Manchester United players rating against Valencia
Manchester United could only bag a draw against Valencia on their second matchday in the Champions League. This means that the club is now without a win in their last 4 games.
United went into the match amidst talks of a crisis with manager Jose Mourinho reportedly having lost the support of his players. There is a talk of giving the Portuguese tactician a sack and bringing in former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.
If anything, the game failed to ease up any bit of pressure on the team or the manager. Avoiding a loss at this time and getting a much needed clean sheet are perhaps the only positives to take out of the game for the Manchester club.
Here is how each of the players performed:
David De Gea - 6
The Spanish shot-stopper did not have much to do in the game as Valencia rarely threatened the goal in spite of the fact that their build-up play at times was really good. He made one solitary save in the game and apart from that all he had to do was work on his distribution and keep a steady presence behind the defense.
Antonio Valencia - 5
Left far too much space in behind him and was many a time caught off position. The Ecuadorian has been on a downward spiral at the club for a few months now. Every attack by the opposition came through from the left where United's captain was found wanting. He wasn't very effective in attack as well, providing only a couple of harmless crosses.
Eric Bailly - 7
Bailly had looked especially bad during the opening games of the season and was dropped thereafter. United fans would take positives from his comeback performance in this game. He rarely did make any mistake and was an assured presence at the back throughout. Making interceptions and breaking the opposition's attacks till the very end. Bailly might just make his way back to the United opening line up after this display
Chris Smalling - 6
Got the job done for the team and would be happy with the clean sheet. Smalling wasn't exceptional but gave an assuring performance. He was once again United's main man thwarting aerial balls. Smalling might rekindle his defensive partnership with Bailly after this game.
Luke Shaw - 7.5
Perhaps Man United's biggest and only positive aspect of this season. Luke Shaw gave another scintillating display being a rock at the back throughout. He kept nearly everything out from his side if the pitch and rarely ever looked to be troubled by the opposition's attack. Shaw was perhaps found lacking in the attacking department in the game as we rarely saw any of his marauding runs forward, but he did the job at the back and there wouldn't be any complaints about his performance.
Nemanja Matic - 6
Doing what he does best, the Serbian played as the deepest sitting midfielder and worked to break the opposition's play. He also kept the play ticking in midfield and had the most number of passes of any United player in the game. Couldn't help out the team offensively but that never really is a part of his game.
Marouane Fellaini - 6.5
The Belgian played further forward in this match than he usually has this season. It didn't prove to be too much of a difference as the team failed to score. But the best part of his game again was in defense, which is the reason why Mourinho continues to select him over other options. Breaking up the play at times even more effectively than Matic, Fellaini was one of the main reason why United kept a clean sheet. Though fans would want a lot more from him going forward.
Paul Pogba - 6.5
With both Matic and Fellaini tending to the defensive side of things, most of the creative responsibilities in the team fell on the shoulders of Pogba. To his credit, Pogba was perhaps the only player in the game trying to make things happen for United. He had a well-taken free-kick saved by the opposition keeper in the second half. The Frenchman was perhaps unlucky to not have a firing line of forwards in front of him.
Marcus Rashford - 5.5
Started the game brightly, taking on a couple of shots after cutting inside from the left wing. Rashford soon petered of the game and couldn't make any significant impact thereafter. The most disappointing, however, was his work from the corner kicks. Wasting every one of them by either not being able to clear the first man or putting it straight to the goalkeeper. The only good corner kick was the one that Shaw took off him and nearly created a goal. Did get close to scoring at the end with a free kick that hit the crossbar.
Romleu Lukaku - 5
The Belgian striker huffed and puffed but couldn't grab an opportunity for his side. He forced a save from the keeper in the second half and missed an open header from Shaw's corner kick later on. It was evident that Lukaku needs better creative forces behind him as he went over to the right wing at times himself to make something happen. Nonetheless, the striker is currently on a bit if a goal drought and has to do better in the next game given.
Alexis Sanchez - 4.5
Another underwhelming display from the Chilean who does not look anywhere near the player that he was at Arsenal. Perhaps it is the manager's fault to be failing to get anything out of the star winger but Sanchez definitely needs to do more offensively if he is to turn things around. He currently looks to be a player caught in two minds where he has to consistently track back and then somehow be a creative outlet behind Lukaku. Sanchez mishit a couple of shots in the box late in the second half before being substituted. Mourinho needs to rethink the Chilean's positioning in the team before the former Arsenal man becomes one of the biggest transfer fails at the club in recent times.
Anthony Martial - 5
Came on for Sanchez but didn't make any real difference to the team. Sums up how Mourinho is struggling to get anything out of his strikers currently.