The beginning of the end for Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira?

by Red Billy

The omission from yesterday’s matchday squad of Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira could signal the beginning of the end for the troubled pair.

Lingard has played 33 times for the Red Devils this term, scoring just two goals against Astana in the Europa League and Tranmere in the Carabao Cup and registering one assist, also in the Carabao Cup against Rochdale.

The 27-year-old has not managed a Premier League goal since December 2018 when he scored a brace in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first game in charge of the Reds, a 5-1 victory against Cardiff City.

Pereira has not fared much better. The Brazilian has only scored once in 35 outings this season and has contributed just four assists.

But it was the pair’s performances against Club Brugge in the Europa League that may have been the final straw for Solskjaer, who for the first time this season left both players out of the 18-man squad for yesterday’s game.

‘We’ve picked a squad of 18 that we felt it was the right 18 here’ the boss told MUTV. ‘We’ve got cover on the bench for wide-men, forwards, midfielders and defenders so that was a decision I made.’

The implication Solskjaer is clearly making is that with more players now available to him, including new signing Bruno Fernandes, loan striker Odion Ighalo and the returning Scott McTominay, Lingard and Pereira have become somewhat surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.

The fact that wantaway youngster Tahith Chong was selected ahead of the two regulars yesterday also indicates that Solskjaer has run out of patience. Chong himself has not excelled when given opportunities this season, so it is hardly as if he was pounding the door down demanding another chance.

The manager and the fans have every right to be frustrated with both Lingard and Pereira, although there is perhaps more room for sympathy for the latter. The 24-year-old has been played in various positions this season – some of them unfamiliar – which has not helped him to settle when struggling for form. 27-year-old Lingard, on the other hand, has generally been given his preferred advanced midfield role, floating just behind the striker, and has simply not performed since that purple patch back in 2018.

With Paul Pogba approaching fitness and young stars James Garner and Angel Gomes also putting in impressive performances for the Under-23s, it is hard to see a clear way back for two players who themselves once shone at youth level and on whose own shoulders once rested so much hope from fans and club alike.

With all the recent publicity about whether some of the current squad is good enough to play for Man United, why not remind yourself of some of the worst flops to ever appear at the Theatre of Dreams by doing our quiz below?

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