Menu

Ratings: Ronaldo scored his 121st goal but ten-man United ended up losing to the Young Boys of Bern

Manchester United were beaten 2-1 by Young Boys in the opening UEFA Champions League group stage match of the season. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring, assisted by Bruno Fernandes in the 13th minute of the match. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off for a bad foul in the 35th minute of the match, leaving United with ten men. Nicolas Moumi Ngamalo found the equaliser in the 66th minute of the match with United doing so well at that stage. United tried to hold out but Jordan Siebatcheu found the winner in the fifth minute of add time with the Swiss side getting all three points from the match.

The Young Boys started the match well, capitalising on a mistake by Jadon Sancho and pushing forwards to scored, but did not get that far. It was an early shock for United, who now knew that the Swiss side were not going to sit down and let United take the victory easy. United then started to find their feet in the match, playing on a synthetic surface. In the 13th minute of the match, Bruno Fernandes played the ball through to Cristiano Ronaldo, who fired at goal with the goalkeeper trying to make the save and the ball rolling across the line. It was Ronaldo’s 121st goal for United, 4,515 days since his last Champions League goal for United.

It all seemed to be going well for United, scoring an early goal once again and getting their Champions League campaign up and running but the Young Boys were causing a few problems for the Premier League side. In the 35th minute of the match, Aaron Wan-Bissaka fouled Christopher Martins Pereira, stepping on his foot with the player seemingly writhing in agony and the referee showed the United right-back a straight red card. It was unfortunate for United that they were now down to ten men. Solskjaer had to made his fist substitution in the match, bringing Diogo Dalot on for Jadon Sancho in the 37th minute.

United now needed to see the game out with the men on the pitch but they have the insurance policy of the early goal, needing another to secure the three points as the Young Boys will be throwing all they can at them in the second half, so defensively, United will need to be astute. Solskjaer does have up to five substitutions to use, and there is plenty of ability on the bench with Raphael Varane, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, not to mention Anthony Elanga, who also made the match day squad. Solskjaer made his second substitution during the break with Raphael Varane replacing Donny van de Beek.

It looked like Solskjaer was advocating for the back three in the defence in the second half with Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Varane in the centre of the defence and both Dalot and Luke Shaw playing in the wing-back roles for United. A second goal would start to kill off the game for United, which is what they need to be striving to get from this half, or just maintain their 1-0 lead, which is shaky territory for United. Ronaldo was through on goal within ten minutes of the second half starting, seemingly fouled in the box with him going down, but nothing was given. The Young Boys were throwing all they had to get an equaliser.

In the 66th minute, Nicolas Moumi Ngamalo found the equaliser which made the home supporters erupt. He was assisted by Silvan Hefti. United will have to settle for a draw or go for the win, which did not seem to be coming. Solskjaer made a double substitution in the 72nd minute with Jesse Lingard replacing Ronaldo and Nemanja Matic replacing Fernandes. United were trying to carve out some chances, but being down to ten men was the major problem with the Young Boys attacking with all they had in a bid to get the three points in this group stage match in the competition. 1-1 all and lots to play for from both teams.

With ten minutes left to play, Lindelof suffered a head injury, trying to beat Meschak Elia but both players trying to head the ball, colliding heads instead of winning the ball. After a few minutes, Lindelof was back on his feet and able to play on with the home side making a few substitutions to throw all they had at United to try and carve out a win. United had one substitute left for this match. It was expected that this was going to be an easier match for United, which started out that way – after an initial scare but the sending off turned it into a chaotic encounter with United being pushed for all they had. It happens in football though.

United were tested again in the last few minutes of the match which saw David De Gea to stretch to make a save to deny the home side from taking the lead for the first time in the match. It could have been so much different for United. It just depends on how much added time will be played at the end of this match. Anthony Martial replaced Fred in the last minute of the match – to keep United attacking. The Young Boys got the winner though with United having their backs to the wall. Jordan Siebatcheu got the winner to give all three points to the Swiss side after the opening match in the group.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Top performance from the Spanish international in his first Champions League outing of the season. Unfortunate to conceded in the 66th minute of the match but made a great save in the last two minutes to deny the home side. The winner came in added time though, which was a shame.

12345

29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Started the match well with United getting an early goal, through none other than Ronaldo. Sent off for a bad foul in the 35th minute of the match.

12345

2 Victor Lindelof

Seemed to play better with both Varane and Maguire playing with him in a back three. So food for thought there moving forward. Needs to improve defensively though, Did well at the end of the match, getting a head injury trying to win the ball.

12345

5 Harry Maguire

Dominant display at times but was dragged towards the ball, which resulted in the equaliser. He will not be happy with that at all. United will bounce back from their first defeat of the season.

12345

23 Luke Shaw

Gave United some much-needed width in attack in the first half but after the sending off, if became a defensive display from Shaw for the remainder of the match.

12345

17 Fred

Needed lots of energy in this match but still seemed like the weak link in the midfield, playing on his own in the area before Matic came on. Did well, considering. Better opposition would have capitalised against this team down to ten men though. Replaced by Martial in the 90th minute of the match.

12345

34 Donny van de Beek

Did well in the first half, with United down to ten men for ten minutes at the end of the half. It was good to see him start but his match fitness will need improvement, which will happen when he played more minutes. Replaced by Varane during the break as Solskjaer changed the formation.

12345

25 Jadon Sancho

Did not start the match all that well as he lost the ball with Young Boys on the attack. Seemed to improve but after Wan-Bissaka was sent off in the 35th minute, he was replaced by Dalot two minutes later.

12345

18 Bruno Fernandes

Got his first assist of the season with Ronaldo opening the scoring in the 14th minute of the match. After Wan-Bissaka was sent off, United had little attacking presence. He was replaced by Matic in the 72nd minute.

12345

6 Paul Pogba

Had some impact in the match, but not much. Started on the left in the attacking positions behind the forward. Seemed to get more of a grasp to the match in midfield.

12345

7 Cristiano Ronaldo

Scored his first Champions League goal for United in 4,515 days, scoring a brace against Arsenal on the 5 May 2009, putting United ahead against the Young Boys in the 14th minute. Could have had a second but seemed to be fouled in the box, which was not given. Replaced by Lingard in the 72nd minute.

12345

Substitutes

20 Diogo Dalot

Replaced Sancho 37'. Did well despite United being down to ten men. Tried to create something going forward, playing in a wing-back role. Good to see him get some game time - should have perhaps started.

12345

19 Raphael Varane

Replaced Van de Beek 46'. Should have started as he did more defensively than most players in about ten minutes in the second half. United conceded twice though, losing the match with Varane involved in the equaliser.

12345

14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Ronaldo 72'. Came on to create something late in the game but was a marked man. Made a big mistake late on which cost United their draw, turning it into a defeat.

12345

31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Fernandes 72'. Helped the midfield tick and did the defensive work. This is why United need another defensive-minded midfielder. Can't wait until McTominay is back. Should have come on at the break maybe?

12345

9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Fred 89'. It was a cameo which gave nothing but he was on the pitch for a minute plus added time. Not the best impact, but it was never going to be magical.

