After a poor first half, Manchester United cruised to a 4-0 victory over AZ Alkmaar at Old Trafford last night to top Europa League Group L and ensure an easier draw in the knockout phases. But what did we learn from the performance?
1. Ole is looking to a Maguire/Tuanzebe partnership
With the rest of the first choice starting XI rested except Martial, who needs match fitness, why was Harry Maguire in the starting line-up? It is likely that Olé saw this as an opportunity to watch and develop the Maguire/Tuanzebe centre back partnership, which suggests this might be his first choice pairing going forward. On this performance, that looks like a good shout.
2. Matic has no future at Manchester United
A relic of the Mourinho era, the slow Serbian looks increasingly out of place in this United side. It was a first comeback game after a long layoff, but even so, Matic’s languid and deliberate game sticks out like a sore thumb in Solskjaer’s United.
3. Martial needs a rocket up his backside
As noted by BT Sports pundits Owen Hargreaves and Michael Owen at half-time, this was another frustrating performance by Martial, who didn’t seem willing to put effort into the high press demanded by his manager. There seems to be a mental inconsistency to the player that won’t go away.
Mason Greenwood will be fighting Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial for Premier League minutes after a starring role vs AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League https://t.co/MjsG4E3WRM pic.twitter.com/iDPO5qxg37
— Footy Corner (@footycor) December 13, 2019
4. Greenwood must start in more Premier League games
After a majestic performance and with two more goals under his belt, Mason Greenwood is knocking so hard on the first team door now that his knuckles must be bleeding. How long can Solskjaer hold him back when he performs like this?
5. Solskjaer has a hairdryer
If we were in any doubt as to whether the manager was able to rouse his players and get the most out of them, then the half-time team talk last night surely proves that he has learned a thing or two about hairdryers from his playing days under Sir Alex Ferguson. Whatever he did and said completely turned the course of the match on its head.