Menu

Review & Ratings: United beaten in Kazakhstan; Lingard’s first goal of 2019, Chong miss was costly and youth taking their chances

Manchester United were beaten 2-1 by Astana at the Astana Arena in Kazakhstan. It was a game that saw United ahead in the tenth minute of the match through Jesse Lingard, who scored his first goal of 2019. However, second after Tahith Chong missed a sitter, Astana were level and seven minutes after that, they were winning.

United took the lead in the tenth minute of the match after a good start in the game, despite the number of teenage players in the starting XI. Luke Shaw was involved in the build up, driving the ball into the box before laying the ball to Jesse Lingard, the captain during this game, who then fired into the back of the goal to put United ahead.

United had the chance to take a 2-0 lead around ten minutes into the second half by Tahith Chong, yards from a seemingly open goal, missed the target which was costly for United as Astana equalised seconds later through Dmitry Shomko. Seven minutes later, the Kazakhstani champions took the lead after the ball was deflected off Di’Shon Bernard.

Manchester United

13 Lee Grant

A first start in a competitive match for Lee Grant during his two-year spell at the club could not result in a clean sheet, despite the veteran goalkeeper looking aware throughout the match, despite not having a lot to do.

12345

41 Ethan Laird

I was impressed with Ethan Laird. His pace is great and he did himself proud in his position, getting forward at times to help the attack. He will be seen in the first team again, no doubt.

12345

58 Di’Shon Bernard

This was always going to be a tough task for the teenager but he held him self well at times. Unfortunately for him, a deflection meant that he scored an own goal seeing Astana take the lead in the 62nd minute of the match.

12345

38 Axel Tuanzebe

The academy graduate looked rusty against Astana but it was great to see him back in the team after an injury layoff. I am sure he will be back to his best soon enough, putting pressure on Victor Lindelof in the coming weeks.

12345

23 Luke Shaw

Granted he's been out injured since August but when I look at him and Brandon Williams, it is the latter that I see making this position his own. He got an assist for Jesse Lingard's opener and put some work in for the chance that Tahith Chong missed. Still work to be done to get back ahead of Williams.

12345

37 James Garner

I think James Garner did well alongside Dylan Levitt. They both need opportunities in the first team in the future.

12345

35 Dylan Levitt

The Welsh midfielder did well with James Garner in the centre or midfield. Deserving of more opportunities in the future. A talent like him should be well ahead of Andreas Pereira, who offers nothing much in the squad.

12345

44 Tahith Chong

The 19-year-old played well at times against Astana but just under ten minutes into the second half, he has a great opportunity to put United 2-0 up, missing from close-range. Seconds later, Astana had scored the equaliser. The writing is on the wall with him now, knuckle down or your career at United will be behind you.

12345

14 Jesse Lingard

The 26-year-old scored his first goal in 2019 after Luke Shaw layed the ball to him against the Kazakhstani side. The captain of the evening rose to the occasion, but would need to do so consistently in order to offer something to his club and more importantly, his manager.

12345

Review & Ratings: United beaten in Kazakhstan; Lingard’s first goal of 2019, Chong miss was costly and youth taking their chances

The player was in and out of the game and really needs to push himself to succeed. His free-kick late in the game was a good one which produced a great save from the goalkeeper.

12345

11 Mason Greenwood

The young forward led the line well and gave Astana something to worry about at times. Saw a shot on goal saved, had some good runs and looked the part, minus a bit of experience, which this will have brought for him.

12345

Substitutes

49 D’Mani Mellor

Replaced Chong 65'. Seemed much better in this position over Tahith Chong. Added some direct play to the attack and saw a lot of the ball at times. A debut to make him proud, maybe?

12345

Review & Ratings: United beaten in Kazakhstan; Lingard’s first goal of 2019, Chong miss was costly and youth taking their chances

Replaced Garner 84'. I was excited to see him play today and would have liked to have seen him start. Did well, despite having six minutes pluse added time on the pitch. Not a bad debut.

12345

54 Ethan Galbraith

Replaced Gomes 89'. Literally had a minute plus added time on the pitch. Not nearly enough time to get involved in the game.

12345

Goals: Dmitry Shomko 55′, Di’Shon Bernard 62′ (og); Jesse Lingard 10′

Assists: Roman Murtazaev 55′; Luke Shaw 10′

Manchester United: Grant; Laird, Bernard, Tuanzebe, Shaw; Garner (Ramazani 84′), Levitt; Chong (Bughail-Mellor 65′), Lingard, Gomes (Galbraith 89′); Greenwood

Substitutes Not Used: Kovar; Mengi, Taylor; Galbraith, Puigmal; Ramazani

Bookings: Runar Mar Sigurjonsson 39′, Yuri Logvunenko 69′, Abzal Beysebekov 81′, Dmitry Shomko 83′; Dylan Levitt 59′, Jesse Lingard 88′

Confirmed Starting XI: First team debuts for Laird, Bernard and Levitt against Astana; Greenwood leading the line with Chong, Lingard and Gomes supporting

Manchester United will play their penultimate UEFA Europa League group stage match against Astana in the Astana Arena in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan this afternoon (in the United Kingdom). The match will kick off at 15:50 GMT, 21:50 local time. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer named a very young squad with ten players who have not yet made their debuts for the United first team.

