Ander Herrera started alongside Daley Blind in midfield for Manchester United last night but had to settle for only 45 minutes of action as he was taken off at half-time by Louis van Gaal for Michael Carrick.
The Spaniard wasn’t doing too much against a fluid and comfortable Arsenal midfield but his substitution left plenty of fans scratching their heads.
Blind was having a poor game by his standards and a straight swap for Carrick seemed the logical choice but instead, the forward thinking Herrera was taken off and, unsurprisingly, United’s football suffered as a consequence.
A high tempo was replaced by a lethargic one which inevitably led to Antonio Valencia‘s mistake that Danny Welbeck pounced on and fans were understandably frustrated with what happened:
Missed Herrera's quick passing game in 2nd half. Should've taken Blind off for Carrick & left Shaw on the pitch.
— Saurabh MUFC (@Saurabh1999) March 9, 2015
Herrera is numerous levels above Carrick and Blind. Anyone who has ever kicked a ball could tell you that. It's SO blatant. Baffling stuff
— Dwight Schrute (@krn_brk) March 9, 2015
For a man who lauds balance, Van Gaal took an axe to the see-saw tonight by taking Herrera off for Carrick.
— The Peoples Person (@PeoplesPerson_) March 9, 2015
Herrera off stopped any kind of tempo…blind/Carrick combo in MF too slow Smalling left side of the CBs made things more twitchy
— Danny (@Dan1el_San) March 9, 2015
If Herrera wasn't injured it was a stupid decision to take him off.We lost balance and tempo. Blind is a poor mans Carrick & u don't need 2
— ManchesterUnited (@TikaTakaUnited) March 9, 2015
No Herrera. No shape. No win.
— Victoria (@RabonaNutmeg) March 9, 2015
What an absolute shambles, some of those guys need to take a long hard look at themselves. Herrera sub made no sense either. Pissed.
— Samar Khan (@Samar7) March 9, 2015
Unless Herrera was hurt changing him for Carrick was a monumental balls up by LVG.
— UnitedCharlie (@jonmikesav8) March 9, 2015
Herrera/Carrick dub currently looking like a hideous error.
— Richard Cann (@RichardCann76) March 9, 2015
Would Herrera staying on have prevented Arsenal from dominating the second half?
There’s every chance his energy in midfield and zip could have stimulated United in attack but we’ll never know. Either way, Herrera’s substitution at half-time most certainly didn’t help United’s cause.