Main man fluffs his lines and five things we learned as Manchester United stumble to draw with Young Boys
Manchester United stutter to draw
Manchester United have already finished atop their Champions League group, and therefore it was a heavily rotated side that Ralf Rangnick opted for in their home tie against Swiss outfit Young Boys, making a full 11 changes.
Ralf freshens up his side for tonight’s #UCL encounter! 📋👊#MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 8, 2021
And it was not long before they took the lead against the side that beat them on matchday 1, with Mason Greenwood producing an outrageous finish in the opening minutes to open the scoring.
🌟 STARBOY 🌟
Mason Greenwood is the real deal. What a finish! 😍 pic.twitter.com/HudtL0a1Jd
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) December 8, 2021
On the stroke of half-time, however, they were pegged back, when Fabien Rieder pounced on some sloppiness from Donny Van De Beek to curl home from outside the area.
What a strike to draw Young Boys level 🚀
Fabien Rieder gets his name up in lights at Old Trafford with a brilliant curling effort from outside the box!#UCL pic.twitter.com/QlKzmqy9Wi
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 8, 2021
They began the second half the brighter of the two as well, creating several good chances as Manchester United rang the changes.
Debuts came for Tom Heaton, Charlie Savage and Zidane Iqbal in a second half that Young Boys dominated but failed to make their chances pay, but that United ultimately walked away from with a point.
Here are five things that 101 picked out from the game.
Rangnick tactics taking shape
Once again, Manchester United set up in Rangnick’s preferred 4-2-2-2 formation, albeit with an entirely different cast.
And it worked, sort of. The Red Devils were certainly more active in the final third, pressing higher up the pitch and forcing mistakes, more often than they had done under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
However, there were still gaps: as is perhaps to be expected between players that have mostly never shared a pitch, there was a poor level of communication, and moves failed to work with any great fluidity.
Nevertheless, the blueprint for how Rangnick wants his side to play, and there are signs that Manchester United could benefit.
Mason Greenwood needs to start on Saturday
Of the starting XI, only young star Mason Greenwood really hammered down Rangnick’s door about the possibility of starting against Norwich City on Saturday evening.
The England man was the brightest player on the pitch in the first half, providing the moments of quality in an otherwise close first half. It was he that opened the scoring, before he pulled out a pair of sumptuous passes to play in his fellow forwards, who subsequently squandered the chances.
Said it many times but it’s worth repeating: what a wonderfully gifted young footballer @masongreenwood is. Talent alone is never enough, of course, but if his attitude is as impressive then the sky’s the limit.
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) December 8, 2021
In Rangnick’s 4-2-2-2 system, the obvious place for Greenwood is alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the attack, and with his clinical finishing and hard running, he could prove a perfect partner to the ageing star.
Luke Shaw building up fitness
Another encouraging sight for Manchester United fans was the return of Luke Shaw, who was building up his fitness as he looks to return to Premier League action.
The England full-back has missed the last three Premier League games, and the last international break, with a head injury that he sustained against Watford. However, he completed just less than an hour against the Swiss outfit as he works his way back.
✅ Back in the starting XI
✅ An assist after 9 minutes
A great first impression from Luke Shaw. 👍 pic.twitter.com/R4QJg3QzXB
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 8, 2021
And while he looked somewhat off the pace, he will certainly be in the reckoning to take his spot on the left side of the defence back off Alex Telles in the coming Premier League games.
Donny Van De Beek fluffs his lines
If there were positives for Greenwood and Shaw, then it was a night to forget for Donny Van De Beek.
A new manager brought with it the hope for more game time for the man signed from Ajaz eighteen months ago, and while that has transpired, it is up to the Dutchman to prove that he deserves to retain a place.
Van de beek is poor done nothing very poor ole was right not to play him he offer nothing
— Andy Sutton (@Supersooty1Andy) December 8, 2021
And, on tonight’s viewing, he didn’t. A sloppy performance, which included giving the ball away for the Young Boys equaliser, has only strengthened the backing for Fred and Scott McTominay, who were favourites under Solskjaer.
Amad Diallo needs a loan away
Amad Diallo was a victim of a training ground injury in the summer, which meant that a loan move to Feyenoord fell through. The Dutch club ultimately opted to take Arsenal’s Reiss Nelson on loan instead, leaving Diallo stuck at Old Trafford.
And, as the opening half of the season has shown, he is not yet in the first team reckoning, with the likes of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood all able to play in the wide berths.
19 – With Anthony Elanga and Amad Diallo both starting for @ManUtd tonight, the Red Devils have named more than one teenager in their starting XI for a Champions League game for the first time since November 2009 vs Beskitas (Macheda, Welbeck, Rafael). Opportunity.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 8, 2021
Now, with January looming, the Ivorian winger needs a loan move away to really show what he can do and continue to game first-team experience. At the moment, he is wasting in the reserves.
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