Five things learned as Manchester United draw 1-1 against Young Boys
A much-changed Manchester United drew 1-1 against Young Boys at Old Trafford, in the final Champions League Group F game.
United took the lead in the ninth minute through an acrobatic left-footed volley from Mason Greenwood after a Luke Shaw cross.
Young Boys equalised on the stroke of half-time, following some lackadaisical play from Donny van de Beek. The Dutchman gave away possession on the edge of his own box and Fabian Rieder hit an unstoppable effort into the top corner, which left Dean Henderson with no chance.
Here are five things we learned from the clash under the lights at Old Trafford…
Mason Greenwood shines as number nine
After having a positive impact off the bench against Crystal Palace, Greenwood was back in the starting line-up and back playing up front for United.
United’s number 11 was making his first start since the 2-0 defeat against Manchester City last month, and he once again showcased his goalscoring prowess.
The 20-year-old clinically finished Shaw’s cross, but it would have been Greenwood’s work out of possession, which would have impressed Ralf Rangnick.
The England international was constantly pressing the Young Boys defenders and it was his work rate which presented a great chance for Juan Mata.
Greenwood robbed possession high up the pitch and then strolled past the defender, before playing a perfectly-weighted pass into the Spaniard.
With Rangnick once again deploying a 4-2-2-2 formation, Greenwood will be hoping his eye-catching performance warrants a Premier League start alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at Norwich on Saturday.
Sweeper keeper Henderson
Despite making just his second appearance of the season, Henderson showed no signs of ring rust and he looked to impress his new manager.
Young Boys played a number of balls in behind United’s defence, but the England international raced off his line, time and time again.
The 24-year-old was off his line and playing the role of sweeper keeper in the same way Manuel Neuer would.
Henderson’s ability to sweep up is an area of David de Gea’s game that does need work, but the academy graduate’s shot-stopping skills were also up to the test from the reigning Swiss champions.
The clash against David Wagner’s side could be Henderson’s last in a United shirt this season, with a January loan a real possibility.
Rock solid Bailly
With Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof given the night off, Eric Bailly was partnered at the heart of United’s defence Nemanja Matic.
The Ivorian was making his fifth start of the season and he produced a faultless performance which would have no doubt impressed Rangnick.
Composed in possession, aggressive defending and blistering recovery speed, Bailly showed the qualities he can bring to this United side.
With Raphael Varane back in training, Rangnick is going to have a full compliment of centre backs to choose from.
Rangnick gives youngsters debuts
The German interim boss gave Anthony Elanga his Champions League debut from the start and also handed Amad Diallo his first appearance for United, in Europe’s top club competition.
The Swedish under-21 international had a great chance to score in the second half after being played in by Jesse Lingard, but his effort was saved by Guillaume Faivre.
Teden Mengi came on for Luke Shaw at left-back on the hour mark to make his CL debut. There was a stark contrast between the next two debutants as Shola Shoretire and Tom Heaton came on at the same time.
The 17-year-old Shoretire, who has featured for the United first team before, made his Champions League debut after coming on for Amad. But the 35-year-old Heaton was making his first appearance for United.
Charlie Savage, Robbie Savage’s son, and Zidane Iqbal also made their debuts with late substitute cameo appearances.
Changes impact performance
With Rangnick making 11 changes to the starting line-up that beat Crystal Palace on Sunday, it was understandable that the team looked a little disjointed at times.
We are still very early into the 63-year-old’s reign at Old Trafford, but it was important that he gave his senior stars a much-needed rest ahead of a crucial festive run of fixtures.
It also gave Rangnick a good opportunity to look at players who haven’t featured much recently and give some of the club’s emerging stars a priceless experience.
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