12345

Goals: Nicolas Moumi Ngamalo 66′, Jordan Siebatcheu 90+5′; Cristiano Ronaldo 13′

Assists: Silvan Hefti 66′; Bruno Fernandes 13′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred (Martial 89′), Van de Beek (Varane 46′); Sancho (Dalot 37′), Fernandes (Matic 72′), Pogba; Ronaldo (Lingard 72′)

Substitutes Not Used: Heaton, Kovar; Bailly; Mata; Greenwood, Elanga

Bookings: Christian Fassnacht 45+1′, Christopher Martins Pereira50′; Aaron Wan-Bissaka 35′ s/o, Raphael Varane 65′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Ronaldo, Sancho, Fernandes and Pogba start against Young Boys; Varane, Lingard and Greenwood on the bench

Manchester United return to UEFA Champions League action when they face Young Boys at the Stage de Suisse in Bern this evening. It will be the clubs first participation in the competition since their group stage exit last season when they failed to get a point from their last two matches, beaten by Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig in the final two group stage matches, exiting the competition and falling into the UEFA Europa League, where they went all the way to the final against Villarreal but were beaten 11-10 on penalties with David De Gea not making a single save, missing his penalty. Water under the bridge now.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to get out of the group stages of the Champions League this season, after learning a lot last season in their tough group, despite beating PSG and Leipzig in the opening two matches, losing to Istanbul Basaksehir, then beating the Turkish side, falling to defeat against PSG and Leipzig in the final two matches of the competition. This season though, United are playing positively with the signings that have been made and the experience brought to the squad should give United a lot more going forward. Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane will add a lot of that themselves.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, Van de Beek;

Sancho, Fernandes, Pogba;

Ronaldo

Substitutes:

Heaton, Kovar; Bailly, Varane, Dalot; Mata, Lingard, Matic; Martial, Greenwood, Elanga

BSC Young Boys:

Von Ballmoos;

Hefti, Camara, Lauper, Garcia;

Sierro, Pereira;

Fassnacht, Aebischer, Nagtaleu;

Elia

Substitutes:

Zbinden, Faivre, Zesiger, Spielmann, Kanga, Sulejmani, Jankewitz, Burgy, Siebatcheu, Mambimbi, Maceiras, Rieder

United and Young Boys have met a total of two times in the UEFA Champions League. United have won both matches, scoring four goals. Both matches were played in the group stages of the competition during the 2018/19 season. United won the first match 3-0 with Paul Pogba scoring a brace (one goal from the penalty spot) and Anthony Martial scoring the other. The match was played at the Stade de Suisse. At Old Trafford, it was a 1-0 victory for United with Marouane Fellaini scoring the only goal of the match. United will be seeking to continue their unbeaten run against the Swiss side.

There is no real connection between Manchester United and Young Boys. United have never bought a player from the Swiss club and Young Boys have never bought or loaned a player directly from United. However, a player who has previously played for United has played for Young Boys. Saidy Janko, who was once part of the United academy was loaned to the Swiss side during the 2019/20 season. Janko started life at FC Zurich and was purchased by United in the summer of 2013, playing in the academy. He made one appearance for United’s first team,28 for the U23s, scoring one goal and six assists and four appearances for the U19s.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: Ronaldo to lead the line in a 4-2-3-1 with Pogba, Fernandes and Sancho; Van de Beek to start?

Manchester United return to UEFA Champions League action when they face Young Boys at the Stage de Suisse in Bern on Tuesday evening. It will be the clubs first participation in the competition since their group stage exit last season when they failed to get a point from their last two matches, beaten by Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig in the final two group stage matches, exiting the competition and falling into the UEFA Europa League, where they went all the way to the final against Villarreal but were beaten 11-10 on penalties with David De Gea not making a single save, missing his penalty. Water under the bridge now.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to get out of the group stages of the Champions League this season, after learning a lot last season in their tough group, despite beating PSG and Leipzig in the opening two matches, losing to Istanbul Basaksehir, then beating the Turkish side, falling to defeat against PSG and Leipzig in the final two matches of the competition. This season though, United are playing positively with the signings that have been made and the experience brought to the squad should give United a lot more going forward. Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane will add a lot of that themselves.

Previous meetings with Young Boys and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Young Boys have met a total of two times in the UEFA Champions League. United have won both matches, scoring four goals. Both matches were played in the group stages of the competition during the 2018/19 season. United won the first match 3-0 with Paul Pogba scoring a brace (one goal from the penalty spot) and Anthony Martial scoring the other. The match was played at the Stade de Suisse. At Old Trafford, it was a 1-0 victory for United with Marouane Fellaini scoring the only goal of the match. United will be seeking to continue their unbeaten run against the Swiss side.

There is no real connection between Manchester United and Young Boys. United have never bought a player from the Swiss club and Young Boys have never bought or loaned a player directly from United. However, a player who has previously played for United has played for Young Boys. Saidy Janko, who was once part of the United academy was loaned to the Swiss side during the 2019/20 season. Janko started life at FC Zurich and was purchased by United in the summer of 2013, playing in the academy. He made one appearance for United’s first team,28 for the U23s, scoring one goal and six assists and four appearances for the U19s.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face BSC Young Boys in the UEFA Champions League at the Stade de Suisse on Tuesday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper has started to find that form that helped him become the goalkeeper he has been for United so far this season. He is close to rediscovering his best for the club and has played a big part in the results the club has produced this season. United are undefeated in the Premier League, winning three times and drawing once with De Gea making many saves to deny their opposition, conceding three goals in the four matches, keeping one clean sheet. This match may not be considered as a big one for United but it is important that they get a win on the table in this competition so they do not exit it as easy as they did last season.

Solskjaer could well make a change in this department with Tom Heaton ready to step in, but I feel that it would be too much of a gamble a this stage with United needing a good start in the group stage this season, as much as it did for them last season with two wins in the first two matches. De Gea will get his rest in the coming weeks in the Carabao Cup as it is possible that either Heaton or Dean Henderson will start against West Ham United in the League Cup, just days after facing the Hammers in the Premier League. De Gea has earned his place at this stage of the season and I am sure he will keep performing.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence is strong this season and there is scope for rotation. Against the Young Boys, I envisage that Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane will keep their places in the centre of defence as they provide defensive purity and astuteness. Varane’s Champions League experience will be good for United with many players not having featured in the competition as much as him in the past, at least not for United who have struggled to qualify over a few times. However, this is the second season for United under Solskjaer in the competition. United and Solskjaer will be determined to keep United in this competition each season.

Luke Shaw will keep his place in the left-back role, after a fine start to the season, which is a continuation of his form last season for United and for England during Euro 2020, which as delayed until this summer with England reaching the final, although they lost on penalties to Italy. Aaron Wan-Bissaka could find himself being rested for this match with Diogo Dalot being tested for his suitability in the right-back position, with the former not having much attacking play to his game, which needs to change moving forward as United will rely on with wide players to play the ball further up the pitch.

Midfield: Fred, Donny van de Beek

United have some problems with the midfield this season and the lack of defensive-minded midfielders is that problem. Nemanja Matic is the only experienced midfielder in this area and being over the age of 30 and losing his pace and ability to run in matches played close together, United will have to find a solution and that has not happened during the summer transfer window. Scott McTominay had to go through groin surgery in the past few weeks and Fred is not the midfielder that many think he could be, so this, of course, weakens United even more in this area. McTominay is the likely player to step in, when fit. But that might not be for this match.

