Manchester United have drawn 1-1 away at Club Brugge.
Anthony Martial’s first half goal earned United a draw and the tie is now up for grabs at Old Trafford next week in the second leg.
Romero still has an unwanted mistake in him
There have been times this season when Sergio Romero has seemed like an equal or even better option than David de Gea.
Those hot takes took a nosedive this evening when Romero was caught in no man’s land for Brugge’s opening goal.
He rushed out when he had no chance of getting to the ball first, and Brugge striker Emmanuel Dennis was gift wrapped a chance to score. He didn’t need asking twice.
Romero has looked good in short stints. This may just be a consequence of a lack of regular football, or perhaps, it’s a sign that the more we see of Romero, the more likely it is the bad side of his game eventually shows up.
Martial may be putting a run together
Anthony Martial did so well to score United’s equaliser. He pounced on a defensive error to go through one on one with the goalkeeper.
Once he had his chance he made no mistake. It was like the 2016 FA Cup semi-final with Everton all over again, totally clinical from the Frenchman.
This is now two goals in two games from Martial, the perfect way for him to respond after the criticism he deservedly received before the winter break.
Goals breed confidence and Martial may have a few more goals coming in upcoming matches. United will need him to.
Too many changes was a risk from Solskjaer
With so many matches upcoming over the next fortnight including one this Sunday, it was inevitable Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would make changes.
Looking at United’s start, he made too many. There were six alterations to the Chelsea line up, and it showed.
United were sluggish and many of the players seemed like they had not had a match for three weeks.
Considering Solskjaer acknowledged United made a rusty start against Chelsea on Monday for this reason, it was poor foresight not to see this coming.
Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard were particularly anonymous while Diogo Dalot was another player who had a testing opening 45 minutes.
Another factor is not just tiredness. United lack the strength in depth to make so many changes and not expect a dip in quality to be clear and obvious.
Away goal crucial
Despite the poor start to the match, Anthony Martial’s goal immediately put United back on top as he made the scoreline 1-1.
Getting the away goal meant that by half-time United were already in a better position than when the match kicked off.
It could be crucial by next week and leaves United in a strong position to qualify for the last 16 at Old Trafford next week.
United went for the win
With the game poised at 1-1, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was not happy with how it stood.
He made an attacking change to try and force the victory, bringing on playmaker Bruno Fernandes and taking off full-back Diogo Dalot.
It nearly paid off straight away with Fernandes setting up Juan Mata with an impressive through ball, which ended with the Spaniard just offside and missing the chance anyway.
Previous managers have been criticised for being too defensive and it was good to see Solskjaer go for it, even though a winner didn’t materialise, Brugge were there for the taking.
One conclusion was that probably Solskjaer should have brought Fernandes on far earlier. United looked a far better side when he and Fred came on in the second half.
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