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Strugglers: Five Man United players in woeful form right now

Manchester United continue to struggle for form this season with the managerial change at Old Trafford yet to lead to a noticeable upturn in performances.

Ralf Rangnick’s reign so far has not been aided by a number of senior stars out of sorts, with several of the Red Devils’ leading names having failed to find their form during the current campaign.

United were beaten at home by Wolves last week before fortuitously scraping past Aston Villa in the FA Cup on Monday evening and following those sub-standard showings we’ve looked at five players who are struggling right now.

 

Here are five Manchester United players in woeful form.

Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire has endured a nightmare first half of the season at Manchester United, returning following his starring role in England’s run to the final of Euro 2020 to produce a series of calamitous showings.

Maguire’s form has been erratic, including disastrous and cumbersome individual showings during comprehensive defeats to Leicester and Liverpool this season.

His performance in the defeat to the Foxes was particularly painful viewing with the centre-back arguably responsible for all four goals in October’s defeat at the King Power Stadium.

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Maguire’s loss of form has once again seen his world-record price-tag used a stick to beat him with, whilst there have been strong questions – not least from former Red Devils’ captain Roy Keane – regarding his role as club captain.

Having been appointed as captain just months after his arrival at the club, there are now doubts over whether he is a suitable candidate for the role with his latest rallying cry regarding the side’s poor form possessing an all too familiar feel.

United do retain a better win rate (1.94 points-per-game) with Maguire than without him (1.85) since the start of last season, but he is enduring a woeful period of form this season and looks a shadow of his former self at present.

Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford is another who has struggled since returning from international duty with England, having opted against surgery on a shoulder issue to represent the Three Lions at Euro 2020.

Rashford missed the opening weeks of the season as he recovered from a post-tournament operation, but has failed to find his form since returning to first-team action.

The England international has just three goals across all competitions and none in his last eight Premier League appearances, whilst his latest showing in the win over Aston Villa proved hugely ineffective.

Perhaps more concerning was a perceived sense of disinterest from the forward against Villa, including a moment in which Rashford turned his back on a loose ball.

Whether Rashford is still suffering from fitness issues appears unclear, but he has fallen well below the standards expected in recent seasons. His decision-making also remains poor in the final third, a part of his game that must improve for a player now 24 and into his seventh season as a senior player.

Jadon Sancho

After all the excitement that greeted his long-awaited arrival at Manchester United, it just hasn’t happened of yet for Jadon Sancho.

Sancho was viewed as one of Europe’s most exciting young talents following four seasons at Borussia Dortmund, a period in which the winger provided 114 goal involvements in just 137 appearances for the Bundesliga side.

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Seen as the solution to the Red Devils’ right-wing problem position, Sancho has instead featured on both flanks and in various systems as he has failed to find his feet in English football.

He has just one league goal in 16 appearances, whilst he has failed to provide a single assist in any competition during the 2021/22 season to date.

Sancho’s position in the England squad is now under threat with the likes of Emile Smith Rowe (10 G/A), Bukayo Saka (10 G/A) and Jarrod Bowen (10 G/A) all staking their claim for involvement in Gareth Southgate’s plans.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been a Manchester United player for two-and-a-half seasons, but there remain doubts over whether the £50m signing is the right player for the Red Devils.

Wan-Bissaka won admirers for his one-against-one defending after being named as Crystal Palace’s Player of the Season in 2018/19, earning a move to Old Trafford where he has polarised opinion since.

This season the 24-year-old appears to have regressed with his defensive positioning having been criticised and his forward threat minimal.

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Wan-Bissaka rarely looks comfortable in the final third and his statistics make for grim reading when assessed with the division’s leading right-backs, having failed to provide a single goal or assist in 15 league appearances during the 2021/22 Premier League campaign.

His awkwardness when venturing forward is in contrast to the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joao Cancelo and Reece James, a trio of divisional contemporaries who have amassed 34 goal involvements between them this season.

Having spent a huge sum on Wan-Bissaka, the Red Devils could still need an upgrade and a right-back more suited to a side hoping to dominate possession.

Luke Shaw

Luke Shaw’s form may not be quite as dreadful as some of those further up this list, but the left-back has endured a significant drop-off in his standards from last season.

Named as the Red Devils’ Players’ Player of the Year in 2020/21 before enjoying an excellent Euro 2020 campaign – including scoring in the final – with England, he has performed well below those expectations during the first half of the current campaign.

Shaw is averaging less tackles, clearances, dribbles and key passes per 90 minutes than last season, whilst he has also conceded more fouls and been dribbled past more often in 2021/22.

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He tendency to pick up needless bookings is also a source of frustration, having picked up five cautions in just 14 league appearances so far this season.

Shaw has also failed to score and has provided just a single assist in a poor campaign given last season’s career-best levels.

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