Fight for the Right: Wan-Bissaka aims to overtake Dalot as Man United’s top RB

February 4, 2023

Wan-Bissaka Emerges as a Contender for United’s Starting XI

There were worries about how Diogo Dalot’s absence might affect the team when he was pulled off during the first half of Manchester United’s League Cup quarterfinal victory over Charlton in January. Prior to the World Cup, the Portuguese star had been in excellent form for the Reds; but, the fact that he hasn’t been missed indicates how brilliantly Aaron Wan-Bissaka has played in his place.

The United defender Dalot started in 20 of the first 21 games previous to the World Cup, with the only game he missed due to suspension. He was in the directors’ box at Old Trafford for the 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night. He sustained an injury while in Qatar and did not play again until last month’s victory over Bournemouth.

Despite having seemed unnecessary earlier in the campaign, Wan-Bissaka, who was out of favor, was given a chance to shine while the 23-year-old was sidelined. The English right-back, who cost United £45 million plus £5 million in add-ons, has started United’s last six league contests despite only appearing in four minutes this season up until the World Cup.

He participated in the victories over Burnley, Charlton Athletic, and both games against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup, as well as the FA Cup triumph over Reading. Since entering the game against Liverpool in August for a four-minute cameo, Wan-Bissaka has started ten games and completed all 90 minutes on eight occasions.

The 25-year-old had rumors of going back to Crystal Palace during the January transfer window. It seemed impossible before the end of the previous season that the defender would return to United and play regularly, let alone do so while playing well. The pressure is now primarily on Wan-Bissaka to succeed, though, as Dalot has resumed training after missing time due to an injury.

The United fullback has received two cautions during his four games against his previous team. He only beat the Eagles once, but he also only lost to them once. It isn’t really a surprise that the Palace star defeated him on a couple of occasions given that he faced off against the elusive Wilfried Zaha in each of the four games.

Before the Reds completed significant transfers for him in 2019, Wan-Bissaka played for the London club in just 46 games. At the age of 21, the defender had flourished at Selhurst Park and seemed set for a promotion. He has offered hints of what he is capable of, but in recent seasons, he has found it difficult to establish himself.

But in recent weeks, the defender has proven why the team was so eager to sign him four years ago. Due to the injury of one of his teammates, Wan-Bissaka was given the chance, and to his credit, he seized it.

It would be unexpected to see Dalot’s name on the starting lineup when Erik ten Hag’s team takes on Palace on Saturday, but it is definitely a possibility. Before being injured, the Portugal international was in excellent form, and he deserves the chance to regain those levels. However, his teammate has been performing well lately, so it would be a bold move to remove him from the starting lineup.

It is crucial that Wan-Bissaka fulfills his promise if he is chosen over Dalot. He will undoubtedly face Palace’s top threat once more, but Zaha is a player he is familiar with; last month, when they faced up in the same game, the United defender stopped the Eagles star from scoring a very certain goal.

He put in one of his best performances since making a comeback, and if it weren’t for Michael Olise’s late free kick, he would have added another shutout to his record.

Wan-Bissaka deserves praise for his impressive performances, but it’s also vital to keep in mind how well Dalot had been performing before suffering a hamstring injury. At the beginning of the transfer window, it would have been simple for the right-back to push for a transfer away from Old Trafford, but both he and the team wanted his United career to continue.

Dalot will ultimately have another opportunity to start for the Reds, and that opportunity is most likely to arrive in the upcoming weeks. However, there is a case to be made that Wan-Bissaka should lose for the time being.

A weak performance might result in his replacement, and at the highest level, anyone could face that fate. However, anything that comes near to the standards he has set over the past month or two would give Ten Hag a serious problem with his pick, and that is all he can do.