Ahead of the Newcastle match, it was expected that Fred would be ineligible to future because of him not heading to Brazil for the international break, but the FIFA regulation five day ban was not enforced, so in the hours ahead of the match, he was able to be added to the squad, although he did not feature for United. I would expect him to be used in this match, if McTominay is not available, which is expected although he could feature on the bench. I don’t think Fred and Paul Pogba play well in a midfield two, so Donny van de Beek could start alongside the Brazilian, seeking to find his feet and gain more starts for his club.

Attacking Midfield: Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba

There are some great players able to play in these positions for United and with some rotation expected, but not necessary at this time, I think Solskjaer will pick the players he can rely on from the start of the match, making changes during the match to give others some game time and grind out a result with some who started the match able to get some rest ahead of Sunday’s trip to London to face West Ham. I think Jadon Sancho will kepis starting place, but be switched to the right-wing. This will allow Pogba to play on the left, where he has played well this season, especially against Leeds United in a 5-1 victory.

Pogba has seven assists to his name so far this season and will be seeking to continue that form, perhaps scoring some goals for himself. It might not work for Solskjaer, this formation, but United need to be playing to their strengths, allowing the players to get something started, then when two goals up, make some changes to grind out the victory, giving some other players a chance to shine. Bruno Fernandes will play through the middle, which is great considering his goal against Newcastle and the fact he has four to his name so far this season. With his compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo playing ahead of him, this could be a good match.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is back for United. He scored a brace on his second debut for the club, extending his goalscoring tally to 120 goals with a great of 4,507 days between appearances for the club, which is impressive. From the very start of the match against the Magpies, Ronaldo seemed to be in the zone seeking to show his critics what he is still capable, which I am sure they have now seen and will regret criticising his age and the fact that many players have started to decline well before reaching the same age. Ronaldo is a different type of player and that is what makes it so much better. If he signed for Manchester City, it would be different.

The critics would have bee praising him for the player he was but because United is involved, that is where the criticism comes from. Some pundits and former players seem unable to praise United for much as they hate them so much – but it keeps them relevant as they are always talking about United. Ronaldo is here to continue his great career, back to where it first started in the big time. He has so much more to give United and so much to achieve. Recently becoming the highest scoring international player, he will be seeking to become the highest scoring player for United, which will be a big challenge for him.

Substitutes: Tom Heaton; Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Aaron Wan-Bissaka; Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay; Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Anthony Elanga

Solskjaer will be able to name up to 12 substitutes on the bench in the Champions League, much like the Europa League last season. He will also be able to make up to five changes per match in the group stages, six in the knockout stages if the match goes into extra time. There will be no away goals either, which makes everything level, which is going to be more interesting to see which teams have what it takes to win their matches, at least in the knockout stages when it becomes operational. In goal, Tom Heaton will remain on the bench as I feel it will be too early to start him in this competition with United needing a win from that start.

In defence, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be available, should Solskjaer need to make defensive changes against the Swiss side. In midfield, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay, if fit, could all give the manager some different options. It is the attacking areas that give a lot more quality though with Edinson Cavani, if fit, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Elanga all seemingly available for a place on the bench in the elite European competition. Solskjaer should utilise all his changes, keeping his squad fit for their upcoming challenge in the Premier League and the Carabao Cup too.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Manchester United seeking a winning start to Champions League group against the BSC Young Boys

BSC Young Boys -v- Manchester United

UEFA Champions League

Stade de Suisse, Bern, Switzerland

Tuesday 14 September 2021, KO 17:45 BST

Referee: François Letexier Assistants: Cyril Mugnier, Mehdi Rahmouni

Fourth Official: Thomas Leonard

VAR: Delajod Willy Assistant VAR: Massimiliano Irrati

Manchester United return to UEFA Champions League action when they face Young Boys at the Stage de Suisse in Bern on Tuesday evening. It will be the clubs first participation in the competition since their group stage exit last season when they failed to get a point from their last two matches, beaten by Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig in the final two group stage matches, exiting the competition and falling into the UEFA Europa League, where they went all the way to the final against Villarreal but were beaten 11-10 on penalties with David De Gea not making a single save, missing his penalty. Water under the bridge now.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to get out of the group stages of the Champions League this season, after learning a lot last season in their tough group, despite beating PSG and Leipzig in the opening two matches, losing to Istanbul Basaksehir, then beating the Turkish side, falling to defeat against PSG and Leipzig in the final two matches of the competition. This season though, United are playing positively with the signings that have been made and the experience brought to the squad should give United a lot more going forward. Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane will add a lot of that themselves.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WWDWWD

Newcastle United 4-1 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Southampton 1-1 D, Leeds United 5-1 W, Everton 4-0 W, Brentford 2-2 D

Goals: 4 – Bruno Fernandes, 3 – Mason Greenwood, 2 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 1 – Fred, Jesse Lingard

Assists: 7 – Paul Pogba, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane

Young Boys – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WDWWWW

FC Zurich 4-0 W, FC Basel 1-1 D, Ferencvaros 3-2 W, Ferencvaros 3-2 W, Littau 4-1 W, CFR Cluj 3-1 W

Goals: 6 – Jordan Siebatcheu, 4 – Michel Aebischer, Meschack Elia, 3 – Vincent Sierro, 2 – Christian Fassnacht, Ulisses Garcia, Cédric Zesiger, 1 – Wilfried Kanga, Felix Mambimbi, Moumi Ngamaleu

Assists: 4 – Moumi Ngamaleu, 3 – Meschack Elia, 2 – Michel Aebischer, Jordan Siebatcheu, 1 – Christian Fassnacht, Ulisses Garcia, Silvan Hefti, Fabian Rieder, Vincent Sierro

Previous meetings with Young Boys and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Young Boys have met a total of two times in the UEFA Champions League. United have won both matches, scoring four goals. Both matches were played in the group stages of the competition during the 2018/19 season. United won the first match 3-0 with Paul Pogba scoring a brace (one goal from the penalty spot) and Anthony Martial scoring the other. The match was played at the Stade de Suisse. At Old Trafford, it was a 1-0 victory for United with Marouane Fellaini scoring the only goal of the match. United will be seeking to continue their unbeaten run against the Swiss side.

There is no real connection between Manchester United and Young Boys. United have never bought a player from the Swiss club and Young Boys have never bought or loaned a player directly from United. However, a player who has previously played for United has played for Young Boys. Saidy Janko, who was once part of the United academy was loaned to the Swiss side during the 2019/20 season. Janko started life at FC Zurich and was purchased by United in the summer of 2013, playing in the academy. He made one appearance for United’s first team,28 for the U23s, scoring one goal and six assists and four appearances for the U19s.

Team News: Three players unlikely to feature for United against the Young Boys because of injury whilst the Young Boys could be missing up to five players because of injury. United have a few doubts too.

