Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag sack: The eight Man Utd players whose standards have most dipped and leave Dutchman on the brink of axe

Man Utd trio Sofyan Amrabat, Antony and Marcus Rashford have been poor this season

Man Utd trio Sofyan Amrabat, Antony and Marcus Rashford have been poor this season

Manchester United have endured a disappointing season and currently sit in sixth place in the Premier League table, 11 points adrift from the top four. 

Pressure is mounting on manager Erik ten Hag and the club’s new minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly considering replacing him at the end of the season.

Ten Hag can’t take all of the blame, however. The reality is that some of the Man Utd player’s performances this term have been nothing short of shambolic.

In this feature, we look at the Red Devils stars whose disappointing showings could result in Ten Hag getting axed.

Sofyan Ambrabat

There was a sense of excitement when Man Utd won the race for Fiorentina midfielder Sofyan Amrabat and signed him on a season-long loan last summer, but he has failed to live up to the hype at Old Trafford.

Amrabat caught worldwide attention when he helped Morocco reach the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup but has failed to replicate that form in the Premier League.

He’s started just seven league games this season for Man Utd and has one of the lowest average match ratings of their entire squad at just 6.27, as per WhoScored. 

Amrabat’s latest blunder came in the Manchester derby, when he gifted the ball to Manchester City before they scored their third goal in a 3-1 loss for the Red Devils.

Reports suggest that Man Utd have already decided not to trigger the £21.4m buy option in his loan agreement, so Amrabat looks set to re-join Fiorentina at the end of the campaign.

Anthony Martial

The Man Utd ‘enigma’ Anthony Martial has gone through periods of good form at Old Trafford but seems completely uninterested this season.

The French striker has netted just one goal in 13 Premier League appearances so far and is currently sidelined with a groin injury.

Martial’s contract is set to expire in June and Man Utd have opted against triggering the one-year extension clause in his deal.

Therefore, it’s possible that the 28-year-old has already played his last game for the Red Devils.

It’s fair to say that his indifferent demeanour has been symptomatic of the problems Man Utd have faced since Ten Hag took charge.

Christian Eriksen

Christian Eriksen was Ten Hag’s second-ever Man Utd signing, back in the summer of 2022.

The 32-year-old midfielder enjoyed a decent 2022/23 campaign but his form has dipped this season and he has one of the lowest average match ratings in the squad (6.4).

Eriksen has made 16 league appearances so far this term, contributing just one goal and one assist. He now finds himself behind the likes of Kobbie Mainoo and Casemiro in the pecking order.

Reports suggest that Man Utd are willing to part ways with the Danish international in the summer, with Galatasaray among those interested in him.

Lisandro Martinez

Lisandro Martinez is arguably Man Utd’s best defender when fully fit, but with an average match rating of just 6.42, it’s clear that he has struggled this season – like many of his teammates.

The Argentina international has only played eight league games due to missing much of the campaign with injuries, but Man Utd have kept just two clean sheets when he’s featured.

Martinez followed Ten Hag to Old Trafford from Ajax in 2022. It’s clear to see that ‘The Butcher’ is a formidable player on his day but has struggled when he’s played recently.

He is expected to be out until April with a knee injury, so he will have to be at his best when he returns if he wants to save Ten Hag from the sack.

Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford may have scored a screamer against Manchester City but that doesn’t excuse the fact his form has dipped drastically in the last few months.

Last season, the England forward netted an outstanding 30 goals in all competitions for the Red Devils, which was ultimately the main reason they finished in a Champions League spot.

However, Rashford has failed to replicate that form this term, netting just six times so far. There have also been problems off the field for the 26-year-old.

He was dropped from the squad in January after he allegedly visited a nightclub and was too hungover to go to training the following day, for example.

Man Utd fans will hope that Rashford’s goal against Man City helps him find his shooting boots once again and he can have a good end to the campaign.

If he can score another 10 goals between now and the end of the season, that could potentially save Ten Hag’s job.

Marcus Rashford stats 2023/24 and 2022/23

Victor Lindelof

Another defender who’s struggled, Victor Lindelof has played as a left-back, centre-back and right-back this season but his performances have left a lot to be desired.

Of the 17 league games Lindelof has featured in Man Utd have kept only five clean sheets. He has a poor average match rating of just 6.42 and it’s fair to say that if all of the Red Devil’s players were fully fit, he wouldn’t be in the starting XI.

Lindelof is also expected to leave at the end of the season. He was handed a one-year contract extension in January but that was to ensure he doesn’t leave on a free transfer rather than a sign of his importance to the team.

Perhaps the reason why players like Amrabat, Martial, Eriksen and Lindelof are performing so poorly is because they know they’ll probably be leaving Man Utd and don’t really care where they finish in the table.

Antony

Arguably the worst big-money signing in Man Utd’s history, Anthony is another player that Ten Hag brought in from Ajax in 2022 – for an eye-watering £86m.

The winger was signed to add flair and above all goals and assists, but has failed to find the net in 21 league outings this season, with his only goal contribution coming against Newport County in the FA Cup.

Ten Hag wasting a huge sum on a winger who clearly doesn’t have the attributes to succeed in England is one of the things Ratcliffe will be keen to avoid moving forward.

This wasteful spend could be one of the key reasons why Ten Hag ends up getting axed. 

Raphael Varane

Raphael Varane won 17 major trophies during his time at former club Real Madrid, including four Champions Leagues, but hasn’t had the impact at Old Trafford that many expected.

He’s performed poorly overall this season with an average match rating of 6.56 and Ten Hag doesn’t seem to trust him, opting to start the likes of Lindelof and Harry Maguire ahead of him on several occasions.

Varane is another player who has been linked with moves away from Man Utd, with clubs from Saudi Arabia and Europe reportedly keeping tabs on his situation.

Given the injury problems Man Utd are facing in defence, though, he could end up playing a key role over the next few months.

Varane will have to perform like the player he was at Real Madrid if Ten Hag is to keep his job beyond the end of this season.

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