ARTICLES Player Ratings

Player Ratings: Villarreal 0-2 Manchester United

It was a trip to Spain for Manchester United and caretaker manager Michael Carrick in his first match in charge since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s departure. With seven points going into the fixture against Villarreal, United topped their Champions League group, however much could change, and that’s why this was another important match.

Donny van de Beek and Anthony Martial were introduced to Carrick’s starting team after both having positive impacts coming from the bench against Watford despite the result. Jadon Sancho kept his place on the right-wing, while Alex Telles came in for the injured Luke Shaw at left-back.

While it was a slow start for The Reds, a better shape out of possession meant that it wasn’t another routine early goal for United’s opponents this time around. Instead, the Reds grow into the game and eventually goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho saw United win, and ultimately qualify from their group.

Goalkeeper

David de Gea – 7/10

After his shot-stopping performances dropped off slightly in recent weeks, David de Gea was back to his very best in that department. He made two or three vital saves when the game was in the balance.

Defenders

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 5/10

Some good defensive blocks throughout by Wan-Bissaka, but was part of United’s problems in possession which meant that they failed to get a hold of the game.

Victor Lindelof – 8/10

An assured performance by the Swedish centre-back. Good in possession and was solid out of it too, with an important header at his back post squandering a Villarreal chance. The best of the bunch at the back of United’s team.

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Harry Maguire – 6/10

An underwhelming showing by the man who was sent off against Watford on the weekend. Maguire didn’t take control in possession like he did so throughout the entirety of last season, and was often playing the safe pass; showing his shot-confidence at the moment. If you had to guess which centre-back out there was the captain and £80 million signing, you wouldn’t think it was the Englishman.

Alex Telles – 6/10

While the left-back looked dangerous when he was able to find himself in crossing positions, that didn’t come around too often. His defensive side looked weak, getting taken on easily multiple times, and he wasn’t really able to deal with any kind of press against him on the left when his side was in possession.

Midfielders

Scott McTominay – 4/10

It’s difficult to even try to control a game when the Scotsman is anchoring your midfield. There’s nowhere near enough control in the middle when he doesn’t offer himself in possession enough and makes mature errors on the ball too often. His sloppy pass in the fourth minute almost led to an early goal for the hosts. He was also bypassed too many times when Villarreal were in attack.

Fred – 8.5/10

A very good first-half from the minuscule Brazilian, and he wasn’t too bad in the second either. His intensity out of possession was crucial in United holding out, with a specific role early on meaning that he needed to cover the left side of midfield.

It was that tenacity that saw Fred disposes Étienne Capoue just before the opening goal for United, and then again for when they doubled their lead. A very impressive showing.

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Donny van de Beek – 6.5/10

It was a difficult match for the Dutchman who looked so sharp coming from the bench against Watford. Playing in the attacking midfield role, he was mostly dependant on the ball getting into the advanced areas that he was in, but United’s deeper problems meant that this wasn’t too regular of an occurrence.

He was involved in some nice link-up play in the final third when United could get there, but you couldn’t be too surprised when his number was shown as the man that Bruno Fernandes was replacing after 66 minutes.

Forwards

Jadon Sancho – 9/10

The best player on the pitch. The winger had a slow start to life at the Reds but was at the heart of almost everything that United produced in attack tonight, while also providing stability out of possession on the right-hand side in United’s midfield block.

Some mazy runs and smart passes could’ve been topped by a brilliant goal after a smart one-two with Fernandes, but his shot was saved, he had to wait until the last minute to get his first United goal; with a screamer into the top right corner. Sublime.

Anthony Martial – 6/10

Trusted with a start by Carrick, Martial had some moments where he looked bright in link-up, but mostly he was unable to affect the game in the final third like he was able to a couple seasons prior.

Cristiano Ronaldo – 7.5/10

Another quiet game for Cristiano Ronaldo. Another goal.

He might’ve not been too involved, but the ability for this man to pop up with the goods is humourous. When he was released by Fred after a quick turnover, Ronaldo saw the goalkeeper off his line, and his well-placed chip found the back of the net, making it six goals in five Champions League games this season.

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Substitutes

Marcus Rashford – 7/10

The winger made a positive impact from the bench, making runs in behind a tired Villarreal defence. Involved in the late goal that confirmed United’s progression into the knockouts.

Bruno Fernandes – 7.5/10

Clearly not happy with being dropped, Bruno looked sharp when he came on with some nice passes to the flanks. Whether his assist was intentional or not, it means that he’s created a goal in every Champions League match so far this season.

Juan Mata – N/A

Nemanja Matic – N/A

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