Jadon Sancho has started to settle down at Manchester United after scoring his first Premier League and Champions League goals for the club against Chelsea and Villarreal.
However, dispalys against Arsenal and Crystal Palace were also clear examples of how good the winger can really be, and there was a particular clip against the Eagles that I wanted to highlight.
In the clip, Sancho essentially displays what is the perfect use of gravity. That is when a player will often draw multiple players towards him due to his threat on the ball. We’ve seen that Mason Greenwood has strong gravity due to his excellent shooting ability, and he often drags defenders towards him when he is on the ball in the final third.
The United academy graduate is not always the best at utilising his gravity to help his team, but we hve seen clear improvements from him in this department, and it was a factor in his assist for the winning goal against Palace. After receiving, he had three opponents close him down, including Cheikhou Kouyate, who left his zone on the edge of the box.
Greenwood then plays the pass to the eventual goalscorer Fred, who has time to place his shot since Kouyate was dragged towards Greenwood. Gravity. And using it well.
In the 57th minute of the same game, where United were looking for the opening goal, Sancho gave a lesson in how to best use your gravity; mixed with some wonderful close control.
After Harry Maguire headed the ball back to the wide-man, Sancho firstly recognised the space to run into and didn’t hesitate to exploit it.
His solid first-touch, direct running towards the box and close control allowed him to entice three Palace players towards him. But he then waited for the perfect opportunity to pass the ball. A shot was not once in his mind as he ran towards the six yard box, and the pass to Marcus Rashford was optimal as his marker left him to chase the parading winger.
Sancho waiting that extra split-second to make the pass may not seem important, but it personified his awareness, elite control, technical consistency and ability to know when to make the pass.
While Rashford’s effort was foiled after he was unaware of the incoming defender. The play from Sancho was exquisite, and you almost wished that he was passing the ball to himself inside the area. While Rashford is definitely not poor when it comes to close control and technical consistency; he’s just not quite on Sancho’s level.
It didn’t end in a goal, and it probably wasn’t remembered by too many, but this chance was a perfect example of knowing how to use your gravity as a dangerman in the final third and it is one of Sancho’s best attributes.