‘Embarrassing’ Man Utd attacker savaged with starting role under new threat amid eye-opening stat
Man Utd winger Antony has been labelled “embarrassing” and a “bluffer” by one pundit who pinpointed an eye-opening statistic, and the Brazilian’s starting role is poised to come under a new threat.
The 22-year-old was an £86m (including add-ons) signing from Ajax in the summer, and did begin his Old Trafford career in fine fashion. Indeed, Antony scored in each of his first three league matches for Manchester United which included games against Arsenal and Man City.
However, since that time, Antony has plundered just two more goals and remarkably, has provided just one assist across all competitions.
His starting role on the right wing has generally been secure thus far. However, Jadon Sancho is back in the mix and with Marcus Rashford locking down the left side, Antony’s position is in jeopardy.
Sancho featured off the bench in the EFL Cup against Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night. The England international was treated to a rousing reception from the Old Trafford faithful upon making his first appearance for the club since October.
Sancho had undertaken a personalised training program in the Netherlands after admitting to struggling both physically and mentally earlier in the season. With the classy attacker back in the fold, Antony will be in his sights.
Now, speaking to talkSPORT in the aftermath of the 2-0 win over Forest, pundit Gabriel Agbonlahor savaged Antony.
The former Aston Villa forward highlighted Antony’s dismal assists record and suggested his penchant for tricks and flicks over tangible end product may actually be harming Man Utd, not helping.
Antony a “bluffer”; compared negatively to ex-Man Utd captain
“Manchester United have looked better since Erik ten Hag has come in and they’ve done better in the last few months,” said Agbonlahor.
“But when I look at Antony, there’s been a few big transfers in the Premier League, £86million for him…
“I think he’s a bluffer. I think when he gets the ball, he doesn’t take a player on. He doesn’t have the speed to take players on.
“With 11 league games he’s got three goals, no assists. Four Carabao Cup games, one goal, no assists. Two FA Cup games, one goal, one assist. That’s one assist in all competitions.
“He doesn’t do what Rashford does. Rashford gets the ball direct, takes players on, puts balls into the box.
“The big thing for me is [Antony’s] number of crosses. He’s put in 1.5 crosses [average] per game. If you’re a striker, you’re making runs and he’s doing his tricks, cutting in, cutting back, not putting the ball in the box.
“I played with a great winger, Ashley Young (former Man Utd captain), still playing now at 37.
“His first season at Aston Villa, he got nine goals and 14 assists. You always knew he was going to put the ball in, take a player on, do his step overs, do his chops, but he’d always put the ball in the right areas.
“For me, Antony’s 1.5 crosses a game is not good enough.”
‘Antony spin’ labelled “embarassing”
Agbonlahor then proceeded to imitate Antony’s signature spin move in the talkSPORT studio. The piece of trickery involves Antony rotating either 360 or 720 degrees while maintaining close control of the ball with his left foot.
The piece of showboating was on display in a Europa League game earlier this season and drew the ire of club legend Paul Scholes.
“And he does this turn, right,” Agbonlahor continued. “I’m going to show you the turn…”
“The Nutcracker!” co-host Alan Brazil laughed as Agbonlahor proceeded to spin in the studio.
“What would you do if you were a defender?” added Agbonlahor upon re-taking his seat.
“It’s embarrassing, he needs to liven up!”
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