Erik ten Hag made a vital change during Manchester United’s clash with Aston Villa yesterday when he brought in Christian Eriksen.
Up until the hour mark, United had struggled to control the midfield with Fred and Donny van de Beek struggling to cope with pressure from Villa in central areas.
That often resulted in cheap rotation or a lack of rhythm.
United were clearly looking to play balls behind the Villa defense at the first available opportunity to exploit the high defensive line that Unai Emery insisted on.
While Van de Beek simply couldn’t take the ball and Fred was touching it too much before releasing it, the stage was set for a player who could very well end up being the Premier League signing of the season.
Christian Eriksen was always available to his teammates and deadly creative on the ball after his 62nd-minute introduction.
He had 22 touches in 28 minutes compared to Van de Beek’s 21 in 62 minutes and his playmaking ability was a real game changer for the Red Devils.
With 100% passing accuracy, Eriksen was a surefire pair of boots.
Far from playing it safe, he managed three long balls forward while showing off his passing range under pressure.
The Dane proved that you don’t have to sacrifice creativity for accuracy, hitting 5 incredible key passes in less than half an hour.
Eriksen’s introduction to the match was a real turning point and only goes to highlight how dependent United have become on his ability to make things happen from deeper areas.
With the Red Devils facing Fulham on Sunday in their last game before the World Cup, they are hoping for another strong showing.
(All statistics taken from SofaScore)