts for Chelsea last season, showcasing his abilities as a creative genius and a progressive passer.

In terms of Expected Assisted Goals per 90 (0.26), Progressive Passes per 90 (5.35), and Progressive Carry per 90 (2.62), he was among the top 16% of midfielders in the division.

Once praised as “complete” by talent scout Jacek Kulig, Mount possesses the ability to be a forward-thinking midfielder who can find his teammates in dangerous positions by picking up the ball in pockets of space on the half-turn and facing the opposition goal.

If he can return to his peak form, the 5 foot 11 virtuoso, who previously had 11 goals and eleven assists in 27 starts during the 2021–2022 Premier League season, might be a thrilling player to watch with Fernandes in the final third.

Bruno Fernandes’ Premier League form this season 

With Fernandes’ creative ability, the England international may be entertaining to watch alongside the Eagles. Fernandes is a Portuguese phenomenon.

This evening, Mount has the carrying and progressive passing ability to regularly find the former Sporting star in dangerous situations at the top of the pitch. This might give the attacking midfielder the opportunity to display his best passing in the closing third of the game.

The Portugal international, who may be able to play against the Eagles despite a wrist injury, has had an incredible season in the Premier League, creating an incredible 20 “big chances” in just 33 games.

Both Mount and the English star might benefit from his creative midfield play, as he has the capacity to create great opportunities for Mount to return to his goalscoring form.

The former Blues star scored three goals in the league the previous season, but he did not miss a single “big chance” while his teammates only generated 2.0 xG worth of chances. This shows that he could return to scoring form if Fernandes continues to provide him good opportunities.

23/24 Premier League Bruno Fernandes
Appearances 33
Goals 10
Assists 7
xA 9.92
Big chances created 20
Key passes per game 3.3
Stats via Sofascore

Fernandes, ranked tenth, has consistently delivered high-quality work as a goal scorer and creator, as the table above illustrates.

Imagine him and Mount together at their best, scoring and setting up goals to terrorize the defense of the opposition, starting with tonight’s matchup against Palace.

 

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