It’s hard to know where to start with Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat to Sevilla on Wednesday night.
The trade-off for a drab, scoreless encounter in the first leg was home advantage in the second, but the Red Devils failed to make it count and for vast periods of the ninety minutes seeming played in fear of a side that are currently fifth in La Liga with a negative goal difference and have a net spend of just £6million this season.
But during the rare few occasions in which United did cause an unspectacular Sevilla team some defensive problems, youngster Marcus Rashford – following up from a match-winning brace against Liverpool at the weekend – was a recurring theme.
He created three chances, including the assist to Romelu Lukaku from a corner for United’s only goal, completed the joint-most dribbles and took the most attempts at goal of any Red Devils player – albeit none actually testing Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico.
It was by no means a dazzling performance from the England international, especially compared to his explosive return to the starting XI against Liverpool, and he was tellingly dispossessed the most times of any United player as well – particularly struggling to replace his impact on Saturday when attacking from the right flank, reducing his capacity to cut inside and shoot.
But compare Rashford’s recent contributions to Alexis Sanchez’s, for example. In ten appearances for United thus far, the January signing has found just one goal and two assists; Rashford has arguably bettered that with two strikes and a setup in just two outings, and remains United’s most positive presence in attack right now – routinely jinking past defenders to take efforts at goal.
That only adds to Jose Mourinho’s biggest headache right now – how to effectively fit Sanchez into United’s starting XI and whether he should actually be in it at all based on current form.
The Portuguese was already struggling to put all the jigsaw pieces together with Sanchez, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku available in the attacking berths but Rashford’s recent form has added another key element to the equation – and there will be huge outside pressure for the exciting 20-year-old to receive a run of games ahead of the World Cup in Russia.
So, United fans, with the FA Cup clash against Brighton on Saturday now of paramount importance as the club’s final route to silverware this season, who would you start in a left attacking role that Sanchez, Martial and Rashford would all like to claim as their own? Let us know by voting below…