For years Manchester United fans have been waiting for Andreas Pereira to come to the party. When he was signed as a youngster, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the creative Brazilian and the two years he spent on loan in Spain were supposed to be the making of him.
However, since returning to England, he has failed to impress. He played a handful of times last season but has been featuring regularly under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this campaign. The Norwegian has put his faith in the 23-year-old, hoping he could solve United’s midfield woes throughout their injury problems.
Pereira has featured in 15 of United’s 17 league games this season, establishing himself as a mainstay in the attacking trio deployed behind United’s striker. But United fans are seeing little to no return from him.
He has registered only one goal and one assist in all 20 appearances he has made this season, which is not the impact Solskajer would have been hoping for. After watching the playmaker show glimpses of genius in Spain, United fans were hopeful that he would bring that form back to England. But Pereira looks to be getting lost in the system deployed by the manager.
He has consistently featured centrally, or on the right of United’s 4-2-3-1 formation but has failed to make much of an impact. The game has too often passed him by, with him failing to get on the ball enough, and wasting it when he does get possession.
What’s his best position?
There are continually questions being asked about what his best position is, and the truth is, I don’t think anyone really knows. He was moved to play alongside Fred with the injury of Scott McTominay but didn’t fare much better in the deeper role.
Although he shows plenty of energy and works hard, he has been wasteful with the ball considering passing is supposed to be one of his strong traits. Pereira ranks 21st out of 25 for pass success rate and averages only 26 passes per game (WhoScored).
So the question remains: why is Solskjaer so adamant in playing Pereira, when he has so often failed to perform?
The only viable answer is lack of options. With Juan Mata past his best and Jesse Lingard struggling to find form, Pereira has been United’s best bet in that role. However, things may be about to change for the worse for the Belgian-born midfielder.
Pereira to lose his place?
Lingard was given the nod in United’s win over Tottenham and looked to be returning to form. He created four chances in the game – more than any other player, and this led to him retaining his place for the huge victory over Manchester City at the Etihad.
He was impressive once again in the derby and played a crucial role in United’s quick transition from defence to attack. His 100% pass accuracy in the final third provided a handful of chances and his energy in the midfield was admirable.
The unexpected return to form for Lingard has resulted in Pereira losing his spot in the first team for league fixtures and he will need to massively improve if he is to break back in. It is no secret that Solskjaer is looking to sign a midfielder, and this could put an end to the Brazilian’s most consistent run of football at United since he joined in 2014.
If he is to force his way back into the manager’s plans, he must provide more goal contributions. One goal and assist is not a good enough return for a creative midfielder playing at Manchester United. Pereira needs to demand more of the ball and make things happen – otherwise he risks falling down the pecking order and becoming a backup for Solskjaer.