There are also four players who have played for the first team this season, some of them sparingly and four players who are considered experienced, either seeking minutes of a way to get back into the first team after injury or a year of poor form, guess who?. The blooding of youth is going to be great for United as there are so many talented players in the youth teams seeking their chances.

Astana have been eliminated from the Europa League this season, despite having two more matches to play, which will end their 2019 season, of which they were crowned as the Kazakhstani Premier League champions once again. United will be seeking to bounce back from their 3-3 draw against Sheffield United on Sunday but will be rested ahead of the important visit of Aston Villa to the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday afternoon. Come on United!

Manchester United:

Grant;

Laird, Bernard, Tuanzebe, Shaw;

Garner, Levitt;

Chong, Lingard, Gomes;

Greenwood

Substitutes:

Kovar; Mengi, Taylor; Galbraith, Puigmal; Bughail-Mellor, Ramazani

Astana:

Eric;

Rukavina, Postnikov, Logvinenko, Shomko;

Beysebekov, Maevski, Sigurjonsson, Rotariu;

Khizhnichenko, Murtazaev

Substitutes:

Mokin; Muzhikov, Pertsukh, Zhakipbayev, Janga, Zhalmukan; Prokopenko

United and Astana have played one in the history of both clubs. That match was played on the 9 September at Old Trafford in a match which saw Mason Greenwood score his first goal for the first team in a season which could see him becoming a much more relied upon player in the squad. Solskjaer has made a big decision to let youth prevail in this match and if they do well, we could see something exciting this season.

How Manchester United could look against Astana; 4-3-3 with five debutants – Ramazani, Levitt, Laird, Mengi and Bernard

Manchester United will play their penultimate UEFA Europa League group stage match against Astana in the Astana Arena in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan on Thursday afternoon (in the United Kingdom). The match will kick off at 15:50 GMT, 21:50 local time. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer named a very young squad with ten players who have not yet made their debuts for the United first team.

There are also four players who have played for the first team this season, some of them sparingly and four players who are considered experienced, either seeking minutes of a way to get back into the first team after injury or a year of poor form, guess who?. The blooding of youth is going to be great for United as there are so many talented players in the youth teams seeking their chances.

Astana have been eliminated from the Europa League this season, despite having two more matches to play, which will end their 2019 season, of which they were crowned as the Kazakhstani Premier League champions once again. United will be seeking to bounce back from their 3-3 draw against Sheffield United on Sunday but will be rested ahead of the important visit of Aston Villa to the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday afternoon. Come on United!

Goalkeeper: Lee Grant

The veteran goalkeeper made one appearance last season, coming on for Sergio Romero against Derby County in the Carabao Cup, which United lost on penalties. He has played for the U23s as the overage goalkeeper, the most recent appearance last weekend, presumably to ensure he is ready to face Astana on Thursday in the penultimate Europa League group stage match this season. He can add some experience in what will be seen as a very young squad.

Defenders: Ethan Laird, Teden Mengi, Di’Shon Bernard, Luke Shaw

The defence, if I am right in my prediction, will have one experienced player; Luke Shaw, despite him coming back from a nearly three months injury layoff. Ethan Laird, Teden Mengi and Di’Shon Bernard could all make their debuts for United in what will be seen as an exciting time for supporters who have seen this trio play for the U23s and the U18s in the last few seasons. It is a gamble for Solskjaer, but a gamble which little to lose and a lot to gain.

Midfield Three: James Garner, Tim Fosu-Mensah, Dylan Levitt

I would imagine that Solskjaer may not opt for a 4-3-3 formation, but rather a 4-2-3-1 formation. I think this formation would enable Solskjaer to test Tim Fosu-Mensah in a defensive midfield position, which would benefit both he player and the club. Adding James Garner and Dylan Levitt in midfield would add pace, creativity and determination into the midfield, something that has been lacking for the past few months because of injury, inexperience and such a small squad.

Forward Three: Largie Ramazani, Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong

The attacking trio are just as exciting as the rest of the team. Largie Ramazani has scored nine goals and assisted two more whilst playing for the U23s this season. He is such an exciting player and one who could grow into becoming a decent winger in the first team. Tahith Chong has played 152 minutes in the first team this season, playing a lot more at youth level. Yet to score for the first team, he has scored four times at youth level, assisting two more goals. Mason Greenwood has scored four goals at first team level this season, assisting another. At youth level, he has scored twice. There are definitely goals in this trio.

