There have been 11 matches at Old Trafford in all competitions since the home side last scored a first half goal. That goal came on September 30, when Juan Mata scored a penalty against Wolfsburg.
Since then, James Wilson has left United to join Brighton & Hove Albion on loan until the end of the season. At a time when the Red Devils continue to struggle to put the ball in the back of the net, he is definitely a man they shouldn’t have allowed to leave.
Wilson’s move to the coast was completed on November 25. Between then and now, he has scored three league goals. In that time period, Wayne Rooney is United’s top scorer, and he has only scored four, all of which have come in January.
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The England captain Rooney has endured one of his worst seasons in terms of goals and has been constantly criticised for his performances. Anthony Martial has yet to really kick on after his explosive start in England, and there isn’t really anyone else at Old Trafford providing a real goal threat. It seems pure madness that a striker would be allowed to leave at this point.
While Charlie Austin was netting the winner for Southampton at Old Trafford in another United performance about as exciting as watching paint dry, Wilson was scoring the decisive goal for Brighton against Huddersfield.
Louis van Gaal’s side had only one shot on target at Old Trafford, Wilson had the same amount in the 32 minutes he was on the pitch on Saturday, and he made it count. This is precisely the sort of clinical finishing that the Manchester United faithful have been crying out for all season.
Recalling the 20-year-old from his loan spell is certainly an option Van Gaal should consider. Given that two of his three Championship goals have come from the bench, he probably wouldn’t be a regular starter in Manchester, but has shown that he is an effective substitute.
If van Gaal were to bring Wilson back to United, he would prove to be more of a goal threat than they are offering at the moment, and that is certainly something he must be looking for.