Alex Telles (Ankle/Foot), Amad Diallo (Thigh) and Marcus Rashford (Shoulder) have all been ruled out of the clash against Young Boys in the Champions League. Phil Jones has not been named in the squad for the competition, so he will not play any part in the competition. Fred is eligible to participate after the FIFA suspension was revoked before the Newcastle match. Edinson Cavani missed the Magpies match with a knock and Scott McTominay is not quite ready to play again after groin surgery. Dean Henderson played for the U23s with Jones on Saturday but will probably miss this match too as his fitness level will need to improve.

Fabian Lustenberger (Achilles), Jean-Pierre Nsame (Achilles), Joël Monteiro (Knee), Esteban Petignat (Unknown) and Nico Maier (Unknown) look set to miss the visit of United in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, although with little information on their fitness available, there is a chance that one or two with the less serious injuries could be available. The Young Boys have played United twice in this competition, losing twice, conceding four goals and not yet scoring a singe goal against them. It could be a good chance for them to fight back, but that seems unlikely, even with United coming out of a turbulent period for the club.

Predicted Starting XI: Ronaldo, Sancho, Fernandes and Greenwood to lead the attack; Pogba and Fred in midfield against the Young Boys?

Solskjaer has a few problems in his squad at this stage of the season with Telles, Amad and Rashford out injured and McTominay and Henderson working on their fitness. There is a possibility that McTominay could be back in action this week, but personally, I think it might be too early for him at this stage. Fred will be back, which is unfortunate for United as he is not in the greatest form of his career and seems to have more critics than supporters. That said, he has immense energy and can play a part, however little he offers going forward. The likes of Ronaldo, Varane, Sancho and Fernandes will be crucial in this match to get a win for United.

I think David De Gea will keep his starting place, as he has for the last four competitive matches so far this season. Diogo Dalot could come in for Aaron Wan-Bissaka with the Portuguese right-back given a test to show his suitability. Luke Shaw will keep his place on the left. Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire will partner in the centre of defence. In midfield, Donny van de Beek and Fred could combine well, but it is not an ideal midfield combination. Behind the striker, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho could add something going forward, as all three played well against Newcastle. Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the line.

Match Prediction: United to get another win in Bern on Tuesday evening with Ronaldo and Fernandes seeking to open the Champions League group stage in style?

I expect United to get their first win in the group stage of the Champions League this season. They have previously beaten the Young Boys twice at the same stage of the competition, facing them in the 2018/19 season under the management of Jose Mourinho. Solskjaer will be matched up against David Wagner for the second time for United, facing Huddersfield Town in his second match in charge of the club, winning 3-1 with a brace from Paul Pogba and another goal from Nemanja Matic. United will be more than ready for the Champions League this season, having an easier group than last season.

That said, it will not be a walk in the park for United. They have done well this season with three wins and a draw in the Premier League, sitting at the top of the league based on goals scored, having the same goal difference as Chelsea, who also have ten points at this stage of the season. The demolition of Newcastle United at Old Trafford saw glimpses of the United of old breaking down the opposition with Ronaldo scoring a brace, Fernandes scoring a banger and Jesse Lingard getting in on the action too. This could be a high-scoring match for United, providing they continue on the right path.

Young Boys 0-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

European Glory? Analysing Manchester United’s Champions League Chances

The draw for the UEFA Champions League group-stage has now taken place and Manchester United have been drawn in Group F with Villarreal, Atalanta and Young Boys. It’s been 13 years since United lifted the trophy, and last season’s Champions League campaign ended in heartbreak for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side as United stumbled in their final two group games, albeit against tough opposition.

This year marks a fresh approach to the Champions League with an improved squad and an ever-growing ambition amongst the players. This article will exam the strength of United’s group opposition and potential issues they may encounter, while also looking at some of the more elite competition United could face later, provided they get through to the latter stages. Could this be the season United emerge as a dominant force inEurope’s premier competition once more?

The format for the group is standard procedure and United will play six games in total throughout the group-stage. Each opponent will be played twice, once at home and once away, and United will be hoping to improve on the respectable points total of nine from last season’s outing.

The fixture schedule currently looks like this:

Tuesday 14 September: Young Boys (A, 17:45 BST)

Wednesday 29 September: Villarreal (H, 20:00 BST)

Wednesday 20 October: Atalanta (H, 20:00 BST)

Tuesday 2 November: Atalanta (A, 20:00 GMT)

Tuesday 23 November: Villarreal (A, 17:45 GMT)

Wednesday 8 December: Young Boys (H, 20:00 GMT)

This means United’s first Champions League game will be a trip to Switzerland to face Young Boys, while in the second game United get the chance to extract revenge on Europa League winners Villarreal at Old Trafford. United’s final game in December is another home match, Solskjaer will hope United have already qualified by this point, but the possibility of a boost from the Old Trafford crowd is there if needed.

Manchester United’s Opponents:

Young Boys

The first opponent for United are relative newcomers to the Champions League, although Young Boys have won the Swiss Super League four times in a row, looking to win their 16th title this year. United have faced Young Boys twice, recording two victories against them in the 2018/2019 campaign. 

Coincidentally, United’s first game in that campaign was also a trip to Stade de Suisse, a game in which Paul Pogba shone by scoring twice. Young Boys will be keen to produce better performances against United this time out, knowing lots of attention will be focused on Solskjaer’s men and subsequently themselves in the opening game of Group F, and an opening game in front of their fans will give them the perfect opportunity to get a decent result. 

United will expect to control both games, looking to use the elite pool of talent at Solskjaer’s disposal to cut through the Young Boys defence. However, the Swiss side do possess some talented forwards amongst their ranks, including Jean-Pierre Nsame, who managed to score 19 goals last season. Overall United will be expected to get all six points from Young Boys, they’re seen as the easiest team in the group, but it’s important that United go into the games with professional focus in order to do this.

Villarreal

United’s first game at Old Trafford in this seasons Champions League will be a rematch against fellow Europa League finalists (and winners) Villarreal. The Spanish club are familiar faces within European competition and perhaps a bit too familiar to United, the clubs have met five times in Europe drawing 0-0 four of those times, the other result of course being Villarreal’s penalty shootout win against United last season in the Europa League final. 

This will provide extra motivation for United as they try to right the wrongs of last season, and a packed Old Trafford coupled with the return of a certain Portuguese forward should ensure United have enough to overcome the Europa League Champions in the first game. Villarreal are no pushovers though, ‘The Yellow Submarine’ (as they’re affectionately known) have a strong squad with a top manager in the form of former Arsenal coach Unai Emery, they are bound to make both games tricky. 

United will know all about dangerous forward Gerard Moreno from the Europa League Final, while defender Pau Torres has a growing reputation as a top defender, even being linked with United for a considerable time. It’s safe to assume that Villarreal will likely provide the biggest test in Group F, another strong candidate to navigate through the group in one of the two top spots.

Atalanta

Despite never meeting competitively, anticipation will be high from both sets of fans in this clash. Atalanta come into the Champions League coming off the back of three consistently good seasons in Serie A, finishing third in each. The club famously scored eight against Valencia over two legs in the Round of 16 in the 2019/2020 season and are renowned for attacking tenacity and high scoring games. 

United will be well informed on the club after scouting Amad Diallo extensively, meaning Solskjaer and his players will know that victories against them is no guarantee. Overall, this could be a tough test, although the pattern of these games against Atalanta is more unpredictable than the other two opponents.

