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26th Jan 2018

Alexis Sanchez impressive but Michael Carrick’s performance gets everyone talking

Good to see him back

Patrick McCarry

He’s back and he’s bearded.

It has taken five months but Michael Carrick finally made his first competitive appearance of the season for Manchester United.

The 36-year-old revealed earlier this season that the club’s doctors had detected heart issues that had prevented him from making an earlier than hoped return to action. This will be Carrick’s final season as a United player and all at the club, and their fans, were delighted to see him back.

Most eyes were on debutant Alexis Sanchez, though. The former Arsenal forward did not score in his first outing for Jose Mourinho’s men but he was busy, and creative.

During his 70 minutes on the pitch, Sanchez created six chances and his assist for Ander Herra’s goal, which made it 2-0 to United, was his 15th goal involvement in his last 15 FA Cup games.

Sanchez will have been pleased with his outing and he was named BBC man-of-the-match by former Arsenal defender Martin Keown.

Many United fans were raving about Carrick and they had every right to. The England international had a typically assured game – 3 successful tackles and 40 passes at a 97% completion rate. He kept United ticking and attacking throughout and was lauded.

Carrick will take up a coaching role at United next season but it’s clear that he still has a role to play on the pitch in the coming months.

Some were hung up on that beard, but what odds…

Good to see him back.