Despite an underwhelming display, a crucial goal by Anthony Elanga saw Manchester United avoid defeat against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday as the Red Devils struggled to deliver a compelling result in Madrid. While many expected Ralf Rangnick’s side to kick on following a morale-boosting victory against Leeds United, an unconvincing start to the game saw them fail to assert their dominance from the first whistle.
With Simeone’s men pushing to break the deadlock from the start, the visitors struggled to cope with their transitions and fluid game-plan; conceding just seven minutes into the game on Wednesday. United struggled to break down a resolute defensive set-up by Atletico Madrid throughout the first half.
The Red Devils failed to retain possession and execute impactful transitions into the attacking third. However, following a triple substitution deep into the second half, the visitors eventually began to gain control of the midfield, culminating into a much-needed equaliser in the final ten minutes of the tie.
Now, with a tie against Watford in the Premier League presenting a golden opportunity to improve their chances of securing top-four, Rangnick will be hoping for a relatively improved display by the team this weekend. With the home tie against Atletico Madrid emerging as the decider, United will be keen on gaining momentum ahead of the second-leg European tie next month.
David De Gea (GK) – 6/10: Having been called into action on a few occasions, De Gea remained a spectator for most of the ninety minutes on Wednesday. A reliable figure between the sticks, the Spaniard will be keen on maintaining his good run of form until the end of the season.
Victor Lindelöf (RB) – 6/10: A surprise inclusion at right-back, Lindelof remained amongst the team’s better-performing defenders against the Rojiblancos. Although having been substituted in the second half, the Swede will be keen on being included in the starting XI this weekend.
Raphael Varane (RCB) – 5/10: Occasionally clumsy in possession, Varane emerged as an unconvincing figure against the Spanish side. Despite accounting for a handful of significant clearances, the Frenchman struggled to perform to his potential in Madrid.
Harry Maguire (LCB) – 5/10: Partly at fault for the opening goal on the evening, Maguire failed to carry on the momentum from his impressive display against Leeds last weekend. Expected to remain a regular feature in the backline, the Englishman will be keen on redeeming himself over the coming weeks.
Luke Shaw (LB) – 5/10: Another disappointing performance saw Luke Shaw struggle to provide adequate support on the left flank against Atletico. With Alex Telles likely to feature this weekend, Shaw will be hoping to perform to his potential over the coming weeks.
Fred (CDM) – 5/10: Having failed to impose himself in midfield, Fred struggled to execute his role efficiently on Wednesday. With Nemanja Matic having delivered a significant cameo against the Rojiblancos, the Brazilian will be wary of losing his starting spot over the coming weeks.
Paul Pogba (CM) – 4/10: A disappointing performance saw the United midfielder fail to gain control and provide adequate support from the midfield against Atletico Madrid. Having delivered a non-productive performance on Wednesday, the Frenchman will be keen on redeeming himself this weekend.
Bruno Fernandes (CAM) – 6/10: A frustrating figure throughout the ninety minutes, Fernandes struggle to impact the game before providing an important assist for the equaliser on Wednesday. Considered to be the team’s primary play-maker, the midfielder will be keen on delivering impactful performances moving forward.
Marcus Rashford (RW) – 3/10: Wasteful in possession, Rashford failed to deliver a convincing performance against Simeone’s men. With Anthony Elanga emerging as a comparatively impactful figure, the English winger will be wary of receiving fewer opportunities over the coming weeks.
Jadon Sancho (LW) – 5/10: A victim of United’s failure to retain possession, Sancho struggled to deliver an impactful performance against Atletico. Although due for a rest, the youngster will be keen on contributing to the team’s prospects over the coming weeks.
Cristiano Ronaldo (ST) – 5/10: Having struggled to receive service throughout the Atletico Madrid vs United game, Ronaldo remained a passenger for most of the ninety minutes. With his impact depleting with every outing, the striker will be keen on finding the back of the net as soon as possible.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) – 6/10: A surprise introduction ahead of Dalot, Wan-Bissaka solidified the team’s backline in the second half. Although unlikely to warranty a place in the starting line-up this weekend, the full-back will be keen on retaining his place over the coming weeks.
Nemanja Matic (CDM) – 6/10: Having majorly contributed to retaining possession following his introduction, Matic’s addition proved vital to United’s improvement in the second half. With Scott McTominay likely to be reassessed for the tie against Watford, Matic will be pushing for a starting spot this weekend.
Alex Telles (LB) – 6/10: Expected to start the game on Saturday against Watford, Telles delivered a decent cameo against Atletico. With Shaw due for a rest, the Brazilian will be keen on finding a place in the starting line-up this weekend.
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Anthony Elanga (RW) – 7/10: Proving to be an impactful substitute for the manager, Elanga is likely to push for a starting spot this weekend. Having shown potential and desire, the youngster is likely to be granted a start against Watford.
Jesse Lingard (LW) – 6/10: A decent cameo saw Lingard contribute to the team’s discipline following the equaliser. Unlikely to find himself as a regular starter, the midfielder is expected to remain a rotational player until the end of the campaign.
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