Knockout Phase Teams

This year’s competition is full of quality and experience, and there are at least six teams outside of United that could be seen as strong candidates. Premier League rivals Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool will naturally be considered potential winners considering the depth of quality each team possesses, any potential game against one of them will most definitively be emotionally charged. 

Elsewhere in Europe, Paris Saint-Germain are perhaps seen as the overall favourites with the staggering signing of Lionel Messi, but United know they are capable of beating them- that famous night in 2019 springing to mind. Additionally, German champions Bayern Munich will be keen to reclaim the trophy, while Real Madrid and Barcelona will likely be amongst the latter stages. Other teams to keep an eye on will be La Liga winners Atletico Madrid, while Serie A champions Inter Milan still have a quality team despite losing talismanic striker Romelu Lukaku.

In conclusion, this seasons Champions League is full of promise in both potential quality matchups, and the possibility of United progressing far into the competition. The draw has been relatively kind to United on paper, and United will be buoyed by a fantastic transfer window.

The added bonus of fans back for European nights under the lights at Old Trafford all bodes well for some magical matches once more, and the return of United legend Cristiano Ronaldo adds another element to this year’s attempt. The last time United won this competition was 2008 in Russia, a Ronaldo header instrumental as United beat Chelsea on penalties. 

Strangely enough, this year’s final will also be held in Russia, Ronaldo will be playing for United, and the squad looks stronger than ever. Could it be written in the stars for United to be the kings of Europe once more…

Written by Sam Wilson

One Day in May: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from Player to Manager; the 26 May could become a Special Day…

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer joined Manchester United on the 26 July 1996 from Norwegian side Molde for just £1.5 million, just 10% of the £15 million fee that United’s main target, Alan Shearer joined Newcastle United for, which at the time was a world record transfer. Solskjaer was a relatively unknown striker and was considered a gamble at that time, especially when the rumours were that Shearer was the target, coming off the back of a largely successful UEFA Euro 1996 tournament, where he won the Golden Boot after scoring five goals for England, who saw yet more hurt 30 years after lifting the World Cup at Wembley, beaten on penalties at the hands of Germany, who went on to win the tournament that summer.

Solskjaer, just 23 at the time he signed for United, was expected to be the backup striker for Eric Cantona and Andy Cole, but almost instantly became a first team player that would ultimately prove to become one of the bargain signings in the Premier League that summer. It really is good when a plan works – but they don’t tend to more often, which is a shame. The Norwegian spent five seasons with Clausengen as a younger player before moving to Molde during the 1995 season, playing a total of 54 times, scoring 41 goals for the club. Solskjaer was offered to both Everton and Manchester City for just £1.2 million with neither club willing to take the hit on the player, should hen not have been successful in England. I bet it still leaves a bitter taste now.

Solskjaer netted 19 goals in 46 appearances in his debut season at United. I bet City and Everton were annoyed at missing out on such a bargain but also German side Hamburg and Italian side Cagliari held interest in the player, which ceased after United’s bid. Fairytales don’t tend to happen all that often but there was something with Solskjaer and fairytales that was yet some time in the future. During his debut season, United won the FA Community Shield, also winning the Premier League for the fourth time, also winning the league the season before. In total, Solskjaer won the Premier League six times with United as a player, which was great to see. His playing career ended with a knee injury, for which he underwent minor surgery but he did not fully recover. Solskjaer scored 126 goals, assisting 50 times in 365 appearances for United during his career.

Added to his six Premier League titles, Solskjaer also won the FA Cup twice, two FA Community Shields, one UEFA Champions League and one Intercontinental Cup. It was a career that he would have been proud of and all for £1.5 million, which today would not get a club much – even youth players command bigger fees in this era of modern football. I would not have changed anything. At the time, Shearer signing for Newcastle hurt but it was understandable. Solskjaer was a gamble that paid off so many times. There were many matches in which he could not have been played off the park. His four goals against Nottingham Forest on the 6 February 1999 was one to remember, despite him coming off the bench in the 71st minute – scoring his first goal just nine minutes later. He scored another four goals against Everton on the 4 December 1999, starting that match.

One of the biggest moments of Solskjaer’s career at United was winning the UEFA Champions League during the 1998/99 season, the season that United became the first English could to win the treble – the Premier League title, the FA Cup and the Champions League. United entered in the second qualifying round that season, beating ŁKS Łódź and coming second in a group which contained Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Brøndby – coming second. United then beat Inter Milan and Juventus before meeting Bayern Munich in the final in Barcelona. United conceded in the sixth minute through Mario Basler and waited until injury time to get involved with Teddy Sheringham equalising and Solskjaer scoring the winner. Manchester United had reached the promised land. Betway selected their top ten Champions League moments, of which Solskjaer’s winner was one of them – check them out.

After Solskjaer’s career as a player was over, he managed United’s reserves, winning the Lancashire Senior Cup in the 2007/08 season, the Manchester Senior Cup in the 2008/09 season and both the Premier Reserve League North and the Premier Reserve League in the 2009/10 season. He also spent a lot of time under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson at that time, and prior – when he was recovering from knee surgery. This will have seen him learn the ropes, so to speak, which would guide him later in his career. Solskjaer soon returned to Molde, where he managed the club he left United for. He won the Tippeligaen in 2011 and 2012 – winning the first two top flight league titles for the club – they have since doubled that.

In January 2014, Solskjaer left Molde for Cardiff City, his first management job in England. It was not the best and it is something that many judge him for today. Cardiff were eventually relegated from the Premier League that season but Solskjaer departed a month into the clubs first season in the Championship, after a bad start to the season. He returned to Molde where he stayed until be replaced Jose Mourinho as United’s interim manager in December 2018. Many still don’t back the Norwegian and rate him as the guy that scored a tap in at the Champions League final in 1999, completely eradicating what he had achieved as a player both before and after that. But these people did not experience him as a player, so why would they remember him?

Solskjaer’s side played some good football during the 2018/19 season, beating Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League but falling foul to Barcelona. They finished sixth in the Premier League. The following season, 2019/20 would see another challenge, the coronavirus pandemic but United ended up finishing third in the Premier League, also reaching the Carabao Cup semi-final, the FA Cup semi-final and the UEFA Europa League semi-final. It was an improvement but there was still more to do for United and Solskjaer. During the 2020/21 season, United finished second in the Premier League, reaching the Carabao Cup semi-final and the FA Cup quarter final, reaching the Europa League final on a special day – the 26 May – the day Solskjaer scored that goal in Barcelona to win the Champions League.

Written by John Walker

A European Super League? It’s a no from me…

“A team died in 1958 to play in Europe, and this is our history being thrown away for money, by owners who know nothing about Manchester.”Ian Sterling of Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST)

On Sunday, rumours were rife about a supposed European Super League and there were 12 European football clubs that were willing to break away from the standard structure of European football. Six clubs in the Premier League were involved; Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. Three teams from La Liga in Spain; Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid and three teams from Serie A in Italy; AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus. There were also suggestions of three more clubs being involved meaning 15 clubs would start up this new league. However, the figure seems to be stuck at 12.

