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Europa League 2016/17: FC Rostov 1-1 Manchester United, 5 Talking Points

Here are five things we learned from the Europa League round-of-16 match between Rostov and Manchester United.

The Red Devils will be satisfied with an away goal

Manchester United played out a 1-1 draw with FC Rostov in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League round-of-16 first leg. While Henrikh Mkhitaryan opened the scoring for visitors in the 35th minute, Aleksander Bukharov equalised early in the second half of what was a far from an entertaining match.

The Red Devils will be satisfied with an away goal which holds them in good stead going into the second leg at Old Trafford on March 16. Both the teams failed to stamp their authority on the match and settled for a stalemate with none of the goalkeepers forced into making extravagant saves.

There was a scarcity of talking points in a dull affair, here are five of the most important of them.

#1 United played a 3-5-2, preparation for Chelsea?

Mourinho named a United side with three central defenders, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo, forming the back-line. While Ashley Young and Daley Blind were deployed as wing-backs, Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera were part of a three-man midfield. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan were the two forwards.

With United’s next fixture an FA Cup tie against Chelsea, Mourinho decided to test a three at the back formation. Tottenham Hotspur quite famously trumped Chelsea and ended their winning streak by playing with a similar formation.

Though Guardiola’s City failed against the Blues using a similar formation, Mourinho seemed to have taken a leaf out of Pochettino’s tactics and it won’t be surprising if a similar formation is used against the Premier League leaders.

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