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Can United’s New Star Turn the Tide at Old Trafford?

Erik ten Hag’s Vote of Confidence in Onana: The New Guardian of Old Trafford?

Old Trafford, the Theatre of Dreams, where the ghosts of legends past wander, has seen its share of debuts, heroics, and controversies. As the footballing world tunes into the saga of Andre Onana, the enigmatic Cameroonian shot-stopper, one can’t help but get the sensation of déjà vu.

A Rocky Start for Onana at United

After making a splashy £47.2m move from Inter Milan in the summer transfer window, Onana hasn’t quite been the sentinel Manchester United faithful hoped for. Football, like the tango, takes two. But with Onana, it seems there’s been a misstep in his dance with the Premier League. Having already let in 18 goals this season, including an almost unforgivable lapse against Bayern Munich – with Leroy Sane’s effort sneaking past him – there’s a tangible tension in the Mancunian air.

And then there was that night against Galatasaray in the Champions League. His 56.8% pass completion rate and that heart-stopping pass to Casemiro, leading to an unfortunate penalty, felt like salt on Old Trafford’s wounds.

Ten Hag’s Staunch Defence of His Number One

In the aftermath of the 3-2 defeat, many expected the typical managerial dance: defend the team, blame the referee, or rue missed chances. But Erik ten Hag isn’t your typical manager. Speaking to the press, Ten Hag’s unwavering belief in Onana’s prowess was evident.

“We are happy with our goalkeeping group. Andre was in one semi-final, last season in a final of Champions League,” began Ten Hag, with the conviction of a manager who’s seen enough football to recognise potential. “[He] can be one of the best goalkeepers in the world. We have seen already his great capabilities and also his personality. He will bounce back.”

In a world of fleeting loyalties, Ten Hag’s faith is refreshing. He added, “I have to talk with more players, and Andre of course. I will encourage him and back him. He’s a great goalkeeper. We have to settle down and look forward.”

A Defence in Disarray

However, should the fingers all point at Onana? Perhaps not. As any manager, pundit, or pub-goer will tell you, football is a team sport. The 27-year-old Cameroon international’s struggles have coincided with a Manchester United side that’s faced its own defensive woes.

With injuries plaguing key figures like Luke Shaw, Sergio Reguilon, and Lisandro Martinez – the last of whom is undergoing metatarsal surgery – there’s a makeshift feel to the Red Devils’ backline. Even midfielder Sofyan Amrabat has been drafted in as a left-back!

Onana’s Chance for Redemption

As United prepare to square off against Brentford at Old Trafford this Saturday, all eyes will be on Onana. Can he find his rhythm and secure only his third Premier League clean sheet of the season? Only time will tell.

But one thing’s for sure, with Ten Hag’s belief in his corner, Onana might just rise, reminding everyone why he was sought after in the first place. Old Trafford waits with bated breath.

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