Home ยป Three things we learned from Manchester United’s 1-0 win against Omonia

Three things we learned from Manchester United’s 1-0 win against Omonia

by Derick Kinoti

Manchester United faced Omonia in the Europa League, with Erik ten Hag and his players looking to build on their last victory against the opposition.

The manager fielded a strong starting XI, with Cristiano Ronaldo leading the attack. Casemiro started yet another game after his success against Everton. Victor Lindelof, fresh off 200 games for United partnered Lisandro Martinez in the heart of the defence, with Raphael Varane deemed not fit enough to start.

Here are three things we learned from United’s hotly-contested win against a stubborn Omonia side.

Dominant first half

The Red Devils were the better side in the opening 45 minutes by a huge margin.

United finished the first half with 79% possession and an astonishing 15 shots at goal, with four being on target. How the team went into the break still level with Omonia who barely threatened will remain a mystery.

Beyond possession and retention of the ball, Ten Hag’s men created an avalanche of chances but failed to guide the ball into the back of the net.

Marcus Rashford had a few pops at goal but was repelled by the Omonia goalkeeper on more than one occasion.

Casemiro also had two clear-cut opportunities but could only hit the woodwork. Fred was solid beside his Brazilian compatriot and helped to marshall the defence well in Christian Eriksen’s absence.

Defensively, the Reds were compact and in tune with each other. Even David de Gea, who has been criticised for his failure to initiate sweeping action and come off his line did so in fine fashion, at one point almost coming to the centre of the pitch!

While Ten Hag will undoubtedly have been disappointed that the players did not take their chances, he will be buoyed by the fact that his imprint and football philosophy seems to be taking shape more and more.

United extremely wasteful

United’s failure to convert chances was a running theme that extended well into the second half.

Like in the first half where the team fashioned multiple chances, they also did this in the second half.

What will frustrate United fans was the sheer failure to make something out of those opportunities.

Rashford missed a few more other chances in the second half, as did most of his teammates. Bruno Fernandes blazed a couple of balls over the bar. Ronaldo was barely impactful.

Jadon Sancho and Eriksen who came in added another layer of dynamism to the attack but could not definitively carve open a stubborn Omonia defence.

Fortunately for the Red Devils, Scott McTomiany could find his shooting boots and helped his side to a 1-0 win.

Fred and Lindelof are excellent competition/Backup alternatives

Lindelof and Fred were good against Omonia. The defender has seamlessly transitioned back into the backline, forging an effective alliance with Martinez, similar to the one that exists between the Argentine and Varane.

Lindelof’s abilities on the ball always meant he would thrive under Ten Hag, and like against Everton on Sunday, he flourished tonight in this regard.

Fred who started in place of Eriksen was equally up to the mark and even had a few chances to score a goal.

The United boss may have a nailed-on starting XI in his mind, but on evidence of tonight, the pair can be relied upon to come in and do a job. They may also serve to keep others in their place on their toes and always looking over their shoulder.

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