Manchester United take all 3 points away from home as a 1-0 victory puts them a win away from the knockout stages.
Today’s performance in Belgrade can be summed up simply – ‘ more of the same’ from United. The same persisting problems were on display. By getting the 3 points and being in the midst of an inevitable progression in the competition really just papers over the cracks.
As per usual United showed promise coming out the blocks and dominated large parts of the possession. Captain Harry Maguire, saw a lot of the ball early on, as he acted as the fulcrum in the centre of the back 3. To the left of him, Brandon Willams was an outlet who seemed really comfortable at left wing-back offensively and defensively.
Manchester United allowed the game to become balanced before a brilliant direct and powerful run from Williams resulted in their defender committing to a tackle and a Penalty in our favor. A penalty that was well taken by Martial.
After the interval, we saw once again that Manchester United are indeed ‘first half FC’. The entirety of the second half saw the red devils unable to create a clear cut chance – a narrative that seems to be a reoccurring one this season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s hand was forced as united chased a second goal to kill the game. Daniel James and Marcus Rashford were brought on early in the second half and added an impetus going forward. The 4-2-3-1 formation returned and tactically going forward the plan seemed to consist of long balls down the channel for Rashford and James to chase. The long balls were built more on hope than any tactical plan.
90 minutes were up and for the second European game in a row, Manchester United failed to register a single shot on target in open play. A terrible stat that sums up where we are as a club. Garner and Williams were our brightest players today but I wouldn’t imagine they will be involved against Norwich. Similar to our tactics Manchester United’s form improving is based on nothing but hope at the moment. A sad state of affairs.