Champions League 2017/18: Manchester United 3-0 FC Basel, Player Ratings
United started their CL campaign in style and here's how each player fared in the match.
Manchester United made light work of Swiss champions FC Basel in their first group stage match of the Champions League at Old Trafford. Substitute Marouane Fellaini opened the scoring for the hosts, and Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford netted one goal apiece to help United stroll away with a 3-0 win.
The visitors showed flashes of brilliance with their vociferous travelling fans making their presence felt in the Theater of Dreams. Though Jose Mourinho's men walked away with all three points at the end, the Portuguese will be wary of the threat the Swiss unit can pose in the away fixture.
However, for now, the Red Devils can bask in the glory of their impressive performance o Champions League return and here's how each of the players fared in the match.
David de Gea - 7/10
Expectedly, the Spanish no.1 had little to do in the match. However, when called upon, De Gea parried Mohamed Elyounoussi's shot in the second half to maintain the clean sheet.
Daley Blind - 8/10
The versatile Dutchman floated in an inviting ball through which Lukaku doubled United's list. Blind wasn't afraid of bombing forward to allow Anthony Martial to cut inside and kept the defensive side of things tidy as well.
Chris Smalling - 7/10
Smalling paired up well with the new arrival Lindelof. With Basel majorly on the defensive, both the central defenders maintained a high line and sprayed the ball around well. Sterner tests await for the English defender.
Victor Lindelof - 7/10
Mourinho had stated in the pre-match conference that Lindelof will feel more comfortable in European matches, something which was evident in the game. With a composed head on his shoulders, the Swede was positionally brilliant and looked comfortable on the ball as well.
Ashley Young - 9/10
The United veteran was brought in the side to replace Antonio Valencia, who Mourinho decided to rest with an eye on the weekend Premier League fixture. Young did not let his manager down and made inroads in the opponent half at will. With Mata dropping deep, the Englishman was given free license to widen the play for United and play in crosses for the likes of Lukaku and Fellaini to finish. He played in a delightful cross for the latter to draw first blood. He made quite a few blocks and clearances as well and was one of the best performers for United.
Nemanja Matic - 7/10
Matic was his usual self in the midfield. Slotting back into defence when one of the central defenders decided to venture forward and guarding them on other occasions. Though he was a bit jittery on the ball sometimes, his long range passing and the ability to nip opposition's attacks in the bud helped United bag all three points.
Paul Pogba - N/A
United's skipper on the night, Pogba, unfortunately, pulled his hamstring in the first half and was subsequently replaced by Fellaini. Mourinho will wait with bated breath to learn the extent of his midfield general's injury and so will all the United fans.
Anthony Martial - 6/10
In all fairness, this wasn't Martial's night. Despite trying his best to make the difference for his team, Martial fluffed his lines more often than not. He missed a couple of gilt edged opportunities and was taken off for Lingard in the second half.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan - 7/10
Mkhitaryan headed the ball over the bar and then hit the woodwork from close range in the first half itself. He tried running into space behind the Basel midfield to open up goal scoring avenues for his teammates. However, the former Dortmund man was able to complete just one take-on in the match along with creating two chances. Though the Armenian saw a lot of the ball, the end product was missing.
Juan Mata - 6/10
Though the Spaniard was involved in some of the build up plays, he largely had an off day. Mata's fellow attacking midfielder, Mkhitaryan, missed a header from close range after the former Chelsea midfielder found him with a delightful delivery from the right. He was taken off for Rashford in the 76th minute.
Romelu Lukaku - 9/10
The towering Belgian drifted right to allow Mkhitaryan and Martial to get into the box. He did drill in a few grounded crosses from the flanks, a couple of which turned out to be decent goal scoring chances as well. Lukaku didn't fail to bury the ball to double United's lead from Blind's corner. All in all, a commendable performance from United's new number 9.
Marouane Fellaini - 9/10
"I feel weaker without Marouane Fellaini," was what Jose Mourinho had to say about the midfielder prior to the match and he did not disappoint. Coming on to fill in for a player like Pogba is no mean feat and the Belgian took the opportunity with aplomb. He was everywhere on the pitch, from creating unrest in the opposition box with his aerial prowess to chesting down De Gea's clearances to making crucial interceptions. One of Fellaini's best performances in the United shirt. The fact that he scored the opener added to his splendid performance.
Jesse Lingard - 6/10
Lingard was brought on for Martial and did not see much of the ball. He would want to convert his time on the bench to minutes on the pitch in the future.
Marcus Rashford - 7/10
Rashford added to the list of goals-scored in various competitive debuts for United, along with scoring on England U21 and senior team's maiden appearance. A legend in the making!