Manchester United have suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League this evening in a game that was overshadowed by Luke Shaw’s horrendous injury.
Louis van Gaal rearranged his attacking personnel for the clash and it almost paid dividends early on as Anthony Martial, Memphis Depay and Juan Mata, who was playing in the No.10 role, combined before coming close. Unfortunately, the game was then halted for an extended period of time after Shaw suffered a nasty looking injury thanks to a reckless challenge from Hector Moreno.
The game understandably quietened down but a moment of magic from Memphis gave United the opening goal when he evaded two PSV shirts before finishing calmly. However, United’s lead didn’t last long as Moreno soon headed in an equaliser with help from a deflection off Daley Blind.
Martial and Memphis plugged away at PSV following the break but it was the Dutch side who went in front when confusion at the back led to Luciano Narsingh nodding in. Minutes later, Mata was presented with an excellent chance a few yards away from goal after an inch-perfect pass from Bastian Schweinsteiger but the Spaniard mis-controlled the ball and it squirmed away. United fought hard as the clock ticked down but they could not find an equaliser, meaning PSV took all three points.
Shaw has arguably been United’s standout player so far this campaign but his game in Holland was abruptly ended by a crunching tackle from Hector Moreno. The Englishman received lengthy treatment on the pitch from a number of medics and was eventually stretchered off for Marcos Rojo.
Devastating. Absolutely devastating. Shaw had put in plenty of work over the summer to prepare for this campaign after a frustrating debut season, and he started brilliantly, but it now looks like he will be out of action for a while. For a young player to suffer such a horrific injury is heartbreaking. As for Moreno, the fact that he stayed on the pitch and then scored PSV’s equaliser was scandalous. The hope for everyone in football is that Shaw isn’t sidelined for too long.
It looked like United found it difficult to focus following Shaw’s injury but they went in front after 41 minutes when Memphis danced past two PSV defenders before slotting into the net.
It was a moment of supreme quality from Memphis, who seems to be enjoying playing in European competition so far this term. The Dutchman now has three goals in three European games (including qualifiers). Along with Martial and Ashley Young, United had some pace in their attack and it was clear that it gave them an edge going forward.
PSV’s second goal
United have been very impressive from a defensive point of view this term but Shaw’s absence disrupted the back line and PSV edged in front thanks to misjudgements from both Darmian and Rojo.
First of all, Darmian gifted possession back to Andres Guardado before Rojo failed to reach Maxime Lestienne’s cross into the box. It was poor from United and van Gaal would have been dismayed with the defending on show.
United looked to finally have a reliable and established back four but Shaw’s injury will force a reshuffle. Whoever replaces the youngster will need to put some work in on the training ground to develop a rapport with his teammates.
Fresh off the back of his superb debut against Liverpool, Martial was used from the off against PSV as Marouane Fellaini was feeling ill.
The Frenchman was bright, linked up well with Memphis and Young and he continued to showcase the impressive hold-up play we saw last week at Old Trafford. For someone so young, Martial seems to be mature in the way he goes about playing the game and he is also more than a match for defenders physically. However, he couldn’t get himself the goal that United needed as they looked for a way back into the match.
Used in the No.10 role by van Gaal, Mata did not have a good game.
The Spaniard lost possession too many times and he spurned United’s best opportunity to get back in the match after an hour. Mata would have been delighted to finally show off his ability in a central role prior to the clash but he didn’t take the opportunity he was given. He may not be handed another one for a while.