Erik Ten Hag’s Decision to Bench Hannibal Mejbri Costs Manchester United Against Palace
Erik ten Hag paid a hefty price for omitting the ‘exceptional’ talent of Hannibal Mejbri in the clash against Crystal Palace.
After suffering three consecutive losses, Manchester United’s victory over Burnley last Saturday seemed like the start of a new era. Notably, it marked the emergence of 20-year-old Hannibal Mejbri at Old Trafford, and he made a tremendous impression at Turf Moor.
His performance earned him a start midweek against Crystal Palace in the cup, where United secured a convincing 3-0 victory with him playing for 71 minutes. In both matches, Hannibal displayed an incredible tenacious attitude, making him a force to be reckoned with in pressing the opposition.
However, on the final day of September, to the surprise and disappointment of many, Hannibal’s name was absent from the starting lineup and even the substitutes’ bench.
Hannibal’s absence was noticeable
Much like his teammate Alejandro Garnacho, Hannibal was left out, resulting in a notable drop in the team’s overall performance.
The reason United easily handled Palace in the cup was because the midfield tirelessly pressed and dominated, keeping Palace pinned in their own half.
Although United dominated on Saturday as well, the absence of decision-making prowess from Hannibal and another player proved costly, leading to Erik ten Hag’s criticism of his team. Ironically, it was Ten Hag who decided to leave out two of the best decision-makers from the midweek match.
Hannibal had earned the right to play, and Ten Hag’s decision to sideline him cost the Dutch manager three points and another loss at Old Trafford.
‘Exceptional’ Mejbri to return on Tuesday?
Following Hannibal’s outstanding performance against Burnley, former United defender and MUTV pundit Wes Brown described him as ‘exceptional.’ It seems only logical for Hannibal to be back in the starting lineup against Galatasaray on Tuesday.
It’s possible that Ten Hag will place Facundo Pellistri on the bench after his challenging Premier League debut. Therefore, we might see Bruno on the right-wing, with Hannibal making his return to the midfield.