These would be one of the games where United fans looked at before the season started as an absolute banker. Events since the season commencement means that it was going to be anything but. And we were right. A rare Lindelof strike after a bit of pinball in the Luton box separated the team. It could have been more for us and Luton may have pegged us back. We got it done in the end so we can go into the international break with less noise but it’s still all the wrong noises, even if we did win.
In a period where United were struggling to find any real production from their front line, Garnacho was able to provide some impetus from his appearances from the bench. It was so regular that it became obvious that he should be rewarded with a starting berth. However, he seldom replicated it when he began the game on the pitch rather than on the bench.
The Argentine has started the last 3 games, including today. He was off the left, his favoured position, as Rashford came back in to take up the place on the right. Again, it was another one of those days in which he struggled to make any real impact. What was endearing about him was that he had a lack of fear that was crippling the starters. Now, he falls into that category as well. He has just turned 19 and it is his second season with the first team. Often, for youngsters, it can be that they struggle in their sophomore year. He simply cannot get off the game that made him so effective last year.
There isn’t much complex about his game. He picks up the ball and tries to make his full back’s day hell by continually running at them. It’s admirable but the subtle parts of being a winger are not there. He is quite one dimensional in that he plays at the same speed all the time. Against Kabore, who has as much physical attributes as he does, it needed something a bit different and Garnacho just wasn’t able to give it. He was not able to cause any sort of problem at all with the ball at his feet. T
he one time he was able to get into free space after some good work from Hojlund, you can see what that aforementioned lack of confidence done to him. A confident player would take it first time but Garnacho had to take another just to be sure. And by the time he did, the goalkeeper and defender of Luton were able to make it difficult enough so he lost the ball.
Hojlund, as well, just a year or two older, missed two good chances. One was a header, something that the Dane has struggled with a lot in his budding career. You can see the talent is there but the burden of playing up top for United means no matter what we think of those fleeting moments, 0 goals in 9 PL games is not something that can be tolerated. What’s worse is that he came off with what many suspect was a hamstring injury. United are relying on young players in the attacking part of the pitch, where the real difference is made. Youthful foolishness is expected but it won’t be accepted when the team flounders as it does.
Speaking of that, the one experienced attacker is Rashford yet all that has been said above could be said about him in not just this game but the whole season. He has just turned 26 and the amount of time we have watched him means that it might be lost on people that he is no longer that fresh faced young lad that burst onto the scene. The shot near the end of the game where he shoots straight at the keeper, because he’s more concerned about getting it on target than actually putting in a place the keeper might not get it, shows the oscillation of his ability that comes with his confidence is still very much there.
It’s not just Rashford, Garnacho and Hojlund though. In general, it is hard to comment on the team at the moment because it just so devoid of confidence that you almost feel sorry for the team when you watch them. Going 1-0 up vs Luton should be a relieving thing yet there was more concern about conceding a goal that would be make it 1-1. United simply aren’t able to detach themselves from teams when they go ahead and its combination of a lot of things but the mood is definitely near the top of the list.