Get Alejandro Garnacho in that starting XI! Winners & losers as Man Utd's Argentine gem shows he's the real deal yet again to leave Antony sweating on his place

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Alejandro Garnacho Antony Erik ten Hag Man Utd 2022-23
The teenager - who is going to be a hell of a player - deserves to start the next game after scoring just a few minutes into his return from injury

'Viva Ronaldo' was the soundtrack to games at Old Trafford last season but 'Viva Garnacho' fever has taken over. The Argentine had spent the last two months recovering from a cruel ankle injury that derailed his breathtaking first season in the first team but on his return to action against Wolves, he gave the fans what they had been craving, a second goal to clinch a 2-0 win.

After taking four points from their last four games and with Liverpool breathing down their necks after winning their last six matches, United's hopes of finishing in the top four were hanging by a thread.

A first-half goal from Anthony Martial set United on their way to a much-needed victory but Wolves did not lie down and threatened to find an equaliser deep into the second half. That all changed when Garnacho entered the pitch as he sunk Julen Lopetegui's side once and for all with a clinical finish in off the post in injury time. He proceeded to rip off his shirt and celebrate in front of the Stretford End - what a moment.

Garnaco has not been able to play since damaging his ankle ligaments on March 12 but his return could not come at a better time for United. They need two victories from their final three league games to seal their place in the top four and they have the small matter of the FA Cup final against Manchester City.

Garnacho wanted to join up with Argentina for the Under-20 World Cup but United said 'no' as they need him for the rest of the campaign. If his first game back is anything to go by, he could prove very useful indeed.

GOAL breaks down the winners and losers from Old Trafford...

  1. WINNER: Alejandro Garnacho
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    WINNER: Alejandro Garnacho

    The mere sight of the Argentine warming up raised the spirits of United fans and despite more than two months out recovering from a serious injury, he showed he has lost none of the spark and verve which made them fall in love with him.

    His time away from the action did show at first when he frustrated Fernandes by over-hitting a pass towards him. But he more than compensated when he raced on to the Portugal international's pass through the middle in added time, pausing for a second while he picked his spot and sent the ball in off the post.

    Garnacho's rise from the youth team to the first team has been one of the stories of the season and it was so cruel that he got injured just as he was about to make his debut for Argentina. United have also suffered without him and how they could have done with his finishing ability in their previous 10 games, when they scored fewer goals than any other Premier League side.

    But he is back, he has just signed a new contract and he has three more league games plus the FA Cup final to round off an inspiring breakthrough campaign.

  2. LOSER: Antony
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    LOSER: Antony

    The most expensive player in United's squad did not exactly have a quiet game. He set up Anthony Martial's opening goal and was the team's most active forward, repeatedly stretching the Wolves defence. But for the third game in a row, he was wasteful in front of goal.

    The match was only a few minutes old when he cut inside from the right wing and curled the ball just wide of the far post. It was by no means a sitter but given how cutting inside is one of his best abilities, he needs to be better at finishing from this type of range. At the very least, he needs to be working the goalkeeper.

    His worst miss was when he spurned a free header from only a few yards out after being set up by a wonderful cross from Luke Shaw. A player who cost in the region of £85 million ($105m) needs to be scoring chances like this, even if heading is not one of his attributes.

    He also showed suspect decision making. He had the Old Trafford crowd on their feet when he came thrusting down the right wing late in the first half, with Jadon Sancho in a perfect position to his left. But the Brazilian instead decided to attack the space, dithering between going for goal himself and finding a team-mate. He eventually played the ball back to Martial, who was in a far worse position than Sancho.

    Erik ten Hag campaigned fiercely to bring Antony to the club, who eventually paid over the odds for him. And with his first season at the club almost complete, he still looks like a one-dimensional player, incapable of scoring the simplest of chances.

  3. WINNER: United's home form
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    WINNER: United's home form

    If United do end up finishing in the top four, it will largely be thanks to their imperious home form. United's performances and results at Old Trafford have been a Godsend, especially considering how bad they have been away. For only the fourth time in their history, United have won 25 home matches this season, equalling the tally from the 2007-08 campaign when they won the league and Champions League.

    If they win their remaining home games against Chelsea and Fulham, they will equal their record 27 home victories from the 2002-03 campaign. They have the longest unbeaten home run in the Premier League, having only lost once, in their opening game of the season against Brighton. And their last defeat in any competition was against Real Sociedad in the Europa League on September 8.

    Ten Hag's side always seem to raise their game at home, regardless of who they are playing. They have won 13 of their 17 Premier League matches at Old Trafford and beaten almost all of their rivals there too, taking care of Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham. And they knocked Barcelona out of the Europa League with a second-half comeback.

    It's a shame they can't play every game at the Theatre of Dreams, which has turned into a nightmare destination for their opponents.

  4. LOSER: Liverpool

    LOSER: Liverpool

    United's woeful away form had breathed life into Liverpool's hopes of finishing in the top four after Jurgen Klopp's side chopped their seven-point deficit on the Red Devils down to just one. Had United slipped up here, then Liverpool would have leapfrogged them into fourth spot with victory at Leicester on Monday.

    But United's home form spells bad news for the Merseysiders. After this victory, they now need just two more wins to guarantee their place in the top four and seal a return to the Champions League.

    And they have Chelsea and Fulham to play at Old Trafford, plus a trip to Bournemouth, who have nothing to play for now that they have avoided relegation.

    With United looking so solid at home, Liverpool's best chance of nabbing a top-four spot could now lie in catching Newcastle, who drew 2-2 at Leeds on Saturday.

  5. WINNER: Bruno Fernandes
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    WINNER: Bruno Fernandes

    Martial may have gotten the goal and Antony the assist, but the opening strike owed so much to Fernandes' fight and quick thinking. The Portuguese battled to win the ball back in Wolves' half and as soon as he received the ball from Jadon Sancho, he split the Wolves defence open with a dream pass into the path of Antony.

    In a scrappy match in which a lot of United's starters struggled to stand out, Fernandes was a guiding force. He was the one always looking to lead the team forward, launching practically every attack from deep and constantly demanding the ball.

    He kept on searching for the team's second goal and found it with an exquisite pass into Garnacho. The fans naturally chanted the Argentine teenager's name at full-time but they also gave Fernandes the ovation he deserved. Since his diabolical display at Anfield, the Portuguese has been the team's most influential and important player, proving he is worthy of the captain's armband.

  6. LOSER: Anthony Elanga and Facundo Pellistri
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    LOSER: Anthony Elanga and Facundo Pellistri

    You have to feel for United's other wingers. Anthony Elanga and Facundo Pellestri were both on the bench today but there was only one man the fans wanted to see.

    Garnacho has been out of action for more than two months but neither the Swede nor the Uruguayan managed to take advantage of his absence by getting any meaningful time in the first team. And now that he is back - and just as decisive as before - the pair stand little chance of returning to the team.

    In his second season at United, Elanga has only played 424 minutes in the Premier League. At the age of 21, he needs to be playing regular football and with Garnacho usurping him as the next big youngster to come through from the academy into the first team, he is highly unlikely to get it at United.

    Pellistri's situation is slightly less urgent as it's only his debut campaign, but he should at least be looking for a loan move next season. He has made only seven appearances and just one start and any hope he had of more chances in the first team has just been dashed by his fellow South American.