Man of the Match – Sanchez was the Best of a Very Bad Bunch

Where do I start with picking a man of the match out of that performance? Should it go to Phil Jones for a brilliant goal? Paul Pogba for showing great consistency in not marking any midfield runners? Or maybe even Marouane Fellaini for not putting a foot out of place in his 8 minutes cameo?

Of course I jest, there was only one man in a red shirt who came away from Wembley with any real credit and that was Alexis Sanchez. His performance was far from spectacular but very much the best of a very bad bunch. After starting at Yeovil, he was inevitably the only one from that eleven to survive but the question was: Where would he play once the big guns were back? We got our answer, which appears to suggest Mourinho wants to play him on the left. The unlucky men were Juan Mata, who missed out altogether and Anthony Martial who was moved to the right to accommodate Sanchez’s preferred role.

United fell to the quickest goal in the league this season and one of the quickest ever. But for 15 minutes they actually looked dangerous and were unlucky not to get back on level terms (Sanchez was involved in most of the good moments). A brilliant little one two with Martial got the Frenchman in down the left only for his cross to be cut out. Sanchez linked up well with Ashley Young for spells with the latter getting in some good crosses and Sanchez, as he did throughout, was looking to get on the ball and create chances.

Unfortunately, like the rest of the side, as Spurs started to dominate with the ball, Sanchez and United looked less dangerous. To his credit, he did continue to work hard on and off the ball to get in the game and try and make United tick, but had very little chance in doing so.

At half time, surprisingly no substitutions were made, but Sanchez was moved centrally with Jesse Lingard moving out to the right and Martial back to the left. Sanchez was in the game early second half but once again was left with nothing more than scraps to feed off. The delivery in to him was poor, resulting in him dropping deeper and deeper to get the ball, something Mourinho was fully aware of. The same problems were starting to materialise that had affected all the number 10s before him, suggesting the problem may not be the personnel but rather a formation issue.

In truth Sanchez had very little impact in the game and instead spent the majority of it being kicked from pillar to post, as he was on Friday night. Sanchez was by far and away United’s best player at Wembley but on a normal day this performance would have not troubled the man of the match choice. It seems Mourinho is unsure how best to use the Chilean without having a negative effect on those who have got his side into second place. He needs to find the solution quickly if we want to see the best from Sanchez.