Substitutes: Matej Kovar; Max Taylor; Ethan Galbraith, Arnau Puigmal, Jesse Lingard, Angel Gomes; D’Mani Bighail-Mellor

On the bench, there will be five more players who are yet to feature for the first team; Matej Kovar, Max Taylor, Ethan Galbraith, Arnau Puigmal, and D’Mani Bughail-Mellor, and at least three of them could gain that on Thursday. In terms of experience, Angel Gomes and Jesse Lingard could also make an appearance. Perhaps Lingard will start, however, he’s done nothing, at least for me, to warrant a place in this team, let alone a starting position. No goals this calendar year. Worrying.

Preview: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to blood in the youth against Astana in a match that could be great for the future of the club

FC Astana -v- Manchester United

UEFA Europa League

Astana Arena, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

Thursday 28 November 2019, KO 15:50 GMT

Referee: Andre Marriner  Assistants: Simon Long; Sian Massey-Ellis Fourth Official: Andy Madley

Manchester United will play their penultimate UEFA Europa League group stage match against Astana in the Astana Arena in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan on Thursday afternoon (in the United Kingdom). The match will kick off at 15:50 GMT, 21:50 local time. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer named a very young squad with ten players who have not yet made their debuts for the United first team.

There are also four players who have played for the first team this season, some of them sparingly and four players who are considered experienced, either seeking minutes of a way to get back into the first team after injury or a year of poor form, guess who?. The blooding of youth is going to be great for United as there are so many talented players in the youth teams seeking their chances.

Astana have been eliminated from the Europa League this season, despite having two more matches to play, which will end their 2019 season, of which they were crowned as the Kazakhstani Premier League champions once again. United will be seeking to bounce back from their 3-3 draw against Sheffield United on Sunday but will be rested ahead of the important visit of Aston Villa to the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday afternoon. Come on United!

Form: Four wins, a draw and a defeat for United in their last six matches whereas Astana have three wins and three defeats in their last six. This will be a match where youth can prevail.

Manchester United: DWWLWW

Sheffield United 3-3 D, Brighton And Hove Albion 3-1 W, Partizan Belgrade 3-0 W, Bournemouth 1-0 L, Chelsea 2-1 W, Norwich City 3-1 W

FC Astana: LLWWWL

Irtysh 2-0 L, AZ Alkmaar 5-0 L, Tobol 1-0 W, Okzhetpes 1-0 W, Aktobe 5-0 W, AZ Alkmaar 6-0 L

Top Scorers: United need to start finding ways to score goals for fun this season. The blooding of youth may just be a right avenue to start with, before seeking to bring in new faces in January.

Manchester United: 27 goals scored by United this season and if youth taken their chance and produce the goods, that figure could become much higher as the season progresses.

Goals: 10 – Marcus Rashford, 5 – Anthony Martial, 4 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 1 – Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams

United have shown much better form recently, apart from in the first 70 minutes against Sheffield United at the weekend. The fact the players dug deep and inspired a late comeback, scoring three goals in seven minutes, shows that something is there waiting to be grabbed by the neck and thrown at the opposition. The fact that youth are being blood into the team is something to look forward to.

FC Astana: 80 goals scored for Astana this season and they are the champions of Kazakhstan. Two matches remain of their 2019 season. Will they have what it takes to shoot down this young United squad?

Goals: 26 – Marin Tomasov, 10 – Roman Murtazayev, 7 – Dorin Rotariu, Rangelo Janga, Rúnar Már Sigurjónsson, 5 – Yuriy Logvinenko, 4 – Sergei Khizhnichenko, 3 – Serikzhan Muzhikov, 2 – Abzal Beisebekov, Didar Zhalmukan, Ivan Mayewski, Yevgeny Postnikov, Yuriy Pertsukh, 1 – Ndombe Mubele

Astana won the Kazakhstan Premier League by a single point just over a fortnight ago. They have qualified for next seasons UEFA Champions League first qualifying round and have been eliminated from the Europa League this season. It has been a long season for this team and they might have their minds on their holidays and not the cold Kazakhstani climate as they welcome United before heading to Belgrade for their final match of 2019.

Team News: Youth to be given a massive chance in the Europa League to show what they are made of in a bid to making the first team in the not too distant future. Exciting times.

Solskjaer seems to have taken the best available option for this match in Kazakhstan – leaving players who could be utilised against Aston Villa on Sunday in Manchester and allowing a very young team to travel to face Astana, being that the U23s won’t play again until the 3 December. The likes of Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay, Marcos Rojo, Nemanja Matic, Diogo Dalot and Eric Bailly are out of action.

A very young squad flew to Kazakhstan on Tuesday which included 10 players who have not yet represented the first team for the club; Matej Kovar, Max Taylor, Teden Mengi, Di’Shon Bernard, Ethan Laird, Ethan Galbraith, Arnau Puigmal, Dylan Levitt, D’Mani Bughail-Mellor, and Largie Ramazani. Also included were youngsters James Garner, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, and Mason Greenwood.

