Ratings: David De Gea the stand out performer in lacklustre 0-0 draw against AZ Alkmaar

Manchester United were unable to get a shot on goal, let alone score in a poor away match against AZ Alkmaar in The Hague on Thursday evening. It has shown Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he has a lot of work to do with his team in order to drive them to the glory days. This season has shown that this club is on the decline faster than an ice cube in the Sahara.

The Dutch side had four shots on goal, all of them on target with United having three shots, none on target. It ended with both teams having 50% of the ball with United having an 89% passing accuracy with AZ Alkmaar having 88%. United made four blocks in their area with the Dutch side making three. There really was not much more to say about the match.

Marcus Rashford replaced Daniel James in the 63rd minute of the match, to try and seek the elusive goal, unable to do so. Jesse Lingard came on for Mason Greenwood in the 77th minute, possibly having the best chance of the game and not hitting the target from close range. Scott McTominay replaced Juan Mata with seven minutes remaining, unable to drive his team to victory.

This is a worrying sign for United, who are left with little quality in the team at this moment in time. Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial could well be nearing full fitness after long-term injuries, Paul Pogba needs to overcome an ankle injury and both Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah need to overcome knee injuries. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is ill with tonsillitis.

Solskjaer will need to go back to the drawing board, otherwise he could be in deep trouble. The style of play is high pressing, which is not working. There needs to be a massive rebuilding plan with the club seeking to bring in players of quality in the areas lacking, which so far seems to be outfield players with the defence the strongest attribute.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The captain made a great save in the opening 15 minutes of the first half, keeping his side in the game. Alkmaar did get a goal earlier but were ruled offside. In the second half, De Gea pulled off another good diving save to deny the home side from a goal. A clean sheet and a point from the game might be enough for now. On to the next game.


20 Diogo Dalot

The Portuguese right-back looked a bit off the boil in this game, but after not playing much football and being a rookie, what else was to be expected? It is clear to say that Dalot does not offer what Wan-Bissaka does in the team but he should not be written off just yet - he’s got time on his side, something United may not.


2 Victor Lindelof

I though the Swede did well defensively against AZ Alkmaar. He looked confident at times and was under pressure many times, dealing with that effectively. The clean sheet and a point from the game is something to remain positive about as the defence really is the strongest part of this team. Lindelof will be proud.


16 Marcos Rojo

The Argentinian looked like one of the better player last week against Rochdale and got a rare start this evening. With the clean sheet, he did his job. Tried to break forward at times, to no avail. A good defensive performance but not a performance United will be proud of.


53 Brandon Williams

I was happy to see his name on the team sheet tonight. I had hoped that he would have been given time as soon as Shaw was injured. Better late than never, I guess. The 19-year-old did well against his Dutch opposition and held his own at times. He got winded late in the game but came through it.


31 Nemanja Matic

The Serbian midfielder can be slow at times but with another match coming up in three days, rotation was needed, especially with Pogba on the sidelines through injury. Late in the second half, Matic lost the ball at the edge of the United box, but surprised me and pressure the Alkmaar player to regain possession. A good game for the Serbian, despite United looking lacklustre.


8 Juan Mata

The Spanish magician made a rare start, perhaps not having the pace needed to keep the high press running but his knowledge, experience and reading of the game was going to be much-needed in this toughly side. Unable to find anything for United, he was replaced by McTominay in the 83rd minute.


28 Angel Gomes

The academy graduate played 90 minutes against AZ Alkmaar. Passing wise, he had a good game. He helped drive the team forward but could not come up with much to get the better of the home side. United failed to get a shot on target, showing the problems in the team right now. Youth need to be given a chance and all but this is going to be a long, hard season.


17 Fred

The Brazilian start in the Netherlands and at times, his pressing on and off the ball and his eye to spot a pass were good but I thought he did not read danger or play his passes all that well. It might be something that changes over time, but it does not look. These skills should be in the locker of all footballers, no matter what age they are.


21 Daniel James

The Welshman had a good game against the Dutch side but could not find a way forward for United. Seemingly playing as a central attacker, presumably to utilise his pace, which might have been better on the wings, which were less clogged up in the game. In the 63rd minute, Rashford replaced him, presumably he’s in mind to start on Sunday against Newcastle.


26 Mason Greenwood

The 18-year-old started and despite not being able to score or create a goal, he did well against this Dutch side. There was a lack of creativity in the game and United looked so poor against the Dutch side, which could now be their level. Lingard replaced the teenager in the 77th minute.



10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced James 63’. The England forward came on with just under 30 minutes left. Despite breaking forward a few times, and fouled many more times, he was unable to provide the difference this lacklustre team needed - a goal, or a shot on target.


14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Greenwood 77’. When Lingard seems to be the answer to the problem, it makes you wonder what the problem is. It certainly wasn’t finding in winner as when he had the chance, he missed the target completely. He lost his England place, his United place should be at risk too. Came off injured in added time.


39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Mata 83’. The midfielder came on with seven minutes of the match left with United needing a goal to take all three points. Despite scoring at the weekend, he was unable to replicate that. A tough game for United but it will only get tougher with a lack of quality in this team. McTominay adds quality, he has proven that, however, he cannot do it all by himself.


Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Rojo, Williams; Matic; Mata (McTominay 83′), Gomes, Fred, James (Rashford 63′); Greenwood (Lingard 77′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Maguire, Tuanzebe; Chong

Bookings: Diogo Dalot 90+1′

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