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United View: Garnacho causing more Everton heartache and a brand-new Old Trafford?

After the derby day defeat, Manchester United just needed to go out and win against Everton.

Two first-half penalties helped the Reds to achieve this, as they kept their Champions League hopes alive just about.

Alejandro Garnacho once again stole the limelight against Everton, although his bicycle kick in the reverse fixture will live longer in the memory. But on Saturday he was pivotal to the 2-0 victory, winning both penalties.

Some quick feet drew a foul from James Tarkowski for the first, whereas the second came from direct attacking play, causing Ben Godfrey to overcommit in a lunging tackle. Each showcases Garnacho’s exceptional attacking talent.

It was Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford who got the goals, but it was Garnacho who deserved the plaudits. His integration into the first team and positive performances have been a silver lining in an underwhelming campaign for the Reds.

This was the 10th goal involvement for the 19-year-old this season, outdoing his numbers from his breakout season. But for the young Argentinian, it hasn’t just been his attacking output that’s impressed, he’s also been vital with his work ethic.

Erik ten Hag praised his performance in his post-match press conference, saying “When he keeps this focus and attitude he will improve from game to game and that’s what we’re seeing in this moment.”

The result was positive, keeping United six points behind Spurs and eight behind Aston Villa. But the performance was much of the same as we’ve seen this season, again facing over 20 shots.

The Reds now have faced the second-highest number of shots in the Premier League (467), only Sheffield United have faced more (469). But amazingly they statistically have the joint-fourth best defence, conceding 39 goals with eight clean sheets, tied with Everton.

This stat might not tell the full story, as only Liverpool has a better xG per shot. For context, this measures the quality of the shot, meaning there may be a high number of shots faced but they are not as threatening on goal.

Andre Onana deserves credit too for his recent performances. Despite having a tumultuous start to his Manchester United career and a disappointing campaign, he’s been one of the top performers since the turn of the year.

36-year-old Johnny Evans was also good against Everton, highlighting the glaring issues in United’s recruitment and issues with injuries. The North Irishman has played more games than even he would have expected but to be fair he’s rarely let his manager down when called upon.

These issues need to be addressed in the summer and hopefully, the new board can make an immediate impact in getting the team back in the right direction. Until then it’s hard to see how the team will improve.

There has been some positive news from Old Trafford this week, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Mason Mount have both returned to training following their injury woes. Meanwhile, Rasmus Hojlund is also in contention to play against Liverpool on Sunday in the FA Cup Quarter Final.

Not only that but a task force has been created to explore options for regenerating Old Trafford, with “the development of a world-class football stadium at the heart of the project”.

Chaired by Lord Sebastian Coe, former Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games. Along with Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, Gary Neville, and Chief Executive of Trafford Council Sara Todd.

In a recent interview, Andy Burnham said it’s unsure whether this will be a refurbishment or a completely new stadium but that the decision should be made this year.

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