The other four players in the 18-man travelling squad were Lee Grant, Luke Shaw, Tim Fosu-Mensah, and Jesse Lingard. It is fair to say that Grant, Shaw, and Lingard may need minutes, two of them (Shaw and Lingard) to show something that will put them back into regular first team contention. Fosu-Mensah will be looking for minutes to come back from his knee injury and turn back the time on his career at the club.

Predicted Starting XI: This is going to be a great look for United’s academy as there will be debuts across the pitch against Astana. Hopefully, they can do themselves proud and show the club what it is all about.

It is fair to say that this team will see major changes ahead of this match, which is what is needed at this time. United lead the group with ten points and AZ Alkmaar, United’s next opposition on second place with eight points. Partizan Belgrade sit in third place with four points and Astana lie at the bottom without a single point in four matches. This might be a test for United’s youth, but it is also a test with a low risk.

Match Prediction: One match played and one match won for United. Can the talented youth make it two wins in two matches against Astana? They have a lot of talent and could certainly reach that objective.

United and Astana have played one in the history of both clubs. That match was played on the 9 September at Old Trafford in a match which saw Mason Greenwood score his first goal for the first team in a season which could see him becoming a much more relied upon player in the squad. Solskjaer has made a big decision to let youth prevail in this match and if they do well, we could see something exciting this season.

FC Astana 0-2 Manchester United

What We’ve Learned: Greenwood off the mark, Gomes and Chong need time, Matic off the boil

Manchester United beat Astana 1-0 at Old Trafford in their first UEFA Europa League group stage match of the season. It was a frustrating game for United, who had made nine changes from the victory over Leicester City with Marcus Rashford the only player to retain his place in the team. 17-year-old Mason Greenwood scored the only goal of the game.

United got the breakthrough in the 68th minute of the match, five minutes after Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong were replaced by Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard. Fred started the chance by spreading the ball into Greenwood, who went to shoot with his left foot, opting for his right instead, drilling the ball low and hard into the far corner of the goal.

It could be seen as a learning curve for some of United’s fringe players who need time in order to find themselves playing in the first team. There was a distinct lack of creativity in the team against Astana but that does not mean that these players are not good enough. The headlines will be dominated by the fact that Greenwood opened up his account for United.

Mason Greenwood is a player who will go from strength to strength.

His first United goal has been a long time coming. In the final match of the season, against Cardiff City in May, he had many chances to score. Of course, he scored in pre-season, but those goals are not registered on his record. This goal will be memorable for him. His first competitive goal for the club and his first in the UEFA Europa League.

This is where Marcus Rashford started his first team career and although he did not eclipse that performance, he certainly proved that he has what it takes to achieve at the club. He will need time to find his feet and become what he wants to become but it is clear that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will give him the opportunities to prove himself this season, which will be great to see.

Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong has the quality to succeed but should not be written off after a lacklustre match against Astana.

For weeks now, many (including myself) have called for Angel Gomes to be given the opportunity in the first team. He’s played little U23 football this season, which is the same for Tahith Chong. Watching both players over the years in the academy has shown the class of both players. Yes, they need to settle and find their form at this level.

Both players got stuck in against Astana, which was a frustrating match based on the defensive way the Kazakhstani team play. It would have been difficult for many players. Some have written off both Gomes and Chong, which is poor support. Rome was not built in a day and the Class of 92, if any of these ‘fans’ watched them, frustrated also.

Nemanja Matic really does not do much for United with pedestrian aspects to his game.

The Serbian midfielder captained United against Astana at Old Trafford but in terms of what he offered his club, it was nothing to write home about. He may have been frustrated in recent weeks after not playing, but there is a reason for that – he’s slow and adversely affects what this squad could achieve. I’m not sure what he will offer to United anymore.

He was a good signing under Jose Mourinho, as United needed some quality in the defensive midfield area but a few years later, it is not working. United, under Solskjaer, want to press high up the pitch and with Matic in the ball, he stops the quickness as he hesitates too much, stopping United from finding quick creativity.

Axel Tuanzebe is a great defender and the confidence gained will inspire him to succeed at the club.

The 21-year-old central defender will have been ecstatic to have started against Astana, which was clear after Solskjaer’s press conference on Wednesday. He did not let his teammates or his manager down, looking like he has played for United’s first team many times before, consistently. Tuanzebe is clearly the third-choice defender in Solskjaer’s squad.

His composure is something that will carry him through his career and he reacts calmly under pressure, which is something I would like to see against better opposition. Solskjaer will be impressed with his performance, which could see him given more chances, possibly against Rochdale on Wednesday, which would be good to see.

Sergio Romero offers just as much as David De Gea at United and is still a great rotation goalkeeper.

The Argentinian kept his 28th clean sheet in 45 appearances for the club, which means he averages a clean sheet 62.2% of the time, the best clean sheet record of any goalkeeper who has played three matches or more for United. He has not played a single match this season and step-in in for De Gea like he has been playing week in and week out.

