Odion Ighalo has provided three solutions for Manchester United – Manchester Evening News,

Odion Ighalo has provided three solutions for Manchester United – Manchester Evening News,

By the time Manchester United eventually visit the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, and Steven Bergwijn may have recovered from injury and shortened odds on United extending their undefeated streak.

Crass though it sounds, Jose Mourinho must be relieved by the three-week suspension of football in England . He has already expressed a longing for July 1 and Spurs are winless in six; a run bookended by comprehensive defeats by Red Bull Leipzig in the Champions League round-of – .

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could not resist nibbling at the bait when his predecessor was mentioned on Thursday night when pressed on the difficulty of losing key players: “Yeah, but I don’t talk about those two (Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford ), do I? “

Solskjaer was reminded that in September Mourinho opined United were ‘worse’ than under his stewardship last season, before the United manager was asked whether Spurs were worse than during the latter days of Mauricio Pochettino’s reign. Solskjaer sniggered and fudged his answer: “I’d rather not speak about other teams and other manager’s teams.” A United press officer half-jokingly lamented the lack of questions about LASK Linz during Wednesday’s pre-match press conference.

Mourinho dreaded a scenario where the chamber would be empty and lamented going into a gunfight ‘without bullets’ against Leipzig. Spurs’ last win was secured in added time by Son at Villa Park and Bergwijn, effectively sharing striker duties with winger Lucas Moura and attacking midfielder Dele Alli, hit a wall at Burnley last week.

Spurs made an th hour move for Odion Ighalo on deadline day but the boyhood United fan did not give their interest a second thought. Ighalo has four goals in three United starts and eight United appearances overall. He has already tallied as many goals as Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao, and more than Henrik Larsson; ludicrously billed as the ‘loan legend’ in an MUTV retrospective documentary. Ighalo has his own terrace chant to ‘Viva Ronaldo’, and is more revered than the popular Falcao and more prolific than the overrated Larsson.

Despite his agent Atta Aneke’s association with Solskjaer’s representative Jim Solbakken, United thought outside the box with Ighalo and have another asset inside the box. Ighalo hardly goes a game without having a chance and it feels logical for United to at least consider making his loan stay permanent.

“Odion has done really well since he came in and he’s enjoying himself , “Solskjaer said. “And he will improve and get better but he has qualities we saw in him and we needed and we will still need those qualities for next season, so let’s see what we will do.

” He’s a goalscorer and a striker, he doesn’t worry too much about all that nonsense; build-up play – that’s a joke, obviously. He knows his job and what his role in the team is, and he’s very good with his back to goal, great link player, but maybe the best thing about him is his personality, so he’s got the whole lot really. “

Odion Ighalo arrives wearing a protective mask and gloves

Ighalo was demanding of Bruno Fernandes in the rout of LASK Linz and his half-volley that kissed the crossbar prompted teammates on the bench to fixate on the nearby monitor for replays. Ighalo’s qualities extend beyond his penalty box presence; Anthony Martial has not completed a full match in any of the eight Ighalo has been available for, and scored in four of his last five starts. United have managed Martial’s playing time carefully, mindful of the absence of Marcus Rashford and duress Rashford came under during Martial’s eight-week lay-off between August and October.

Martial was regarded as a doubt for the postponed Spurs match, though Solskjaer has adopted some kidology with recent squad selections and the Frenchman rendezvoused with teammates on the morning of their draw with Everton, rather than the night before. Ighalo is yet to make a league XI for United but would have relished dueling with a Tottenham defense that is about as watertight as a sieve.

Arguably Ighalo’s standout United performance was his second-shortest in the 16 minutes against City; he held off Fernandinho, killed the ball with the deftness of Dimitar Berbatov, and shimmied past Benjamin Mendy.

The only time Ighalo ceded possession was from a hoik by David de Gea that he cushioned around the corner slightly heavily, and even then Fernandinho was rushed into sending the ball airborne with the force of Peter Kay. The next time, Ighalo held off Joao Cancelo, backheeled Fred through and drew the foul.

United risked ridicule in recruiting Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua amid the COVID – 381 crisis in China. He was forced to train away from the United training ground and it is understood staff at The Lowry – where Ighalo was temporarily residing – were not informed of the precautionary measure. The United managing director Richard Arnold bragged on the investors’ call Ighalo trended above Brexit and President Trump’s impeachment trial on deadline day.

Ighalo was trending again on Thursday night – for the right reasons – and ensured United’s chamber is never empty.


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