It was a nail-biting encounter at Old Trafford. Manchester United scraped through via a world-class moment from Marcus Rashford and Jose Mourinho’s Europa League ambitions continue. Much was learnt from a nervous night at the Theatre of Dreams
You’re too good Tielemans
He’s 19 years of age. He’s made over 100 appearances already and finished off Thursday night’s fixture with the captain armband. Youri Tielemans is clearly a prospect. The midfielder is among the new breed of dynamic players; players who can run with aggression, defend with composure and pick out a sumptuous pass.
The kid is simply sensational for his age. It’s no surprise Europe’s biggest clubs are sniffing around. This midfield dynamite has the potential to play absolutely anywhere; if we are comparing him to like-minded peers, he exceeds Bayern Munich’s Renato Sanches.
Athletic, intelligent and explosive, Tielemans will command a staggering fee when Anderlecht finally part with him.
Lead the line Rashford
A fantastic display against Chelsea on Sunday was followed up by another on Thursday. Rashford looked threatening all night, cutting in from wide to wreak havoc. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury, on the stroke of the 90, meant Rashford was charged with the task of leading the line.
And boy did he do it emphatically. Strong in possession and deft in his movement, the young Englishman has the potential to fire United to European glory. It looks like Zlatan will be out for the rest of the season – his injury looked like a serious one.
Rashford’s finish was sublime. He now has a chance to stake his claim to lead the line next season; his energy and ferocious pace will complement the vision packed within the United midfield. Here’s your chance, Marcus.
I know, I know. A lot has been written about United’s £90 million man. He has been inconsistent in his first year back at United, but tonight, we saw the Pogba United thought they were buying. There were mishaps, loose touches and some stray passes, but on the whole, the Frenchman was commanding and aggressive.
There was none of the faux-nonchalance; Pogba has often tried to mimic the style of Andre Pirlo this season. But Pirlo he is not, and it seems like he has realised this. Pogba used his immense physicality and was the dynamic midfielder the Reds so crave.
Shaw sound again
It was a bit of a shaky start from the left-back, but he grew into the game and once again showed why United forked out £30 million for his services in the first place.
Solid in defence and always available when attacking, the young Lion will have pleased an on-looking Jose Mourinho.
Unlucky not to get an assist after a lovely run and inviting cross, Shaw will be content – and should be – with his performance tonight and will expect to be more regularly involved as United approach the business end of the season.
Marcos Rojo limped off, United fans sighed in disbelief. The Red Devils have just one recognised centre-back – Eric Bailly. Rojo and Bailly had formed what looked to be a formidable partnership at the back; if anyone wants any proof of this, just look at the way the pair handled Diego Costa last Saturday.
Without Rojo, United will most likely have to make do with Daley Blind. A competent replacement, but no central defender – Bailly will have to do the physical work associated with the centre of defence of two people, rather than one.