Champions League, Manchester United 0-1 Barcelona: 5 errors from United that cost them the game
Manchester United welcomed Barcelona to Old Trafford on Wednesday for the clash of the titans in the UEFA Champions League. It was a tie that heavily favored the Catalans. To make matters worse, they had the best player in the world in their ranks and Lionel Messi was in scintillating form this season as well. The Argentinean relishes playing against English opposition and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knew that he had very little room for error on the night.
The Norwegian started with De Gea at goal, with Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, and Diego Dalot making up the back five. The new look midfield consisted of Scott McTominay and Fred alongside Paul Pogba, while Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku formed a two-man attack.
Barcelona piled the pressure on United right from kick-off and got their reward when Suarez scored the opening goal in the 12th minute, thanks to his header deflecting in off Shaw. United toiled through the first half but failed to find the equalizer.
In the second half, both teams had chances to score and United improved their efforts, yet failed to scored. The game ended 1-0 in the favor of Barcelona and Solskjaer is once again left with a herculean task in the second leg.
Barcelona were the better side of the night, but United were the architects of their own destruction. Here, we look at the 5 errors from the Red Devils that cost them the game.
#5 Team Selection and shape
Solskjaer opted for a back five, as he has done on quite a few occasions this season. However, what made things interesting was that he opted to put Shaw as a center back and Dalot as a left back. The motive behind this move was clear; the United manager wanted more security against the movement of Messi. However, it was a ploy that took too much away from United in the final third.
Because of the extra man at the back, United had to opt for a two-man frontline of Lukaku and Rashford, and the Barcelona defense was hardly put under any pressure in the first half. Despite the extra man at the back, Fred and McTominay were still busy shielding the defense. It cost United their natural game and resulted in a toothless attack.