Football News

How Alejandro Garnacho’s tactical flexibility has helped Manchester United

By James Amey

Published: 15:39, 28 March 2024

Alejandro Garnacho’s season is going from strength to strength.

Despite teammate Kobbie Mainoo getting all the headlines after making his England debut,  Manchester United’s other talented teenager also reached a career milestone of his own during the international break. Garnacho made his first ever international start for Argentina, playing 71 minutes in their 3-1 victory over Costa Rica to top off what has been a superb season so far personally for the 19-year-old.

An incredible bicycle kick that Wayne Rooney would have been proud of against Everton at Goodison Park, saw him pick up the Premier League Goal of the Month award for November and he hasn’t looked back since. The Agentine has been a mainstay in Erik ten Hag’s side, becoming one of the first names on his teamsheet. Infact, he has already made more appearances this season (38) than he did in the whole of 2022/23 (34) and has started each of United’s last 26 games, a run going back to November 1st.

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This has been down not only to his huge talent, but also his tactical flexibility that has seen him flourish in a new role in this Manchester United side that he had never played before during his career. Erik ten Hag’s decision to play Garnacho on the right-hand side, with Rashford on the left and Rasmus Højlund up top has paid off, scoring 28 goals in their last 12 games, which is 12 more than the previous 12 before that.

Rashford has re-found his form, scoring in each of his last three games, Højlund has become the youngest ever player to score in six Premier League matches and Garnacho has also seen his numbers improve in his new role.

The Argentine has been directly involved in more goals (5-3) and scored more goals (4-1) in eight matches when starting at right-wing in the Premier League this season, compared to 12 matches at left-wing. He has also completed more take-ons per game (1.75-1.5) and created more chances per game (2.1-1.4) in his new role and Manchester United have looked so much better with their new look front three.

The experiment started against Aston Villa back on Boxing Day where Garnacho scored twice in his side’s 3-2 win his manager singing his praises after the game.

“He was almost more comfortable on the left but I think he can play on the right,” said ten Hag

“I think he was on that right side over 90 minutes an absolute threat, scored twice. But I think the whole frontline played very good. They invested so much in the runs behind, the timings were so good and it was continuing a threat for the opponent.”

Manchester United have scored 19 goals in the eight games Alejandro Garnacho has started RW in the Premier League, compared to 20 goals in their other 20 league matches when he hasn’t. which is an incredible improvement, meaning he will have to continue learning his new role in the side for the rest of the campaign.