Ahead of the start of Man United’s season, much speculation revolved around the future of the Scott McTominay-Fred pivot.
In particular, the arrival of Jadon Sancho and the need to fill a midfield with both Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes while also accommodating the security of Nemanja Matic led to many to spell the end of the highly successful duo’s assured spot in the starting lineup.
However, at the end of the opening day fixture that saw the Red Devils dominate Leeds United 5-1 at Old Trafford, a strong argument was made as to why Ole Gunnar Solskjær ought to stick to the prowess of the duo.
In the game, Fred and McTominay were at their erstwhile best, aiding the smooth flow of the ball from defence to attack as well as occasionally flooding the box to overwhelm the opposition’s defense.
As such, it is Fred’s goal in the midst of Bruno Fernandes’ hattrick and Mason Greenwood’s strong attempt that stands out. The Brazilian did what McTominay too had done the last time United schooled their rivals in a 6-2 win back in December of last year.
Both these instances illustrate how the side can continue to rely on these two players to build on their success. In fact, Solskjær may be tempted to tinker with this formula only in Europe or in the midst of games where tactical overhauls become paramount.
At the same time, it remains to be seen who is to be dropped in a completely fit squad of players. Marcus Rashford’s eventual return from recovery could certainly spell the start of this. There are certainly multiple ways with which to accommodate new arrivals Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane but nearly all of them need some form of breaking down of this immensely successful pair.