United beat Burnley 3-1 in the Premier League on Sunday but immediately this win was taken away because of this Super League. Former United defender and captain Gary Neville was not please on Sky Sports, showing his displeasure live during the half time break of the match involving his former club. Talk then spread at full time with another former captain and midfielder, Roy Keane airing his displeasure in the breakaway. Former City defender Micah Richards also spoke his mind about this money grab in football – as that is what it really is. The whole suggestion of it is disgusting. It rips the heart and soul out of the game.

The Glazer’s have never really been a great fit at United. They took over the club by leveraging a debt against the club and have continued to take money away from the club in dividends and share sales, giving nothing back from their own pocket. United are still in a substantial debt and this Super League that seems to be propped by by JP Morgan, will put them in more debt, seemingly selling the souls of the club to the greedy so they can take more money off the top, cutting the hard-working supporters out of the game. This is really the ugly side of football. A side that should be kicked out of the game.

Earning money is necessary in life but greedy football club owners are not needed at all.

The funny thing yesterday is that Sky seem to have found a bad taste in the plans for the Super League, climbing up their own Ivory Tower and calling the six Premier League clubs out. I mean, it is not as if Sky have profited massively from this game and they did not set to to do just that from the inception of the Premier League in its inaugural 1992/93 season! Granted, this is a different kind of greed and it will spoil the game for millions of supporters all over the world. The greed of the Glazer’s and their stooge, Ed Woodward has been seen for what it is now and it has played out live during a football match.

Manchester United supporters have a bond with the club. They have supported it for many years, sometimes most of their lives. They have learned the history of the club, the traditions, the success, the failure and the tragedy. This is the embodiment of a supporter of this club. The majority know the trajectory of the club through the years. The blood, sweat and tears put into the club. The survival of bankruptcy and the survival of the club after the Munich Air Disaster which saw eight players die on their way back home from a European Cup match in Belgrade. The history of the club has been upturned and shaken out just to earn more money.

United literally lost the majority of a team to play in a European competition, which later became the UEFA Champions League. For ten years, United fought back from the aches of Munich to lift that blessed trophy in the honour of those that died a decade before. Sir Matt Busby steered United from death to glory to the pinnacle of Europe. In the years following Busby, United stuttered, were relegated and then fought back to reach the top-flight of English football once more. The years later, the success of Sir Alex Ferguson in his near 27-years at the help of the club brought that fighting spirit back once again.

The Glazers are greedy, money-motivated owners that don’t deserve Manchester United.

When Malcolm Glazer took over Manchester United in 2005, a loan was taken out and leveraged against the football club. The Glazer family are clear of debt and for 16 years now, United have been stuck with a massive debt which is no closer to being paid off. Having a debt lowers taxes and that is a must for money-men like the Glazers. The history of this football club is just something they can market and profit from – they don’t care about the blood, sweat and the tears of the players, the supporters and the manager’s throughout the history of the club. They care about the strength of the love for the club, which is now dying in many places.

United have won many trophies during the Glazer’s ownership but that was down to one man; Sir Alex Ferguson. United have won five Premier League titles, one FA Cup, three League Cups, four FA Community Shields, one UEFA Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup in Ferguson’s time under the Glazers. Post-Ferguson, United have won one FA Community Shield, one League Cup and one UEFA Europa League. The success was not because of the Glazer’s – it was because of the merit of the manager (at the time), the players and the backroom staff. The Glazer’s don’t care about winning things, as has been seen post-Ferguson.

You see, the Glazers and Woodward celebrate impressions on social media, sponsorship deals and other commercial dealings which bring money to the club. More recently, the Glazers have ben celebrating the fact that United’s shares are at a high rate so they can sell some lower category shares to line their pockets some more – as if they have not taken enough already. The formation of this European Super League will create endless revenue streams for the Glazer’s, which is the success that seem to value. Cold hard cash. It will see the club turn its back on its traditions, history and more importantly, the future.

When history and tradition is eradicated from Manchester United, what is left?

Manchester United have a rich history and tradition. The club has always strived to create young players who rise into their first team and drive the team towards success. Granted, that does not always happen but there is a rich picking of youth coming through the ranks throughout the history of the club, winning trophies. Then there are special periods where players either succeeded or were stopped in their tracks by tragedy. The Busby Babes of 1958 were the ones that were stopped by tragedy but the Class of 1992 were the ones that went all the way to becoming the pinnacle of European football once again. On Sir Matt Busby’s birthday too.

United have a record which lasts more than 80 years having included at least one youth player that came through the academy in every league match. If United are no longer allowed to participate in the Premier League, or any other league in the land, that tradition stops right there – and there is a feeling that this tradition would continue for many years to come. United’s academy has some talented players in the ranks but what could happen with them. Surely many of them want to play in the Premier League, the Champions League, aiming to lift the famous trophies one day. What about their dreams? Let them achieve at another club?

You see, the Glazers have profited from the traditions and history of the club and they will presumably continue to do that in this Super League, but they will have ended those traditions and become a smudge in the very history of the club. Money is the route to all evils and that seems to be the very thing the Glazer’s want – money. These American owners don’t see to understand why leagues here have relegation, as they don’t in America. They don’t seen to understand the word competition. To do this would be a sad end to a once great football club. The Glazer’s will be the death of the club and they just don’t care about that.

What is being done to stop this greedy mess from ruining football for the United faithful and others?

It has been reported that FIFA and UEFA are against the formation of a European Super League. There are sanctions that can be brought against the clubs involved, but as sooner as that is said, the clubs can appear these sanctions in court – so there is no way to tell if the sanctions will be upheld or whether the breakaway clubs will win. UEFA has also suggested that clubs would be kicked out of UEFA led competitions; the Champions League, Europa League and the Super Cup. Players of the breakaway clubs could also be banned from playing for their countries in the UEFA European Championships and the FIFA World Cup.

There is a lot to lose for these clubs, all for a glorified friendly competition where a trophy with no history will be presented, plus bags of cash, which is the real prize the clubs are interested in. If these clubs are willing to bring an end to players striving to win the Premier League, the FA Cup, League Cup and qualify for European competition, they will be taking away hopes and dreams of the younger players too. The youth leagues will be affected. I very much doubt that United will be able to participate in the U18 Premier League, the FA Youth Cup, the Premier League 2 and the Papa John’s Trophy. What then? Abolish the youth teams and get rid of identity?

United are a club that has these traditions in the DNA. They largely predicted players from the clubs academy, bringing them to first team standard. The Busby Babes, Fergie’s Fledglings and so on. Then there are the league titles, of which United have 20; 13 Premier League titles and seven First Division titles. This success will mean nothing if the Super League is allowed to start. Money is not really what supporters want to see clubs winning as miscreant owners don’t use that money within the club, they use it one themselves. As Sir Matt Busby one said; “Football is nothing without fans.”.

The Premier League is holding a meeting on Tuesday with the 14 Premier League teams not involved in the Super League. This could result in teams involved in the Super League being suspended from the league, which is the worst case scenario. It is something that needs to be carefully considered though as the league will be severely weakened with these six teams being removed permanently. What a mess this has created.

