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Manchester United added another to their tally of last-minute Premier League winners this week, beating Wolves thanks to a goal from Marcus Rashford in the 93rd minute.
It was a frustrating night for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team, as the visitors settled behind the ball and closed spaces looking to counterattack. It was reminiscent of previous clashes between the two, with only one goal scored in the previous three games.
Manchester United’s attacking players were ruled out by the deep defensive line, the lack of room to run canceling the pace of players like Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood. He put more emphasis on creating wings, but United struggled.
Alex Telles delivered a handful of crosses to Edinson Cavani and company in the first half, or … well, at least, he ‘delivered’ a handful of ‘centers’ close Cavani and company. He was substituted at halftime, replaced by Luke Shaw, who came in and interacted well with the attacking players, but also struggled to create something remarkable.
On the other side of the field, Aaron Wan-Bissaka often encountered the freedom of the right wing, but once again failed to produce things in the future.
This is not the first time Wan-Bissaka’s contribution has been questioned since he joined the club for £ 50 million 18 months ago. He has lived up to his reputation on defense and is an important part of why the club’s defensive record improved so much last season. But in the future, there is a big hole in his game.
It just doesn’t look good running towards an opponent. It often seems like he’s going crazy and has become a social media joke for the aesthetic he provides when trying to beat an opponent in a one-on-one situation.
With his obvious flaws in attack, teams often just let him have the ball in advanced areas and instead focus on making sure he can’t get the ball to one of the more talented players on the side.
United is now looking to address that problem, with an apparent interest in Norwich side Max Aarons for the January transfer window.
The England Under-21 international was a key figure in the Norwich side that was relegated from the Premier League last season, but he was impressive up front and has been good this season too.
With Diogo Dalot already on loan to AC Milan, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had Brandon Williams as a substitute right-back for the season so far. Despite that, Solskjaer opted to use Victor Lindelof and Axel Tuanzebe on the right back instead of in recent games, with Williams not at 100%.
Now that Williams is likely to leave the club on loan in January, with Southampton and Newcastle among the allegedly interested clubs, United need to not only fill but also compete for that position.
Telles’ arrival in the summer has seen a huge uptick in Shaw’s form as a left back, knowing that his position is at stake should he suffer a performance problem as he has previously. The hope is that a right-back signing can do the same for Wan-Bissaka.
Aarons is a very attacking winger who is competent defensively, while Wan-Bissaka is the opposite. While the former Crystal Palace man would still be the first choice ahead of Aarons, the added threat in some games should see him have to level up to maintain that certainty.
For whatever reason, Solskjaer is obviously not a fan of Dalot, who could have filled the sense of attack quite comfortably. But with their future clearly drawn away from Old Trafford, United appears to be making the decision to move on once again with a young talent that can progress and develop.
Manchester United’s needs are clear. They need more creativity on the wing and they need to find consistency in the performances. A start is improving your weakest positions and all the best teams in world football have fantastic attacking backs.
It is time for Manchester United to step into that arena as well and strengthen themselves as a winger to add an extra dimension to their team.