Former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick has spoken exclusively to CaughtOffside about the form of the club’s players so far this season.
It’s not been the best start to the 2021/22 campaign for the Red Devils, but there have been some positives, with the return of Cristiano Ronaldo lifting the mood, while Ralf Rangnick looks an astute appointment as interim manager.
Chadwick is also pleased with the way David de Gea has been playing, with the Spanish shot-stopper looking back to his best after showing some signs of decline last term.
Overall, the former Man Utd midfielder is disappointed with the inconsistency most of the team has shown, but felt De Gea and Ronaldo were worthy of praise.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, the stand-out player would be David de Gea,” Chadwick said. “He’s had a really good season and has looked back to his best.
“Last season it was sort of 50-50 if it would be him or Dean Henderson as number one. He got in ahead of Henderson for the Europa League final and didn’t exactly excel in that game, but he’s made the shirt his own and been back to his brilliant best this season.
“Apart from that the squad’s been pretty inconsistent. Cristiano Ronaldo’s come back, scored goals and given everyone a bit of a lift, but the other signings – Sancho hasn’t been at his best, Varane, someone we were so excited about, has had such bad luck with injury problems.
“Other than De Gea and Ronaldo, the rest of the squad have made a really inconsistent start to the season.”
Chadwick went on to single out a few players who’d been disappointing by their usual high standards, pointing out that Bruno Fernandes, Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire had dipped below some strong form for United last season.
“Considering where the level was last season, Bruno Fernandes was head and shoulders United’s best player, but he hasn’t really been at that level this season,” Chadwick said.
“He’s had some fantastic performances but some underwhelming ones as well. He’s probably one of United’s better performers, but by his high standards he’s certainly dipped a bit.
“Apart from that, the likes of Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire, after some high standards last season and really impressive performances for England at the Euros as well, they’re two top performers who’ve dipped below those standards this season.”
Looking at the Premier League as a whole, Chadwick admitted that it’s hard to look past Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah, though he also have special praise to Bernardo Silva for the way he’s raised his game at Manchester City.
“Salah’s the one who stands out. The goals he’s scored, he’s probably the best player in the world at the moment,” Chadwick said.
“Someone who’s not exactly a surprise, but has come back from being a bit more of a bit-part player last season is Bernardo Silva at Manchester City. He’s been back to his brilliant best, and is up there with the very best in the Premier League.
“He’s playing more of a central role and having a huge impact in every game. He looks as close as anything to David Silva that we’ve seen at his time at the club.
“You also look at West Ham, Declan Rice has been a top, top performer for them, Michail Antonio as well, he’s scoring goals and his is a great story. Jarrod Bowen as well has been hugely influential for West Ham, they’ve certainly been the surprise package, they’ve come back, if anything, even stronger this season than last.”