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Fernandes, Greenwood and McTominay shone in defeat to to RB Leipzig as United exit Champions League

Manchester United were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening after losing 3-2 to RB Leipzig at the RB Arena. Angeliño opened the scoring in the second minute with Amadou Haidara doubling the lead in the 13th minute of the match. A third goal was scored in the first half, but VAR ruled it out for offside. United did conceded the third goal of the match in the 69th minute through Justin Kluivert but a penalty scored by Bruno Fernandes then a header from Harry Maguire got United back into the match seeking a third goal to stay in the Champions League. But the Europa League it is this season now.

It was another poor start for United this season as the hosts opened up the scoring in the second minute of the match with Manchester City loanee Angeliño firing Leipzig 1-0 on the first attack of the match. It was a dire position for United to put themselves into this early in the match. Their chances of continuing in the competition became slimmer. United were not able to recover from the hosts quick passing which threatened United all over the pitch. In the 13th minute of the match, Amadou Haidara doubled the German side’s lead, putting United on the brink in the competition this season.

Leipzig scored a third goal in the first half but VAR ruled that it was offside. That was lucky for United, who were well out of the match by that point. The first half ended with United 2-0 down and needing a big second half to remain in the competition. United had fallen from top spot to third-placed in the group at this stage of the match. At the start of the second half, Solskjaer made his first substitution with Donny van de Beek replacing Alex Telles, who was not at his best during the first half of the match, or in the past two matches – losing possession 15 times. United started to attack their hosts and break forward, and not gaining much.

Solskjaer made a double substitution in the 61st minute of the match with Brandon Williams and Paul Pogba replacing Luke Shaw and Nemanja Matic. United needed to get themselves back into the match, posing a threat against their hosts, which had not been the case for the majority of the match. A draw here will see United into Monday’s draw for the round of 16 stage of the competition, otherwise they will be in the draw for the round of 32 in the Europa League. Fernandes almost scored, hitting the post, which was a shame.

Justin Kluivert scored Leipzig’s third goal of the match minutes after coming on, seemingly ending United’s hopes of reaching the round of 16 stage this season. United’s defence was worse than inept on the attack and both Maguire and David De Gea did not seem capable of stopping that goal from hitting the back of the net. This was a massive shambles for United and will cost them massively. Mason Greenwood won a penalty for United with just over ten minutes left. Fernandes took the penalty and scored a consolation for United, who needed two more goals to level the scoreline, to save face in the Champions League this season.

United scored against two minutes later with Fernandes sending the ball into the box and both Pogba and Maguire rising to collect the ball just in front of the goal. The ball was sent towards goal with the Leipzig keeper handling the ball into the back of the net. Pogba was originally given the goal, which was seemingly scored by Maguire, and later given to him. United just needed one more goal to level the score and remain in the competition this season. Despite a number of chances, United were not able to score a third goal and exit the Champions League, falling into the Europa League once again, which is not all that thrilling in all honesty.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Had no chance saving the first goal but should have got something on the second. As for the third, a player of his experience should have made the effort. Not impressed with his form of late. Henderson is waiting in the wings for his chance - perhaps he should start on Saturday?

12345

2 Victor Lindelof

Played well in the first half at times and did not make an error. It was a shame that United conceded twice in the half though. I'd like to see United play one game and keep a clean sheet, which could provide some confidence. Was replaced by Tuanzebe in the 78th minute.

12345

5 Harry Maguire

Played some good defensive football at times and got forward for a lot of the match. His hesitation cost United for Kluivert goal. Scored United's second of the match, which was not enough to progress.

12345

23 Luke Shaw

Played better as a left-back than the third central defender. Was booked, somewhat harshly, in my opinion. Was replaced by Williams in the 61st minute.

12345

29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

After this performance, you can see why United are rumoured to be interested in signing another right-back. AWOL for the opening goal, not good enough for the second and could have gifted the German club a third goal with a poor back heel. Replaced by Fosu-Mensah in the 77th minute.

12345

31 Nemanja Matic

Played a deep role which allowed McTominay to play further forward. Much of the match passed him by though, which is not a good point to make. United need to concentrate on their defence in January, focusing on a defensive midfielder and a central defender. But they probably won't apply that kind of logic.

12345

39 Scott McTominay

Took a while to warm to the match. Was one of the players determined ot try and get United out of the swamp they have placed themselves into. He can say he did his best, which is not something many others can say.

12345

27 Alex Telles

Poor from the Brazilian. Lost possession 15 times in the first half. Did not seem to be capable of doing much. He was replaced by Van de Beek at half time.

12345

18 Bruno Fernandes

Booked in the fifth minute. Scored from the penalty spot once again. Had a shot saved and his the crossbar. This will be a bitter pill to swallow. United will now have to recharge their batteries and get ready for Thursday night football once again.

12345

11 Mason Greenwood

One of the bright sparks of the match. Should have scored himself. Showed a lot of ability and tried to get United into a good position. Won the penalty which got them started and close to staying in the competition.

12345

10 Marcus Rashford

Started the match quietly. he first half was not his best half. He slowly got into the second. Seemed to choose the wrong options most of the time. Did have a part to play though, despite the defeat.

12345

Substitutes

34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Telles 46'. Helped to change the game somewhat for United. Could have done a lot better though.

12345

33 Brandon Williams

Replaced Shaw 61'. Got physical and stuck into the job in hand. Not sure why so many criticise him. He's a young player that has given his all when he's played.

12345

6 Paul Pogba

Replaced Matic 61'. It was all about him tonight, whether he played or not. Had some good involvement in the match. I'd like to see consistency from him though.

12345

Ratings: Fernandes, Greenwood and McTominay shone in defeat to to RB Leipzig as United exit Champions League

Replaced Wan-Bissaka 77'. I'm not sure he really got into the match. United were on the attack for much of the final ten minutes and added time, seeking a third goal which never came.

12345

38 Axel Tuanzebe

Replaced Lindelof 78'. Did not spend much time on the pitch, or have much involvement. United were pushing for a third goal for much of the tine he was on the pitch.

12345

Goals: Angeliño 2′, Amadou Haidara 13′, Justin Kluivert 69′; Bruno Fernandes 80′ penalty, Harry Maguire 82′

Assists: Marcel Sabitzer 2′, Angeliño 13′, Christopher Nkunku 69′; Bruno Fernandes 82′

Manchester United: De Gea; Lindelof (Tuanzebe 78′), Maguire, Shaw (Williams 61′); Wan-Bissaka (Fosu-Mensah 77′), Matic (Pogba 61′), McTominay, Telles (Van de Beek 46′); Fernandes; Greenwood, Rashford

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson, Grant; Bailly; Mata, Lingard, James; Ighalo

Bookings: Nordi Mukiele 32′, Marcel Sabitzer 35′, Justin Kluivert 62′, Tyler Adams 81′; Bruno Fernandes 5′, Luke Shaw 43′, Harry Maguire 62′, Brandon Williams 68′, Victor Lindelof 77′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Greenwood, Rashford and Fernandes lead the line in Leipzig, Shaw returns, Pogba on the bench

Manchester United will travel to Germany to face RB Leipzig at the RB Arena in the final group stage match of the UEFA Champions League this evening. United top the group, albeit on goal difference right now and require a point to reach the round of 16 of the competition this season. Defeats to Istanbul Basaksehir and Paris Saint-Germain have led to United leaving it late to reach the knockout stages of the competition this season. If they lose and PSG win, the UEFA Europa League could beckon once again. A win or a draw will see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side into the round of 16 draw on Monday 14 December.

