Most teenagers make their first Premier League start at home in games that mean very little, however, Axel Tuanzebe was thrown in at the deep end by featuring in a huge top four clash at the Emirates. The youngster played at right-back up against one of the best wingers in the league, in Alexis Sanchez.
From the offset, Tuanzebe, unlike many of his teammates, was calm and composed. Over the duration of the game, the 19-year-old attempted 40 passes and he was successful 81% of the time. While he didn’t do much else going forward, having not attempted a take-on or cross, a conservative performance was expected consider the size of the occasion.
Defensively, however, he was solid. Up against Sanchez, he limited the Chilean’s options, forcing him to drop deep to get involved in play. Sanchez did find a few nice passes from a deep position but he should have been the man on the receiving end of these incisive balls, as oppose to being the creator.
Tuanzebe won five tackles, four against Sanchez and one against Arsenal’s wing-back Kieran Gibbs. In other areas, the 19-year-old made three interceptions and two blocks, stopping some key moves from developing.
It was the impressive defensive work that pleased United fans and Jose Mourinho, who said after the game: “The kid [Tuanzebe] was the same – he did an amazing job. I think Alexis now knows his name. The kid played very well.”
After being on the bench for a number of weeks, Tuanzebe has done his first-team opportunities no harm after pocketing Alexis Sanchez, while looking extremely composed.
The only criticism of his performance came during the second goal where he should have communicated better with Chris Smalling.
Tuanzebe could see Welbeck was free in the box and he could of either told Smalling to drop off a couple of yards or mark the former Manchester United academy graduate himself.
However, picking the youngster up for this is extremely harsh and while he made a mistake on this occasion, he will no doubt learn as he becomes more experienced.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by ninhthuan510.