Pitchside Europe

Three players Man Utd must sell this summer

Manchester United suffered their eighth league defeat of the season away at Stoke City on Saturday - a result which leaves the Red Devils seven points adrift of the Champions League places.

It is fair to say that David Moyes has had a nightmare start to his United tenure with his team selection, handling of the press and tactics all having come under intense scrutiny.

Although some blame must rest with the players, this probably wouldn’t have happened under Sir Alex Ferguson. Unless the United team can find their best form in the remaining 14 league games, they will not only miss out on playing in Europe next season, but some of them will lose their place at the club altogether.

Let’s look at three players who should be dropped from their starting line-up and sold in the summer if they can’t show some form in the next four months.

Tom Cleverley

The much-criticised midfielder has certainly been given chances to impress at Old Trafford, but seems incapable of putting in any sort of performance to validate his manager's faith in him.

Cleverley has made the most appearances of any United central midfielder this season but has done very little when selected. He has created just eight chances, scored just once and although he has maintained a 90% pass accuracy, that doesn’t really count for much when he tentatively plays it to the safe option on almost every occasion.

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On Saturday he missed a huge chance to snatch a point against Stoke and generally looked like his usual ineffective self. He won just one of his attempted tackles, no headed duels and made just two interceptions. Even his passing accuracy of 85% was below his usual standards, with most of his forward passes finding the opposition.

Patrice Evra

The fact that Frenchman Evra is out of contract in the summer could be a blessing in disguise for United. He may offer plenty going forward but his unwillingness to track back and suspect defensive positioning have been worrying to watch at times this season. He had a dreadful time of it against Stoke, as Peter Odemwingie won four take-ons down United’s right hand-side.

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Evra was out of position on several occasions during the game and he recorded a Performance Score of just -6. The France international made 10 clearances but won just one of five headed duels and just two tackles. He also completed just 78% of his passes and one cross.

Moyes’ problem is the fact he has failed to buy a suitable replacement this season despite having been in the market for one, meaning Evra will probably remain in the team. It would be surprising if he was still at Old Trafford during the next campaign, though.

Ashley Young

Young may have found some sort of form in recent weeks and even scored a screamer in the recent win against Cardiff but in all honesty he does not possess enough quality to feature in a Man Utd starting line-up on a regular basis.

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The England winger seems to have become a one-trick pony, with that trick being cutting inside onto his right foot to cross or shoot. Young was wayward in the final third on Saturday as United fans almost begged Moyes at times to replace the winger with 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj.

Young completed just one of his seven crosses and just 77% of his passes in a quite woeful performance.