Leipzig will not be looking to face defeat like they did against United at Old Trafford earlier this season with United scoring five goals against the club. The German side will have seen that United are defensively imperfect at this moment in time, but United would have seen the same. The German club have not kept a clean sheet in their last five matches, conceding three goals in each of their last two matches. United though have a similar problem – keeping a clean sheet once in five matches and conceding seven goals in their last four matches. This could be a good match but United will need to prevail.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Wan-Bissaka, Matic, McTominay, Telles;

Fernandes;

Greenwood, Rashford

Substitutes:

Henderson, Grant; Bailly, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe, Williams; Pogba, Mata, Lingard, James, Van de Beek; Ighalo

RB Leipzig:

Gulácsi;

Mukiele, Konaté, Orban, Angelińo;

Sabitzer, Haidara, Kampl;

Nkunku, Forsberg;

Olmo

Substitutes:

Wosz, Sørloth, Tschauner, Halstenberg, Poulsen, Adams, Kluivert, Martínez, Martel

United and Leipzig have met once in the Champions League with United winning 5-0. United have played German opposition many times in European competition. The first German team played was Borussia Dortmund in 1956 followed by FK Vorwärts Berlin in 1965 with Dortmund again in 1997 followed by FC Bayern München in 1998 and 1999 in what was a good season for United. The Red Devils have also faced Bayer 04 Leverkusen, VfB Stuttgart, VfL Wolfsburg and FC Schalke 04. United have played 31 matches against German clubs, winning 15, drawing eight and losing eight. United have scored 55 goals, conceding 36 against German clubs.

United have faced Bayern München the most when playing against German clubs with eleven matches being played against the club with United winning twice, drawing five times and being defeated four times. One of the wins was in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final, a 2-1 victory in Barcelona. The last German team to face United in the competition was Wolfsburg in the group stages of the competition five years ago, winning once and losing once. Leipzig have faced Tottenham Hotspur in the round of 16 in the Champions League last season, their only English opposition, winning 4-0 on aggregate; 1-0 in London and 3-0 in Leipzig.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [3-4-1-2] Martial and Rashford, with Fernandes in behind? Pogba to inspire United to victory?

Manchester United will travel to Germany to face RB Leipzig at the RB Arena in the final group stage match of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening. United top the group, albeit on goal difference right now and require a point to reach the round of 16 of the competition this season. Defeats to Istanbul Basaksehir and Paris Saint-Germain have led to United leaving it late to reach the knockout stages of the competition this season. If they lose and PSG win, the UEFA Europa League could beckon once again. A win or a draw will see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side into the round of 16 draw on Monday 14 December.

Leipzig will not be looking to face defeat like they did against United at Old Trafford earlier this season with United scoring five goals against the club. The German side will have seen that United are defensively imperfect at this moment in time, but United would have seen the same. The German club have not kept a clean sheet in their last five matches, conceding three goals in each of their last two matches. United though have a similar problem – keeping a clean sheet once in five matches and conceding seven goals in their last four matches. This could be a good match but United will need to prevail.

How United have faired against RB Leipzig and other German teams in the European Champions Clubs’ Cup and the UEFA Champions League.

United and Leipzig have met once in the Champions League with United winning 5-0. United have played German opposition many times in European competition. The first German team played was Borussia Dortmund in 1956 followed by FK Vorwärts Berlin in 1965 with Dortmund again in 1997 followed by FC Bayern München in 1998 and 1999 in what was a good season for United. The Red Devils have also faced Bayer 04 Leverkusen, VfB Stuttgart, VfL Wolfsburg and FC Schalke 04. United have played 31 matches against German clubs, winning 15, drawing eight and losing eight. United have scored 55 goals, conceding 36 against German clubs.

United have faced Bayern München the most when playing against German clubs with eleven matches being played against the club with United winning twice, drawing five times and being defeated four times. One of the wins was in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final, a 2-1 victory in Barcelona. The last German team to face United in the competition was Wolfsburg in the group stages of the competition five years ago, winning once and losing once. Leipzig have faced Tottenham Hotspur in the round of 16 in the Champions League last season, their only English opposition, winning 4-0 on aggregate; 1-0 in London and 3-0 in Leipzig.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League at the RB Arena on Tuesday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea missed the 3-1 victory over West Ham United on Saturday evening with a knee injury. Hopefully he will be fit to face RB Leipzig on Tuesday evening. He started and played 90 minutes against Paris Saint-Germain last week in the Champions League, days after suffering a knee injury against Southampton, which saw hims substituted at half time with Dean Henderson replacing him and starting against the Hammers this weekend. If he is not fit, Henderson will be called upon once again in the elite European competition, hoping to have a better match than the one against Istanbul Basaksehir, which United lost 2-1 in Turkey.

Defenders: Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire

It is important that United’s defence find their feet as at the moment, it is the area that United seem to be lacking in. In their last three matches, six goals have been conceded with United winning two matches – coming from behind and losing the other, despite coming from behind the level the scoreline. A three-man defence might work against Leipzig with Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire all starting. Luke Shaw has played in a three-man defence this season, but it does not look like he will be fit to face the German side this week, which is a shame. Victor Lindelof could refresh his batteries if he is rested in Tuesday.

Midfield Four: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, Alex Telles

The midfield is key to this United side winning their matches. With a three at the back formation, the fullbacks will operate in midfield, playing further forward than normal, which for Alex Telles will be find as he regularly played in this position with Porto. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will keep his place on the right with both Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay playing in the centre of midfield. United should be able to sort things with this formation as it gives three forward players just ahead of the midfield on the attack with the fullbacks providing the width and them pushing back in defence when needed, giving five at the back.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes is the best player in this United squad this season and he has not been at the club for a year yet. He has scored ten goals and seven assists in all competitions this season. When he does not play, United seem to miss him, which shows how much he offers the club. It is important that United keep him fit and that rumours of clubs in Europe being interested in him are not true. United should be giving him a new contract based on the impact he has had at the club, ensuring that any attempt to sign him end with frustration for the club that wants him. This will be a busy week for United with Leipzig and Manchester City on the horizon.

Forwards: Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood

Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood are two of the brightest talents to come out of United’s academy in a long time. With the fact that Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial could be unavailable for the visit to Germany on Tuesday evening, the home grown duo could lead the line for United with Fernandes playing just behind them in his favoured position. Both Rashford and Greenwood scored against West Ham on Saturday so will be seeking to continue to guide United onto the right road, which should be the road to consistency. This is an important match. It is quite possible that Cavani and Martial could be involved in some capacity.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson, Lee Grant; Victor Lindelof, Tim Fosu-Mensah, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Daniel James, Facundo Pellistri, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek; Odion Ighalo

In the Champions League, Solskjaer will have five substitutions, which will help this month with seven more matches to be played before the 29 December. This will be the final Champions League group stage Marchand will decide whether United will be in the round of 16 stage draw on Monday. Dean Henderson and Lee Grant could be the goalkeepers on the bench with Victor Lindelof, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Brandon Williams available in defence. In midfield, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Daniel James, Facundo Pellistri and Nemanja Matic could be called upon with Odion Ighalo the only forward on the bench.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW