Manchester United’s chances of making it to the Champions League knockout stages are slim to none following their chaotic 3–3 draw with Galatasaray last night.
Alejandro Garnacho and Bruno Fernandes’ early goals had given it the perfect start, but Hakim Ziyech’s soft free kick gave the home team a chance to get back into the match.
After the half, Scott McTominay gave United a two-goal lead again, and it looked like United would win, but they somehow let it slip away after Ziyech scored another simple goal and Muhammed Aktürkoğlu scored a brilliant goal. The following are the primary talking points from the game:
REVIEWS FOR PLAYERS: Fernandes is good, Onana is poor.
MATCH REACTION: Onana’s response to United’s goal demonstrates his need for improvement following Galatasaray’s howlers.
Aspirations for qualification
United had exactly what they needed in the first fifteen minutes of the game if they were to have any chance of sustaining their hopes of qualification.
With two outstanding goals that silenced the home crowd and transformed Hell into Heaven, Garnacho and Fernandes put the team well on their way to finishing runners-up in Group A. Red Devils have a problem because they are much more at ease in the former situation.
Four points is all United has in the group, when they could easily have twelve. They still need to defeat Bayern at home, though that might not be sufficient even then.
The same issues persistently arise.
When playing Bayern Munich, United gave up two goals in four minutes; when playing Copenhagen, they gave up two goals in ten minutes; and last night, they gave up two goals in nine minutes. This is a team that lacks identity, discipline, and control in the most basic sense. You can throw all the blame at Andre Onana.
United must figure out a way to take control of games, whatever comes next. Although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team still plays football and depends on individual performances to win games, Ten Hag had aspirations of establishing a dominant style of play.
Although it has happened frequently enough to be wishful thinking, it is true that United might have prevailed in Istanbul on a different night and put themselves in a favorable position.
Ten Hag has confidence in his signings
Ten Hag made four changes to the United squad despite the fact that the team had just produced its best away performance of the year going into the game. He had signed three of the players.
The starting lineup included Hojlund in place of Martial, Amrabat over Mainoo, Antony over the suspended Rashford. It was an opportunity to defend his own hiring practices, but he also insisted that it was for experience on a pivotal night and their trip to Everton.
It was another challenging night for Amrabat at the center of the United midfield, despite one of Antony’s best performances in a United shirt to date. Hojlund had no real opportunities of his own, but he was a lively attacker.
While Ten Hag’s ability to spot raw talent is obvious, it is more concerning how he employs it and how reliable it is on the field. At United, some signings who might have excelled at Ajax may not do so.
Andre Onana, who was the well-known antagonist against Galatasaray, was the unsung hero of United’s victory at Everton.
It is simple to analyze the ifs and buts of any football game, but in the end, United would have been safe at home if not for his two miscreants. And for the third, he could have done even better.
Though his performance on Wednesday night was marred by his unacceptable mistakes, Onana still made some good plays that raised questions about his long-term suitability as the starting goalie.
Although he has done enough in recent weeks to offset the recent setbacks, it is still unclear if he will be able to live up to the high standards at Old Trafford.
Rashford might find it difficult to get going.
Before kickoff, a lot of talk had been made about Rashford’s suspension. Unbelievably, not much was missed about him.
Even so, this season he has not produced a standout performance. The England international is still United’s best forward on his day. As a substitute, Antony gave one of his best performances while wearing a United shirt to date, and Garnacho added a well-taken goal to cap off an incredible week.
Ten Hag still thinks Garnacho is the best option to address their right-wing problems, and Antony provided hints as to why Garnacho cannot be dropped given his current form.
It is now even more difficult to see where Rashford fits into the United team going forward, having been fortunate enough to maintain his regular role throughout the season. At current pace, a stint on the bench appears inevitable, and he will need to perform well during it to regain a starting position.