Diogo Dalot can hold his head high after putting in a performance vs Arsenal that nobody was expecting.
Manchester United will be disappointed this morning. The performance didn’t warrant a 3-1 defeat, but that’s football. Erik ten Hag can take some positives from the game, during which the Red Devils were the better side for large periods.
It was the best team performance this season, while from an individual perspective, I was particularly impressed with Diogo Dalot.
I’ll be honest, going into the game, I wanted Sergio Reguilon to start purely because he’s a natural left-back. I’m glad Ten Hag went with Dalot, despite being out of position. The 24-year-old put in a mightily impressive display against one of the best attacks in the league.
From minute one, the man from Portugal looked in control of his situation. Bukayo Saka is one of the best right-wingers in the world. He didn’t trouble Dalot at all, with the United man dominating that individual match-up. Tackles, strength, pace and tactical astuteness. Every point was won by the United man in the one-on-one duel.
Let’s get the elephant out of the room. Everyone is blaming Dalot for sliding in as Jesus made it three, but the game was gone at that point and I honestly don’t use this as an indicator to the overall display. The whole team was pushing forward in frustration and rash decisions were made by everyone. Admittedly, it was a nice bit of skill by the Arsenal man.
Dalot, naturally right-footed, did everything that was asked of him in the defensive aspect and more. That’s his primary job first and foremost and no doubt he’s getting a pat on the back from the gaffer after that.
It’s an interesting story. Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Dalot looked lost. He’d start the Ten Hag regime as the first-choice right-back but Aaron Wan-Bissaka has come on leaps and bounds since. The Spider had more trouble against Gabriel Martinelli than Dalot did with Saka yesterday. That’s further credit to the 24-year-old from Portugal.
Right now, it’s his position to lose. Reguilon will no doubt push hard now that he’s got two weeks of training to impress the gaffer and stake his claim, though it’d be harsh to drop Dalot after that one.
It’s always hard when you’re playing on your weaker side, tackling with the wrong foot and looking to play crosses in off your supposed lesser foot, too. Although there’s room for improvement for Dalot as an attacking left-back, he has all the makings of someone who can make that position his own if given the chance. We know Ten Hag is always willing to put his trust in someone who played well in the game prior. That’s exactly why I reckon Dalot will now be given a deserved run in the team.
To come in and make your first away start of the season, against a top team like that and play like you did was mightily impressive. I doff my cap to you, Diogo. Let’s hope that form can continue.
Do you think Diogo Dalot will retain his place at left-back? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.