After a poor start in the first gameweek of the 2021/22 Champions League season, Manchester United were looking to get back to winning ways against Villarreal. The match started off with Villarreal missing a number of highly lucrative chances, however they did eventually get a reward for all their hard work when they around the hour mark.
However, in brilliant style, Alex Telles scored his first goal for the club with a rocket of a volley from the edge of the area, and Mr Champions League himself, Cristiano Ronaldo, rose to the occassion to save the day in the 95th minute with a lovely piece of combination play alongside Jesse Lingard.
David De Gea – 8/10
The Spaniard could do nothing for the goal that he conceded and made crucial saves early on in the first half in the second half to keep United in the game. His distribution was safe but conclusively had a good match and the saves showed why his stilling United’s No.1.
Diogo Dalot – 3.5/10
The right-back was terrible throughout the game offensively – poor positioning which eventually led to Villarreal’s goal and rarely impacted the game on the offensive end. He was pretty poor in the build-up as well – occasionally getting caught out by Villarreal’s press.
Raphaël Varane 7/10
A decent performance from Varane. He was progressive in possession and was physically commanding when out of possession. He showed a lapse of concentration when he missed judged the bounce of the ball which the Villarreal striker Alcácer pounced on but the shot came to nothing but the mistake was quickly forgotten as he made a crucial block a few minutes later.
Victor Lindelöf – 6.5/10
A solid game from Lindelöf, even though many were wary of his inclusion to an already altered backline but for a defender who struggles when it comes to ground duels he looked quite comfortable.
Alex Telles 6/10
Despite a lovely strike to pull United level early in the second half, the performance was underwhelming from a player of has so much talent to provide in the attacking third. The lack of willingness to get forward was concerning but when he gets his chance to show his quality he showed it with that Arjen Robben-esque finish and defensively he wasn’t troubled 1v1.Embed from Getty Images
Scott McTominay – 4.5/10
McTominay never looked up for it today and seemed scared to come back and take the ball from the backline which saw him put himself and his teammates in dodgy situations when playing out from the back. In the last 15 mins seemed to come into his own with the protection of Nejmana Matic.
Paul Pogba – 6.5/10
Pogba looked lively throughout the first half and came close to assisting on multiple occasions – he played in a more supportive role alongside Bruno Fernandes and the freedom was showing – as he looked comfortable in possession and he looked to break the lines when he could. He quietly fazed out of the game the deeper he dropped and that was unfortunate from United’s perspective because if United were to score he looked like the one to be involved in it.
Bruno Fernandes – 7/10
It was a typical Bruno performance. Always involved, constantly looking for that threatening pass that would break the deadlock but there were times where he would occasionally lose possession when he really shouldn’t be. But he showed clever thinking with Alex Telles when taking the free kick and got the assist that started the monument for United.Embed from Getty Images
Mason Greenwood – 5/10
Just like the other forwards in the first half, he was quite and ineffective. Showed a moment of brilliance in winning the free-kick that eventually led to the equalizer but overall he was reserved throughout the game for his standards.
Jadon Sancho – 5/10
Sancho continued his underwhelming start to his Manchester United career tonight. He looked creative and forward-thinking in possession but it rarely ended up being a good chance at the end of it. Defensively he was really impressive in helping Telles with the overloads but ultimately the lack of help from Telles to provide an option to play off it meant his play was too predictable.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 7.5/10
On a record-breaking night for the Portuguese icon – becoming the highest appearance maker in the Europe’s most coveted competition, it wasn’t an iconic performance overall. He had a quiet first half – apart from the occasional drop into pockets that would get him touches on the ball, and that continued onto the second half but when Edison Cavani came on and Ronaldo was shifted to the left, it started to feel poetic again.
And poetic it was, because in the dying seconds when United needed him the most, he showed up to score a late winner which probably overshadowed his performance as a whole.
Nemanja Matic – 6.5/10
Although he was only on the pitch for no more than 15 minutes, his composing presence was game-changing. Matic had little to do but the things he did do made the difference in a moment where United just need composure.
Edison Cavani 7/10
Just like Matic, he came on and his presence up top was needed. The pressing was refreshing and the moments of class were on show to see and like always he’s movement caused problems for the opposition.Embed from Getty Images
Jesse Lingard – 6/10
He came on, he got into the box and he passed it to Ronaldo and United scored. Simple as that really.
Fred – N/A
Fred did put in the cross that led to Ronaldo’s last-gasp winner, however the rest of his contribution during the match was not enough to warrent a rating.