At half-time of their win over Southampton, Edinson Cavani & Dean Henderson came on for Manchester United. Will that be a ‘moment’ for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer…?
Many of us weren’t particularly convinced about the idea of Manchester United signing Edinson Cavani.
A 33-year-old who’d been a free agent for some time, having played for the previous seven seasons in the often rather gentle surrounds of Ligue Un…well, it didn’t exactly scream stellar signing.
However, with his two goals and assist to help United come back from 2-0 down against Southampton at the weekend, the Uruguayan showed us that he has still very much got it.
And what’s more his arrival, combined with another change in the same game, might eventually be seen as a turning point in United’s season.
“We’re seeing an elite player,” said Dom Fifield on The Totally Football Show. “His pedigree is very evident. It may have taken him a bit of time to bring himself to match speed, but I wonder if Sunday was the day Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decides Cavani has to be in his first-choice XI.
“He gives them a focal point, a real presence. And half-time might be a real moment for Manchester United, because Dean Henderson came on for the injured David de Gea. We seem to have recurring themes at United in recent times, and one of them are these constant questions over whether De Gea is still the goalkeeper he once was.
“Henderson is a hugely talented and confident young man who now has an opportunity to stake his own claim for the No.1 slot and maybe make that whole argument redundant.”
Daniel Storey explained how Cavani offers something different for United:
“He desperately wants to get both in the penalty area and between the goalposts. Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood do have touches in the area, but if you look at where they come, most of them tend to be on the edge of the box.
“Whereas Cavani wants to be a first-touch finisher. He wants crosses, he wants balls into feet. He’s not just a poacher, he can do excellent work outside the area, and while I think we talk about mentality too much, there seems to be a desire to get close to goal and get shots off.
“It might seem harsh on Anthony Martial, but it does seem very different to how United play with him.”
But he also laid out why he remains unconvinced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“I’m not going to scale back what I think about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Manchester United have got good players: they will win matches.
“I don’t think he’s the best man for them, but one thing he has done repeatedly is show he hasn’t lost the dressing room. The players do still play for him and fight – that might be because of competition for places as much as anything, but there’s an inbuilt resilience there that you have to give the manager credit for instilling.”
Nevertheless, if United win their Champions League fixture this week, as Dom Fifield pointed out, it may help convince those still not sold on Solskjaer that he could be the right man.
“It would really put out a huge statement if they could complete a double in this group stage over PSG. I still think there’s an issue with consistency, but they can go into that tie confident after redressing the balance with that win over Istanbul Basaksahir.”
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