81% duels lost: £47m Man Utd dud shouldn’t wear the shirt again after FA Cup disaster

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Erik ten Hag will undoubtedly be dissatisfied with his team’s performance following Manchester United’s heartbreaking loss to Manchester City in the FA Cup Final this afternoon at Wembley Stadium.

The Red Devils looked poised to complete the domestic hat trick after winning the League Cup earlier this year, but it wasn’t meant to be on the day as the indisputable might of their neighbourhood rivals emerged only seconds into the game in London.

With only 40% possession, fewer shots on goal (3 v 5), fewer accurate passes made (267 v 450), fewer duels won (40 v 48), and fewer tackles made (11 v 19), United struggled to control any area of the pitch during the historic match. This demonstrated that Ten Hag’s team was outplayed in both attacking and defensive play.

Ilkay Gundogan’s amazing volley gave the Sky Blues the lead and set a record for the fastest FA Cup goal in competition history in the first half. No one could have expected that Man City would be breaking records barely 12 seconds into the Wembley match.

Following the German goal, the spotlight was stolen by video assistant referees (VAR) and officials’ decisions. Jack Grealish was given a penalty for a contentious handball in the box, giving the Red Devils the chance to tie the score in the 33rd minute.

In the second half, Gundogan once more punished the Red Devils early on with a goal to retake the lead in the 51st minute that ultimately proved to be the game-winner, bringing the club its seventh FA Cup.

This afternoon’s game will serve as a reminder that the rebuild is still very much in progress at the club, with the need to offload some of the players clear, even though Ten Hag will be proud of the accomplishments that his team has delivered with Champions League football and a trophy secured this season.

Against Manchester City, how did Fred fare?
The Brazilian midfielder, who cost £47 million when he was acquired in 2018, has struggled to make an impact at Old Trafford and, if rumours are to be believed, might be one of the players shown the exit doors this summer.

Declan Rice, Manuel Ugarte, and Mateo Kovacic have all been mentioned as possible targets for the Dutch manager this summer, and the midfielder did himself no favours by making no move to stake his claim to remain in his appearance at Wembley this afternoon.

The 30-year-old flop lost 81% of his duels (3/16) during the course of his 90-minute performance, mishandled 100% of his crosses, lost possession of the ball ten times, and was dribbled past twice, while also failing in 100% of his dribble efforts.

While Fred cannot be held solely accountable for the lacklustre performance at Wembley, it is painfully clear that Man Utd need needs a player with more vigour and someone who can handle the ball better moving forward in the crucial position.

In light of this, Ten Hag must carefully evaluate his starting lineup and make necessary improvements in order to prevent a stagnation in their chase of trophies and supremacy the next season. Fred should be one of the players who never dons the jersey again.

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    John Wood

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