clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Staff Takeaways: Manchester United 1-1 Middlesbrough (7-8 on penalties)

Our writers share their thoughts on United’s FA Cup exit

Manchester United v Middlesbrough: The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Colin- Positive: Chance creation, Negative: United still need a striker

If I’d told you in the summer that United would sign a striker who would be paid £500k/week, but only score 8 goals in the first 18 PL matches (2 of them penalties) as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is sacked, you’d imagine (correctly) that signing hadn’t quite worked out. The name Cristiano Ronaldo alone changes everything for a lot of fans, but shouldn’t change the perception of the negative effect he’s had. Even considering how good he was at scoring goals despite doing nothing else well, Ronaldo is now in very bad form, and the game last night showed every bit of it. Several misses, including a penalty, mean that a plethora of scoring opportunities went to waste. Rashford and Bruno Fernandes each had a bad miss as well, but they at least made contributions from other areas of the pitch.

The return of Pogba and Sancho clearly helped in terms of chance creation, but it’s unlikely McTominay can anchor the midfield like that in every game. He struggled to do so as the game went along, hence the addition of Fred. If it takes sacrificing one of the attackers to keep both of them on the field, Ronaldo should be considered for benching regardless of his celebrity and wages. He’s been poor for some time, and what’s the point if he’s not even scoring anymore?


Paul Pogba returned to the team and while not being close to being 100% fit and still suspect defensively, he also quickly reminded us about what kind of quality has been lacking from United’s midfield. United are simply a better team when he’s on the pitch, and their creativity was buzzing early.

Now if only they had a striker who could finish, or let their 94% penalty taker take penalties...