Manchester United’s performance on Sunday has rightly drawn criticism from fans. As a team, United offered little to the game and were trounced by an up for it City but one player in particular has bore the brunt of the frustrations – Ashley Young.
Individually, Young had a bad game. He only made 15 passes in an hour of football and didn’t add anything to United either in the attack or in defence. It was only when Cleverley came on for him and Moyes switched the formation that United actually started to play football.
Last year, City away was one of Young’s best performances and given that David Moyes set up tactically to hit on the counter attack, something Young did to great effect in 2012, it wasn’t a surprise to see him start.
But was it solely the fault of left-winger Young that United lost 4-1? No.
The defence and midfield, as a collective, didn’t play up to their usual standards. Eight out of the starting XI that played last year were on the pitch yet they played awful. United lacked composure all over the pitch and struggled to even string a set of passing together until Cleverley’s cameo. Moyes also got his tactics wrong.
Young may have had a bad performance but the loss falls at the feet of every player on the pitch, not an individual.
“Ashley Young is on a par with Lionel Messi” Martin O’Neill, 2008
Frustrations with Young boiled over this week but they have been bubbling for some time. Since moving from Aston Villa, he hasn’t lived up to the expectation that a £17 million price tag brings (I think Martin O’Neill might have been a bit wide of the mark back in 2008).
So far this year, he has done nothing to suggest that he is going to turn his form around and Young is quickly turning into the new Darron Gibson. Ferdinand warned him when he joined Twitter that he would have to be thick skinned and so it has proved.
In the next few games, Moyes should be looking at leaving Young on the bench. United need some exciting wingers like Nani, Zaha and Januzaj to bring something different to the team. Young’s one dimensional game hasn’t worked for us in the league thus far.
Young deserves his criticism but so do others. There should be no scapegoat from Sunday that the rest of the players are able to hide behind. It was a team performance and the consequences should reflect that.