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Mason Mount’s injury is a blessing in disguise for Manchester United against Nottingham Forest – Man United News And Transfer News

Fans were treated to bad news recently when it was confirmed that Mason Mount would miss the two games leading up to the international break.

Mason Mount’s injury robs Erik ten Hag of his trusted lieutenant who he immediately took a liking to as soon as he arrived at the club.

However, when looking at the Forest game from a tactical point of view, Mount’s injury is actually a blessing in disguise for United. Here’s why-

Saves Ten Hag from himself

As cynical as it might sound, Ten Hag’s reluctance to rotate his most trusted players, be it Antony, Marcus Rashford, or Lisandro Martinez has led to them either getting injured due to workload or getting panned by the fans as they huff and puff their way through patches of bad form.

Mason Mount, to his credit, looks to have already made his way to this list of “untouchables”. The English international has had a less-than-auspicious start to his career at Old Trafford.

So far, he has failed to click with his midfield teammates in Bruno Fernandes and Casemiro. The one-twos are going nowhere, he is often found up front leaving Casemiro on an island, the attempts to create a “box midfield” were ended in disastrous fashion, and so on.

Midfield is arguably the toughest position to get right in football as they have no defined “area”. A striker needs to score goals first and foremost, a defender should keep that from happening. However, a midfield is the heartbeat of a successful team, with a player required to perform multiple roles.

Mount has so far been underwhelming in pretty much every department except for willingness. He buzzes around on the pitch and cover every blade of grass, but so did Fred.

So far, the traits that made him a marquee signing have been absent. A short spell away from the spotlight where every action of his is analysed to death will do him a world of good.

That has become possible only due to his injury which has saved Ten Hag from himself. If that wasn’t the case, a start against Forest, and further brutal scrutiny, was a certainty.

Christian Eriksen>Mason Mount against Nottingham Forest

Christian Eriksen is expected to suit up in place of Mason Mount against Forest. After starting his debut season on fire, Eriksen went off the boil as his workload became more than expected. An injury last year caused him to miss nearly three months and the rust was clear to see afterwards.

Mount was secured to avoid a repeat of last year when the drop-off due to Eriksen’s absence was enormous. However, things look to have tilted too far towards the other end at the start of the season, with Mount as the bonafide first choice and Eriksen a confirmed bench player.

That is not ideal because Eriksen, for all the concerns about his physicality and running, provides something to this team that nobody else does- calmness in possession and line-breaking passes.

United have a tendency to get frantic and rush their play when faced with adversity. It is a big reason why they are in an away rut against top opponents. Eriksen is the antidote to this chaos while Mount’s playing style adds to it.

Then comes the second point- progressive passes. The Dane is in the 93rd percentile of progressive passes made/90 with 8.02 of those coming every game.

As United labour their way through the game against deep and compact defences, a lock-picker is needed. The attack is blessed with runners of high pace who are rendered blunt if the opponents give no space in behind.

With Eriksen in the team, he can find pockets of space even where there aren’t any, something Mount isn’t blessed with. Mount is a more busy operator while Eriksen is good in small spaces.

Not only will United’s attack be better against deep defences with Eriksen in the team, but the player’s own weakness to high-press and counterattacks will also be less exposed against a team that sits back more often than not.

If United are expected to have the bulk of possession, it makes sense to have more players in the team who are comfortable using it. Right now, Eriksen is ahead of Mount in that regard. He’s a metronomic presence in midfield to help circulate possession and create chances through the strength of his vision and passing alone.

You need someone to pick the lock in some games and you need someone to kick the door down in others. The Nottingham Forest game is for lockpickers because everyone is standing at the door.

That makes Eriksen the perfect midfielder against Steve Cooper’s side.

Therefore, while nobody is writing off Mount after two competitive games in a United shirt, a football game should always be horses for courses.

Against Nottingham Forest, Eriksen is the answer. Therefore Mount’s injury, when looked through the lens of Ten Hag’s reluctance to rotate, is a blessing in disguise for United.

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