Solskjaer will be happy with the depth he has in the goalkeeping ranks, and more importantly the defence as a whole, which has been strengthened with the signing of Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka and in the last few days, the renewals of both De Gea and Victor Lindelof. Romero is a great second goalkeeper to have at the club.

Ratings: Mason Greenwood scores debut goal in 1-0 victory over Astana; Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong need time

Manchester United beat Astana 1-0 at Old Trafford in their first UEFA Europa League group stage match of the season. It was a frustrating game for United, who had made nine changes from the victory over Leicester City with Marcus Rashford the only player to retain his place in the team. 17-year-old Mason Greenwood scored the only goal of the game.

United got the breakthrough in the 68th minute of the match, five minutes after Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong were replaced by Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard. Fred started the chance by spreading the ball into Greenwood, who went to shoot with his left foot, opting for his right instead, drilling the ball low and hard into the far corner of the goal.

It could be seen as a learning curve for some of United’s fringe players who need time in order to find themselves playing in the first team. There was a distinct lack of creativity in the team against Astana but that does not mean that these players are not good enough. The headlines will be dominated by the fact that Greenwood opened up his account for United.

Manchester United

Ratings: Mason Greenwood scores debut goal in 1-0 victory over Astana; Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong need time

The Argentinian did not have a lot to do against Astana at Old Trafford. He will be happy to keep a clean sheet, United’s third this season in six matches. He was calm and composed in his area and remained ready should he have been needed to perform a save.

12345

20 Diogo Dalot

The Portuguese fullback played his first match this season. He saw plenty of the ball but his distribution requires some improvement, which could be down to the fact it was his first match. He has obviously got some way to go but Solskjaer will not be unhappy with what he saw from him.

12345

38 Axel Tuanzebe

The English defender made a mistake early in the game and he soon recovered. He dealt with possession quote well and used his experience of reading the game to help his team. All in all, it was a good first start for him at this level.

12345

4 Phil Jones

The former England defender was not all that positive in this game although he did have a positive action which could have cost United otherwise. He looked levels behind Tuanzebe. Not sure I would like to see him in the team regularly.

12345

Ratings: Mason Greenwood scores debut goal in 1-0 victory over Astana; Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong need time

The Argentinian played at left-back for the first time in ages. Rarely tested this season or last, the player wanted to leave in the summer but it never happened for him. He made many barnstorming runs, had a long-range effort which didn’t quite make it, even tried a rabona. He will have been happy to play and could, perhaps, be a rotation player with Shaw on the sidelines.

12345

17 Fred

The Brazilian was bright for his team against Astana and provided the work in the centre of the pitch to keep United ticking over. It was not a performance to write home about but his involvement had a purpose. Some may forget that he’s still rusty and could make the grade with consistent appearances this season.

12345

31 Nemanja Matic

I was not impressed with the Serbian. He was very pedestrian in his game and was of little use when United struggled to break through the Kazakhstani sides defensive game.

12345

11 Mason Greenwood

The 17-year-old got stuck into Astana. He made many clever runs into the final third and was one of United’s most creative players in the game. He found the breakthrough after Fred played him the ball in the 73rd minute, scoring the only goal of the game. He will be ready and raring to go when the opportunity arises for him, which will be soon.

12345

Ratings: Mason Greenwood scores debut goal in 1-0 victory over Astana; Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong need time

The 19-year-old has been judged by many who don’t seem to grasp much about the game. Overpraised by many, written off by others. He is a creative player and put a lot of work in against Astana. He lost the ball a few too many times but used his confidence to show that he never gave up, which was good to see.

12345

44 Tahith Chong

The Dutchman has a great future ahead of him but his quality did not show through in a frustrating night at Old Trafford. Some will write him off, others will wait to see more of him. If you have seen him at U18, U19 and U23 levels, you know what he’s got in his locked. More to be seen before he is written off but some will do it anyway.

12345

10 Marcus Rashford

The England forward missed many chances against Astana. He was denied by the goalkeeper, who performed a fantastic save just yards from goal. Was flagged offside for another, which would have been an embarrassing miss. His finishing undoubtable needs to improve if he is to lead the line this season and beyond.

12345

Substitutes

14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Chong 68'. The England attacking midfielder struck the post late in the game, which could have made a dull evening a bit better. Good to see him back. He will need to dig in and help get things done, if United are to improve after this poor game.

12345

8 Juan Mata

Replaced Gomes 68'. The Spanish magician kept things ticking over in the game, although he never really got a grasp of the action.

12345

Ratings: Mason Greenwood scores debut goal in 1-0 victory over Astana; Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong need time

Replaced Rojo 79'. The club captain got 11 minutes in the game, which was not enough time to get a mark on the game. He did what he needed to do, although Astana were not really getting forward much of the time.

