To put it very mildly, West Ham midfielder, Jesse Lingard, tore Sheffield United to shreds at times last night in our 3-0 defeat.
There’s no point sugar-coating it. Lingard proved to be the outstanding player on the night. His quality was there for all to see. Bursting runs forward, dribbling past players, creating chances, drawing fouls, getting his shots off. You name it, and Lingard probably did it last night.
In just one performance, we got to see exactly what Chris Wilder must have seen when he apparently identified Lingard as his number one target to the Blades board during January.
A quick look at Lingard’s numbers back it. 17 final third passes, 7 attempted take ons with 4 successful. Add into that his work-rate (5 ball recoveries), his creativity (5 shots, 4 on target), and the fact he won the penalty to give the Hammers the lead, and Wilder will have been looking on with jealousy.
Sheffield United toothless while Jesse Lingard roars for West Ham
For whatever reasons (probably money), United dipped away from the race for Lingard as the window dragged on. Prince Abdullah later confirmed his reasons for not backing the manager, something which hasn’t sat right with a number of Blades fans since.
And Lingard’s display last night will have left a bitter taste for Chris Wilder.
It’s hard enough at the best of times to see your team getting ripped apart by an individual. So to see that invidual be someone you courted so much in the transfer window must be hard to take.
Lingard simply brilliant last night. It was a stark reminder of why he was once and England regular, and a subtle hint to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford that his Manchester United career might not be done and dusted.
For Chris Wilder and Sheffield United, it really was a case of what might have been as a toothless Blades attack watched on as Jesse Lingard caused problem after problem for the United defence.