Suwaid- Is there much to play for in the league?
This should feel like a massive win. Cristiano Ronaldo put in his best performance in many a season with a hat-trick. We beat a top-4 rival. The table has us in 4th place but it doesn’t feel like it’ll be enough, does it?
Arsenal are 2 points behind but have 4 games in hand. We took some points from Spurs — who were possibly the better team today — but are only 5 points behind with two games in hand.
United have 9 games left in the league this season and they’ll almost certainly drop points going forward with games against Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal still to come. You then look at younger players from the academy that could force themselves into the 11 and there aren’t many that come to mind bar Hannibal Mejbri but United can’t afford to risk him cause they have to play for the top-4 spots till it’s mathematically impossible.
Antony Elanga forced himself into the 11 a while back. His development is something to look forward to. He’s the future of the club and the 9 games could be crucial in deciding if there are others with one at the club. Marcus Rashford didn’t make a great case for himself today and might be put up for sale based on recent reports. Paul Pogba didn’t have the best outing either and will run out his contract in a few months.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s unlikely to stay without Champions League football but is there a club that could afford him? Despite the heroics today, he isn’t likely to lead the line next season. Will he be okay with playing second fiddle? We know the answer to that. Is Harry Maguire going to lead United next season? He can’t seem to catch a break.
Jadon Sancho’s showing why United spent big on him last summer. Diogo Dalot made a case for starting more games today but is he good enough going forward. What of Aaron Wan-Bissaka?
United might not have much to play for in the league but there are a few players playing for their United career.
Colin- That’s what you expect for £500k/week
There were quite a few reasons many of us were skeptical of Cristiano Ronaldo and the true value of his return. And now with United led by an interim manager and mending a divided squad, facing an uphill battle for top 4, that skepticism is vindicated. However, Ronaldo’s return to the lineup showed us all exactly what the problematic forward is still capable of on the football pitch. He put on a remarkable show, scoring a hat-trick in a 3-2 win, and scored a truly spectacular goal on his first strike. It was the kind of performance that makes you wonder where that’s been all this time, but gives at least some hope going forward that he can switch on and start scoring goals again.
It doesn’t make up for his long dry spell from December until early March, and it doesn’t reverse the major teambuilding setback of his arrival as opposed to a midfielder. At the very least though it gives United some momentum going into their Round of 16 tie on Tuesday, and stops the points bleeding in the Premier League. A lot needs to happen that is out of their control if they’re to catch Arsenal, but have to take things as they come at this point, and that was a positive.