Thursday’s game marked the return of Europa League football at Manchester United, which is a statement every fan will hate reading.
United played host to FC Astana, who play in the Kazakhstan
Premier League, and expectations were huge to say the least.
After a dissapointing, yet dominant first half, United finally took a deserved lead in the 74th minute courtesy of Mason Greenwood, who was one of the better players today in an average team performance. They got there in the end, but not without difficulty due to the brilliant performance of Astana goalkeeper Eric.
There aren’t many positives with a team like Manchester United competing in the Europa League, as opposed to the Champions League, but one big positive would be the opportunities given to the youngsters Axel Tuanzebe (21), Tahith Chong (19), Mason Greenwood (17), and Angel Gomes (19) were all included in the starting lineup.
Let’s review how they, and the rest of the United side performed.
Sergio Romero - 5
Never tested seriously.
Diogo Dalot - 6
Dalot put in a mixed performance, got forward regularly, showed great skill on occasion, but his final product was inconsistent.
Phil Jones - 4
Poor in possession and never looked comfortable on the ball.
Axel Tuanzebe - 6
Looked assured and confident on the ball. Defended soundly and ventured into midfield.
Marcos Rojo - 6
Played well and made a ton of opportunities for Marcus Rashford, and nearly scored a screamer.
Nemanja Matic - 4
With all due respect, Matic gave a predictably dull performance. Very average.
Fred - 6
One of the better performers in the first half. Fred passed well and looked assured. He also hit the woodwork but tailed off in second half.
Angel Gomes - 7
Gomes played very well, his eagerness, calmness, skill and confidence shown on the ball was really impressive. He looked like a player gunning for a start on Sunday, and we agree. Taken off rather unfairly for Juan Mata.
Tahith Chong - 4
Chong battled well but was erratic at times and struggled with his final product. Substituted in the second half.
Mason Greenwood - 7
Broke the deadlock with a great touch and finish from a difficult angle. Played well throughout.
Marcus Rashford - 6
Struggled to find the net despite an array of clear cut opportunities. Apart from this, he linked well with others and kept plugging away.
SUB: Juan Mata - 5
Mata was instantly involved, showing some neat interchanges and looking for that forward ball.
Jesse Lingard - 5
Tried to up the pace of the game after he came on. Hit the post with a long-range effort.
Ashley Young - 4
Didn’t provide much and wasn’t really tested. Brought some much-needed experience to help see out the game.