Home ยป Three things we learned from Manchester United’s 3-2 triumph in Cyprus

Three things we learned from Manchester United’s 3-2 triumph in Cyprus

by Derick Kinoti

Manchester United were in Europa League action against Omonia in the Red Devils’ third Europa League game of the season.

Erik ten Hag fielded a relatively strong starting XI, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Casemiro handed starts in place of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

Here are three things we learned from United’s 3-2 victory against Omonia.

Dominant first half

United were in cruise control in the first half and were dominating proceedings.

The team was keeping the ball well and pegging Omonia’s defence to their box. There was the creation of an avalanche of chances but the finishing touch was lacking.

Antony was undoubtedly the Reds’ best player of the opening 45 minutes. The winger was a constant pain in Omonia’s backside, with his wide array of skills and bags of trickery in full display. Antony almost replicated the goal he scored in the derby but the Omonia goalkeeper did just enough to parry the curled shot wide.

Casemiro, the deepest-lying midfielder was another standout performer. He was effective in shielding the back-four and distributing the ball, linking up the defence to the attack. In this role, the Brazilian was aided to great effect by Lisandro Martinez.

Martinez was United’s most adventurous centre-back, driving forward on multiple occasions and providing line-breaking passes.

However, United’s possession and control was broken in the 34th minute. Omonia shed first blood courtesy of Karim Ansarifard. Neil Lennon’s men broke the deadlock through a brilliant counter-attack, capitalizing on a Tyrell Malacia error.

Nevertheless, it was a brilliant first half which on another day, would have seen the 20-time English champions up by two or three goals.

Jadon Sancho needs to offer more

Jadon Sancho was by no stretch of the imagination horrendous in the 45 minutes he was on the pitch. However, many will be in agreement that the Englishman needs to offer far more than he did against Manchester City and Omonia.

Sancho was substituted during the break and rightly so. He has been accused of failing to take on his man when in duel situations, instead electing to pass back to the full-back.

This mishap was punished against Omonia, as it was his errant pass to Malacia that put the defender in trouble before he was hurriedly dispossessed.

Sancho has great potential and with his ability, should be a creative outlet for his side. He needs to take more risks and bank on the talents that earned him a big money move to United.

Antony seems to have nailed down the right wing position, which would only leave the left flank available for Sancho, who has to battle it out with Marcus Rashford for the position.

On account of the game against Omonia, Rashford has the edge over his Three Lions teammate. Rashford wasted no time imposing himself on the game, scoring just eight minutes after the break to draw United level. He went on to grab a second in the late stages of the tie.

Anthony Martial is United’s most lethal attacker

Alongside Raphael Varane, United must do everything possible to keep Anthony Martial match-fit and in peak physical condition.

The French striker is easily United’s best attacker as evidenced by his impact off the bench in yet another game, as he did against City in the derby day drubbing.

Martial came on for Bruno Fernandes and like Rashford, scored almost immediately. The United no. 9 combined well with Rashford to score the Red Devils’ second of the night and put the team in the lead.

Beyond his wonderful goal, Martial showed his excellence in link-up play and holding the ball. The player had some wonderful touches and seamlessly slotted in to gel the attack.

It will only bode well for the striker’s confidence that Ten Hag has placed so much trust and faith in him. At the moment he is repaying the manager’s trust and in this kind of form, will have a significant say in how United’s season turns out.

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