12345

Goals: Mason Greenwood 73′

Assists: Fred 73′

Manchester United: Romero; Dalot, Tuanzebe, Jones, Rojo (Young 79′); Fred, Matic; Greenwood, Gomes (Mata 68′), Chong (Lingard 68′); Rashford

Substitutes Not Used: Grant; Maguire; Garner, McTominay

Bookings: Fred 85′

Confirmed Starting XI: Rashford, Greenwood, Gomes, Tuanzebe and Chong start against Astana

Manchester United open their UEFA Europa League season against FC Astana at Old Trafford on this evening. The Kazakhstani side will endure a 6,000 mile round trip for the match, which United will do themselves later this year. United will have some confidence after beating Leicester City this weekend, sitting in the Premier League top four.

Roman Hryhorchuk’s side is nearing the end of their season, other than playing in the Europa League until December, which might become problematic for them. The reigning Kazakhstani champions currently sit in third place in the Premier League, five points adrift of leaders Tobol who have played two matches more. Retaining their title is still possible.

This month will see United compete in three competitions; the Premier League, the Europa League and the Carabao Cup. Just three days after this match, United will travel to face West Ham United, then three days later, welcome Rochdale to Old Trafford in the League Cup, ending the month five days later at home to Arsenal – the second big match this season.

Manchester United:

Romero;

Dalot, Tuanzebe, Jones, Rojo;

Fred, Matic;

Greenwood, Gomes, Chong;

Rashford

Substitutes:

Grant; Maguire, Young; Mata, Lingard, Garner, McTominay

FC Astana:

Eric;

Rukavina, Postnikov, Tomašević, Shomko;

Tomasov, Maevski, Šimunović, Sigurjónsson;

Rotariu, Murtazayev

Substitutes:

Mokin; Beisebekov, Logvinenko; Muzhikov, Pertsukh; Mubele, Janga

United and Astana have never met in the history of both clubs. This will be the first time and some rather unknown territory for United. In the Europa League, United won the competition in the 2016/17 season, winning ten times, drawing three times and losing twice. They first played in the rebranded UEFA Cup in the 2011/12 season, playing for times, winning once and losing three times.

Key Players and Battles: Axel Tuanzebe, Angel Gomes and Mason Greenwood to be amongst the key battles against Astana?

Manchester United will open their UEFA Europa League season against FC Astana at Old Trafford on Thursday evening. The Kazakhstani side will endure a 6,000 mile round trip for the match, which United will do themselves later this year. United will have some confidence after beating Leicester City this weekend, sitting in the Premier League top four.

Roman Hryhorchuk’s side is nearing the end of their season, other than playing in the Europa League until December, which might become problematic for them. The reigning Kazakhstani champions currently sit in third place in the Premier League, five points adrift of leaders Tobol who have played two matches more. Retaining their title is still possible.

This month will see United compete in three competitions; the Premier League, the Europa League and the Carabao Cup. Just three days after this match, United will travel to face West Ham United, then three days later, welcome Rochdale to Old Trafford in the League Cup, ending the month five days later at home to Arsenal – the second big match this season.

United and Astana have never met in the history of both clubs. This will be the first time and some rather unknown territory for United. In the Europa League, United won the competition in the 2016/17 season, winning ten times, drawing three times and losing twice. They first played in the rebranded UEFA Cup in the 2011/12 season, playing for times, winning once and losing three times.

Key Players: United’s youth to come in and show Astana what the club is all about in debut match between the two clubs?

Manchester United: Sergio Romero, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire, Ashley Young, Angel Gomes, Scott McTominay, Fred, Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong, Daniel James

FC Astana: Nenad Erić, Antonio Rukavina, Dorin Rotariu, Rúnar Már Sigurjónsson, Marin Tomasov, Abzal Beisebekov, Ivan Mayewski, Luka Šimunović, Roman Murtazayev, Yevgeny Postnikov

Key Battles: Axel Tuanzebe v Maron Tomasov, Angel Gomes v Yuriy Logvinenko, and Mason Greenwood v Luka Šimonović

Key Battle One: Axel Tuanzebe v Marin Tomasov

Axel Tuanzebe has been on the bench for every match this season, coming off it in added time during the 1-0 victory over Leicester City at the weekend. The English youth defender will be seeking to make a name for himself at the club after positive loan spells at Aston Villa last season and half of the season before. Solskjaer will be seeking to see if he can become a contender to partner Harry Maguire or even Victor Lindelof this season.

One player that could be problematic for Tuanzebe is Astana’s top scorer, Marin Tomasov who has scored 19 goals for his club this season, despite it starting in March 2019. The England youth defender will need to have his wits about him to stop the Croatian from getting the better of the United defence. Maguire, who will most likely partner Tuanzebe could help the 21-year-old perfect his ability in the game, also mopping up if any mistake happen.

Key Battle Two: Angel Gomes v Yuriy Logvinenko

The 19-year-old has not been involved in first team action this season so far and this would be a good chance to get him involved, rather than seeing the same old football played by United, who have been lacking creativity this season. Angel Gomes has risen to his challenges at the various youth levels for United, showing his manager what he could do during pre-season. For him not to have played so far is unimaginable. He needs to be involved soon.

