Manchester United suffered their second successive defeat at the Amex on Sunday afternoon as goals from Glenn Murray, Shane Duffy and Pascal Gross were enough to ensure the Seagulls of 3 points on their home bow.
The sooner that Manchester United put their weekend result behind them the better. Indeed, the Red Devils were outclassed by a side tipped for a relegation scrap this season on a weekend when their local-rivals further legitimised their title credentials with a 6-1 victory over Huddersfield Town.
It’s a concerning time to be a United fan whilst Jose Mourinho continues to cut a dejected, disinterested and rather defeated figure in the media. Mourinho is a manager who has thrived off the media attention and used mind-games to devastating effect throughout his career so far, yet it’s beginning to appear like a knockout blow has been delivered which he simply cannot recover from.
Mourinho’s influence on United’s performance is naturally a key point for discussion within the British media, but ultimately the players are the ones who hold the key to the club’s destiny, and plenty of responsibility rests upon their shoulders. One player who was absent from United’s match day squad due to a “small problem” was Alexis Sanchez – a player whom Gary Neville believes should play an instrumental role this season.
Prior to Man United’s clash with Brighton, Sky Sports tweeted a short clip from Neville in which he named the two players he believes have plenty more to offer this season: Gabriel Jesus and Alexis Sanchez (valued at £63 million by Transfermarkt).
@GNev2 believes these two players should be bagging 20+ goals a season.
— Super 6 (@Super6) August 19, 2018
Within the clip Neville explicitly states that Sanchez should be scoring a “minimum of 20 goals this season” now that he has been afforded adequate time to settle into his new environment at Old Trafford and, on the evidence of Sanchez’s history in the Premier League, Neville certainly has a point.
During the 2016/17 campaign, the Chile international notched a mightily impressive 24 goals and provided 11 assists from 38 fixtures for Arsenal in what represents the only season in which he surpassed the 20 goal mark in the top-flight. To expect Sanchez to emulate that achievement is certainly a tall order, but there’s no doubt he has both the technical quality and the supreme standard of players around him to make that happen.
It doesn’t take a football expert to recognise that Sanchez has failed to discover his best form since arriving in Manchester but, as Neville has alluded to, he has had ample time to settle in now so it’s time for him to justify the club’s decision to sign him on a mega-money contract by rediscovering the world class form he showcased in his final full season with the Gunners.
Whilst the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial continue to find their mojo in the final-third, it’s vital that someone reduces the goal-scoring responsibility on Romelu Lukaku’s shoulders and fires United away from the negative hysteria which is beginning to strangle the club.
Sanchez has the experience and the match-winning quality to do just that, and Neville is absolutely spot on to publicly call for a big season from the 29-year-old attacker.
Manchester United fans – thoughts? Let us know below!