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United View: The kids are alright!

It’s been a good week for Manchester United, spearheaded by their talented youth.

The image of Alejandro Garnacho, Rasmus Hojlund and Kobbie Mainoo sitting arm in arm atop the advertising board is yet another example of the Reds relying on and relishing in the gifts of its younger players.

Each member of this trio had an opportunity to steal the spotlight in United’s previous two fixtures and has given fans belief of brighter days at Old Trafford, amidst the backdrop of a disappointing season.

The Wolves match was chaotic, exciting, agonising and finally euphoric. But despite all the many talking points from the game, the night belonged to Kobbie Mainoo, showing his incredible ability by claiming all three points in the dying moments at Molineux.

It’s a goal that emphasises his composure and outstanding technical ability, gliding past one Wolves player, and nutmegging another before finessing the ball home. Given the sheer skill involved, it’s hard to believe that was his first goal in the Premier League.

Perhaps it’s exaggerating to suggest that goal saved Erik ten Hag’s job but that 4-3 win led to a more relaxed and optimistic feeling going into Sunday’s game. And thankfully United produced one of their most relatively comfortable performances of the season.

Once again, it was the young guns delivering for the Reds, with Alejandro Garnacho scoring a second-half brace in a 3-0 win. The Argentinian has shown great improvement in his game since moving to the right wing. He’s still an unpolished gem but a gem, nevertheless.

Then there’s Rasmus Hojlund, who seems to have benefitted the most since Garnacho’s switch of position. Scoring his first Premier League goal as a result of the change against Aston Villa and has since registered four goals and two assists in five games.

In his post-match interview against Wolves in which he scored and was named man of the match, the Dane talked about having to be faster both physically and mentally in the Premier League. And since the new year began, it looks like he’s turned a corner, not just in finding his goalscoring touch but in his overall play up front for United.

This was evident in Sunday’s win, opening the scoring with a brilliant goal, creating space for himself before smashing the ball home with his weaker foot. Not a bad way to celebrate his 21st birthday.

The two results were far from perfect, but they did show an improvement for Manchester United. Erik ten Hag was adamant performances would recover once his team was back to full fitness and it’s hard to argue against, although it wasn’t hard to surpass what’s been a miserable campaign thus far.

However, just as though it looks like United is on the mend, they’re hit with another setback. Having to make do without Lisandro Martinez for around 8 weeks following a sprained knee picked up against West Ham.

Martinez is arguably United’s best player and is irreplaceable in what he offers in the centre of ten Hag’s defence. Having only just returned from injury against Spurs, he displayed his importance to the team with two fantastic displays against Wolves and West Ham.

The Argentinian’s absence could derail United’s resurgence before it’s even begun, although with Harry Maguire returning to action on Sunday the manager will have options to come in at the back.

Regardless, the mood is much more positive around Manchester United, having scored 15 goals in their last five games and moving up to 6th in the league table.

There’s still much United can improve upon and Sunday’s game against Aston Villa will be another huge test. Unai Emery’s side have only dropped four points at home this season, although United did beat them 4-3 back on Boxing Day.

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