One player that Gomes might need to get the better of is defender Yuriy Logvinenko. The Kazakhstani is a defender but in the last two Europa League matches, he’s played in central midfield, presumably acting as a defensive-minded midfielder. This is a position that Gomes will need to get the better of in order to create chances for those further up the pitch. If he’s able to roam in the final third, he could be problematic for Astana.

Key Battle Three: Mason Greenwood v Luka Šimunović

Mason Greenwood has not yet played a lot of first-team football and this would be as good as any opportunity he could get this season. United need to keep winning in the Premier League to keep up the chase of those around them and in the group stages of the Europa League, in the first match, rotation of the squad will be effective for that. Greenwood is a predatory forward, with the killer instinct and the eye for a goal.

One player for Astana that might have some work cut out for them is Luka Šimunović. The Croatian central defender will need to have his wits about him to deny Greenwood from getting in favourable positions, which with Gomes and Chong also playing, if Solskjaer chooses them, could create a very fluid attacking line, which would be great for United and the youth. If this works, a headache for Solskjaer ahead of the West Ham United match will be a good one, which attacking players to choose.

Manchester United to play 4-3-3 against Astana with Angel Gomes, Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong and Harry Maguire all playing?

Manchester United will open their UEFA Europa League season against FC Astana at Old Trafford on Thursday evening. The Kazakhstani side will endure a 6,000 mile round trip for the match, which United will do themselves later this year. United will have some confidence after beating Leicester City this weekend, sitting in the Premier League top four.

Roman Hryhorchuk’s side is nearing the end of their season, other than playing in the Europa League until December, which might become problematic for them. The reigning Kazakhstani champions currently sit in third place in the Premier League, five points adrift of leaders Tobol who have played two matches more. Retaining their title is still possible.

This month will see United compete in three competitions; the Premier League, the Europa League and the Carabao Cup. Just three days after this match, United will travel to face West Ham United, then three days later, welcome Rochdale to Old Trafford in the League Cup, ending the month five days later at home to Arsenal – the second big match this season.

United and Astana have never met in the history of both clubs. This will be the first time and some rather unknown territory for United. In the Europa League, United won the competition in the 2016/17 season, winning ten times, drawing three times and losing twice. They first played in the rebranded UEFA Cup in the 2011/12 season, playing for times, winning once and losing three times.

Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero

In the past, in cup competitions, David De Gea was largely rested, other than the UEFA Champions League with Sergio Romero given the nod ahead of the Spanish goalkeeper. Whether this happens under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains to be seen though. Romero has not played since pre-season but whenever he has been given the chance, he has always performed to the best of his ability, which has led to him being branded as the best number two at the club.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire, Ashley Young

I really cannot see many changes in defence for this match due to the injuries, especially in the fullback positions. Unless Solskjaer calls in youth, such as Brandon Williams, which would be good to see, I would expect both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Ashley Young to play in these positions. In the centre of defence, I think Axel Tuanzebe will be given a chance, with Victor Lindelof rested. Harry Maguire should be trusted to add some leadership and experience to this side. I cannot see both Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo being trusted, having played no football so far this season. That would be too much of a gamble.

Midfield Three: Scott McTominay, Fred, Angel Gomes

As Paul Pogba is on the sidelines through injury, also with the West Ham United match on the horizon, keeping him out of this game will be good for rotation at the weekend, if he is fit to play. Scott McTominay should keep his place in midfield with Fred replacing Nemanja Matic. Playing in a 4-3-3 formation instead of the 4-2-3-1, which I do not feel compliments this squad, Angel Gomes could play in the advanced position in midfield, tasked with creating chances for his forward teammates, which could work well in this match, maybe give him more minutes in the future.

Attacking Midfield: Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood, Daniel James

Anthony Martial missed the visit of Leicester City at the weekend and he could be out of this match too, which would not be all the big of a problem, as personally, I feel him being available for the West Ham match would be better, being that United need to keep pressure on those around them in the table. In the Europa League, it is the group stages, meaning the pressure is not as tough giving them other opportunities to take charge of their group. I think a mix of youth, talent and some experience could be good for this forward line, opting for Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood and Daniel James spearheading United’s attack.

Substitutes: David De Gea; Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo; Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, James Garner; Marcus Rashford

The players on the bench will be tasked with steering United to victory, either from a victorious position or coming from behind. United will need to win at Old Trafford at all costs. The starting XI I selected should be good enough to cause problems for Astana, who are coming to Old Trafford possibly being the underdogs themselves. Having the likes of Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and David De Gea on the bench adds experience with James Garner adding some surety in midfield, should he be granted the chance to shine on the Old Trafford turf.

