Fresh off a man of the match performance away at Everton, Ander Herrera has once again performed brilliantly in the number ten role. He scored his eighth career Premier League goal on only his tenth shot and showed equal parts pure skill and football sense.
Yet his place in the side is never certain.
His appearance today came at the expense of the stuttering Memphis Depay. The Dutchman’s absence seeing Anthony Martial shunted out to the left [where he shone for France in their win over Denmark] and Wayne Rooney playing as the lone striker. Herrera showed some nice interchanging play with his fellow Spaniard Juan Mata before the latter was subbed off.
Herein lies the problem for Ander.
There are only four attacking spots in the current formation, and three of them are spoken for. Wayne Rooney will not be dropped, and his goal today makes that even less likely. Mata was the club’s player of the month and has contributed goals and assists to the attack. And now, Martial – winner of the BPL’s Player of the Month gong – also looks like sealing a spot on a regular basis, even though it was thought initially that he would be brought along slowly.
It would seem a straight out battle between Herrera and Memphis for the time being. So what’s the solution?
One idea might be to use Memphis more in Europe [where he’s notched three of his four United goals to date] and continue to deploy Herrea in the Premier League. There’s no doubt that Memphis has struggled to adapt to the pace and power of the domestic competition thus far, so maybe the more deliberate tempo of Champions League nights is better suited? It took Ander a while to adapt as well, you’ll recall – but then you’ll also remember how fantastic he and Mata were in the second half of last season.
Ideally, both players will remain fit and firing as this team is going to need goals from everyone in order to be successful. But for the time being, I’d have Herrera on my team sheet every week, and I think most supporters feel the same way right now.