Manchester United’s season crashed to its nadir with the 4-0 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday evening.
Goals from Moises Caicedo, Marc Cucurella, Pascal Gross and Leandro Trossard consigned the Red Devils to one of the most humiliating results of a campaign that has seen the club sink to a new low.
Crisis at Man Utd
Marry that to a whole bucketload of embarrassing statistics to come out of the 4-0 hammering and it couldn’t be any clearer that the situation at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ is an alarming one.
From the disastrous end of Ole Gunnar Solskaer’s tenure to the carnage of Ralf Rangnick’s interim spell, the baton is being passed to Erik ten Hag with the limpness of a club running out of steam.
As such, here at GIVEMESPORT, we wanted to take stock of United’s worst ever season in the Premier League now that the Brighton humiliation has effectively ended it early.
Man Utd performances in 2021/22
To do so, we’ve turned to our trusty medium of Tiermaker to review the performances of each player in the United squad, ranking them into categories ranging from ‘simply disastrous’ to ‘impressive’.
That way, we can get an overview of how the United players have performed individually across a season of such historic disappointment that Ten Hag will have some serious thinking to do this summer.
Naturally, do bear in mind that this is just a subjective exercise. Our opinion is not necessarily the right one and we’d be fascinated to hear your own thoughts across our various social channels.
And it’s important to clarify that this is very much a review of each player’s 2021/22 output in particular, so their relative placements are not necessarily a reflection of them as a player overall.
Besides, there is top-class talent surging through each and every player in the United dressing room and we’d love nothing more than to see some of the struggling stars bounce back in red.
Oh, and we’re only including senior stars who have played a significant role in the season with loan players only incorporated if they played at least half of the year for the Red Devils.
Ranking Man Utd players in 2021/22
But enough with the disclaimers and housekeeping because we’ve got players to rank and you can check out how we organised the United squad based on their 2021/22 performances down below:
Anthony Martial, Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford and Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Four great players with bundles of talent and hard work, but the reality of the situation is that the 2021/22 season has marked a massive, potentially irreparable, blow to their time at Old Trafford.
Martial’s steady decline in red bled into the current campaign and beyond the point of no return, resulting in a Sevilla loan that has yielded just a single goal and looks unlikely to resuscitate his United career.
Meanwhile, Maguire’s form has been so alarming and inconsistent that there have not only been calls for him to be stripped of the captaincy, but to potentially be sold off after just three seasons in the summer.
Similarly, Rashford simply hasn’t looked himself in a 2021/22 campaign that has been punctuated by anonymous performances and just five goals, leading to transfer rumours that could end his United fairy tale.
And perhaps there is no season arc that sums up ‘disastrous’ better than Wan-Bissaka, who has sadly declined from one of the first names on the team sheet to heavy links with a Crystal Palace return.
Should do better
Alex Telles, Paul Pogba, Jadon Sancho and Luke Shaw
A frustrating tier, this. These players certainly haven’t been awful across the 2021/22 season, but they have still fallen comfortably short of what United fans expect for them.
Just look at Pogba, who started the season in frankly world-beating form, only for a combination of inconsistent displays and injuries to see things peter out and leave supporters baying for his exit.
However, things haven’t been much better at left-back with Telles constantly failing to meet the performance levels required at United and Shaw having plummeted since his excellent 2020/21 campaign.
And although Sancho has looked absolutely scintillating at times, let’s not denying that United fans were expecting more than five goals and three assists from their £73-million signing in his debut season.
Didn’t get a look in
Dean Henderson, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Juan Mata, Donny van de Beek and Jesse Lingard
Nothing too much to report here, it just happens that these players were given so few opportunities on the pitch that we can’t really praise them or criticised them too much.
And almost all of them have one thing in common: they look set to leave this summer.
Perhaps the only exception to that rule is Van de Beek as he looks to reunite with his former Ajax manager, which must have been music to his ears after a 2021/22 season in which he was barely given a chance.
Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Raphael Varane, Scott McTominay, Fred, Nemanja Matic and Edinson Cavani
It’s not a good look that so many United players have, well, just left us shrugging our shoulders this season and the fact that only four members of the squad actually finish about this tier is even more damning.
Dalot has wavered between showing great promise and looking wildly unreliable, while Lindelof has flitted between looking like his old, shaky self and actually being United’s standout centre-back.
An injury-blighted debut season has meant that Varane has hardly had the chance to get out of first gear and the equally-crocked Cavani looks set to leave Old Trafford on a whimper despite always giving his all.
Then there’s the infamous ‘McFred’ duo to whom we’ve arguably been too kind, but are far too often the butt of the joke and perform soundly away from their favoured positions more than they’re credited with.
As for Matic, it’s the right time for him to leave because it’s clear that he can’t play 90 minutes at the highest level consistently enough, but he’s nevertheless proved a sturdy enough presence in 2021/22.
Anthony Elanga and Bruno Fernandes
Some positivity at last! Look, poor Elanga has been thrown in the deep end this season and he can feel proud about having played such a major role at 20 years old considering the desperate circumstances.
And perhaps controversially, we also think that Fernandes has enjoyed a season blessed with more positives than negatives despite dropping some truly miserable performances at times.
It’s easy to take for granted just how effective he’s been for United since day one and the fact that he’s harvested an impressive record of 12 goals and 12 assists in 2021/22 shouldn’t be taken for granted.
David de Gea and Cristiano Ronaldo
The only two United players who can look back at their seasons and truly say that they nailed it: De Gea and Ronaldo have been head and shoulders above their teammates with defiant displays.
There’s good reason to think that De Gea could win yet another Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award for reasserting his status as one of the world’s best shot-stoppers with masterclass after masterclass.
And where United would be right now if it wasn’t for Ronaldo doesn’t bear thinking about.
The fact that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is only behind Mohamed Salah and Heung-min Son in the Premier League Golden Boot race with 18 goals in a struggling United team at 37 years old is simply miraculous.
Desperate times at Man Utd
It doesn’t make for pretty reading, does it?
You know it’s been a dreadful season when you can only really write up two complimentary categories and even then, finding the players to include in them wasn’t an easy task.
However, a new start under Ten Hag could change everything at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ and we don’t necessarily think that the players who have struggled in 2021/22 should automatically be moved on.
Like it or not, players such as Maguire and Wan-Bissaka have shone for United in the past and it’s not from without the realms of possibility that the 2022/23 campaign could see them bounce back.
But what we do know for certain is that the Red Devils’ performances this season simply haven’t been good enough and only a select few players can hold their heads up high about their own contributions.
Things have got to change at Old Trafford. Sharpish.