Preview: Astana relatively unknown for United; Solskjaer must pick youth and experience in his squad

Manchester United -v- FC Astana

UEFA Europa League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Thursday 19 September 2019, KO 20:00 BST

Referee: François Letexier  Assistants: Cyril Mugnier; Mehdi Rahmouni Fourth Official: Jérôme Brisard

Manchester United will open their UEFA Europa League season against FC Astana at Old Trafford on Thursday evening. The Kazakhstani side will endure a 6,000 mile round trip for the match, which United will do themselves later this year. United will have some confidence after beating Leicester City this weekend, sitting in the Premier League top four.

Roman Hryhorchuk’s side is nearing the end of their season, other than playing in the Europa League until December, which might become problematic for them. The reigning Kazakhstani champions currently sit in third place in the Premier League, five points adrift of leaders Tobol who have played two matches more. Retaining their title is still possible.

This month will see United compete in three competitions; the Premier League, the Europa League and the Carabao Cup. Just three days after this match, United will travel to face West Ham United, then three days later, welcome Rochdale to Old Trafford in the League Cup, ending the month five days later at home to Arsenal – the second big match this season.

Form: Astana in much better form ahead of their trip to Old Trafford. However, United will have new-found confidence after Leicester victory at the weekend.

Manchester United: WDLDWW (* denotes friendly)

Leicester City 1-0 W, Southampton 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 2-1 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 D, Chelsea 4-0 W, AC Milan 2-2 (5-4 on penalties) W*

FC Astana: WLWWWW (* denotes friendly)

Shakhter Karagandy 2-1 W, BATE Borisov 2-0 L, Taraz 5-0 W, BATE Borisov 3-0 W, Valletta 4-0 W, Aktobe 3-2 W

Top Scorers: Astana have scored many goals this season, which has been running since March whereas United have barely started theirs, playing just five matches so far.

Manchester United: United returned to winning ways at the weekend with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Leicester, a confidence builder ahead of tougher tests coming this month.

Goals: 3 – Daniel James, Marcus Rashford, 2 – Anthony Martial

United have had a mixed season so far, beating Chelsea 4-0, drawing 1-1 to Wolverhampton Wanderers, losing 2-1 to Crystal Palace, then drawing 1-1 with Southampton before the international break. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Leicester City, returning to the top four of the Premier League.

FC Astana: Astana have scored many goals this season but they might be tested against Manchester United at Old Trafford, or rather should be.

Goals: 19 – Marin Tomasov, 10 – Roman Murtazayev, 6 – Rangelo Janga, Rúnar Már Sigurjónsson, 5 – Dorin Rotariu, 4 – Junior Kabananga, 3 – Yuriy Logvinenko, 2 – Didar Zhalmukan, Ivan Mayewski, Marin Aničić, Serikzhan Muzhikov, Yevgeny Postnikov, Yuriy Pertsukh, 1 – Abzal Beisebekov, Ndombe Mubele, Sergei Khizhnichenko

Astana started their season on the 11 March 2019 and are close to the end of the season, despite playing in the UEFA Europa League until at least December with their pre-season due to start in January. In terms of fitness, at this late stage in the season, they will be at an advantage but in terms of freshness, because of the long season, it could be a disadvantage.

Team News: Solskjaer should utilise the depth of his squad, using youth to give players a rest ahead of West Ham clash on Sunday.

Solskjaer has Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial on the sidelines with illness or injury. Aaron Wan-Bissaka could have been on that list too, had he not returned against Leicester at the weekend. Solskjaer, though may have to use the depth of his squad in order to field a team to face Astana.

David De Gea could be rested with Sergio Romero taking charge of goalkeeping duties, whilst both Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo have not yet played this season with Axel Tuanzebe seeking firstteam action following his off the bench appearances against Leicester this weekend. The manager may also make changes across the pitch.

In midfield, the likes of Fred and James Garner could shuffle the pack with the likes of Angel Gomes, Mason Greenwood and Tahith Chong adding some of their ability to the attacking ranks in order to keep some players fit for the visit to West Ham on Sunday. Solskjaer will decide whether to take a risk or not, but he should utilise his squad.

Predicted Starting XI: Solskjaer to use a mixture of experience and youth to take on Astana at Old Trafford with exciting players being given the nod to take on the Kazakhstani side?

Solskjaer will need to look at the depth of his squad in order to keep players fresh for the upcoming matches. A mixture of youth and experienced players would be best, keeping players in the team that will become the core, allowing others to express themselves and carve future opportunities under the Norwegian this season.

Match Prediction: Unknown territory for both United and Astana as they look to start competing against each other. Who will reign supreme in the first head-to-head fixture?

United and Astana have never met in the history of both clubs. This will be the first time and some rather unknown territory for United. In the Europa League, United won the competition in the 2016/17 season, winning ten times, drawing three times and losing twice. They first played in the rebranded UEFA Cup in the 2011/12 season, playing for times, winning once and losing three times.

Manchester United 3-0 FC Astana

copyright: JW