Manchester United have really negatively surprised everyone with their opening Champions League match on Tuesday night. The Red Devils have lost 2-1 to Young Boys, champions of Switzerland, as they opened the scoring, but then fell to 10 men.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s red card changed it all, after Cristiano Ronaldo put the boys in front just under quarter of an hour into the game. But the second half made it look like United could simply not cope having 10 men on the pitch and Young Boys made the most out of it, scoring the winning goal in the dying moments of the match.
We wrote what we learned from the game right afterwards, but now let’s have a look at everything we could learn after taking a look at some underlying numbers.
Shocking Number Of Shots
Manchester United finished the game with a total of two shots in 90 minutes of football. Two. One, from which Ronaldo scored and then just one more. Sure, they had 10 men and they struggled without Wan-Bissaka, but this was not a vintage 2011 Barcelona, with Messi, Xavi and Iniesta in the team. No, this was Young Boys, who were without Nsame, their main player, and they still managed to do so much better.
Young Boys made 20 shots, five of which went on target, and that was ultimately enough for them to snatch a late win. What Man United should get from these mere two shots and 0.5 expected goals in the process, is that they were utterly helpless with 10 men. It is harder when you have a player sent off, but there was nothing from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team to say they were going to fight to prevail. Some other teams, like Man City, would still not have so much trouble to get on the ball. Thus, it is confirmed yet again – these problems are structural…
United Struggle To Stop Players Even In A Low Block
When Wan-Bissaka got sent off 35 minutes into the game, it was Jadon Sancho who had to come off for Diogo Dalot. United decided to play with a low block, sometimes a bit higher, but ultimately, surrendering plenty to their opponents. They had less of the ball and were trying to negate the space for Young Boys to operate in. And despite all of that, Young Boys managed to dribble past Man United players on nine occasions. Players like Pogba did not even register a tackle, while only Fred managed to get a couple of balls back, which ultimately led to nothing.
Maguire Does Well On The Ball
Harry Maguire had to lead a team that was struggling with 10 men and he was often put under a lot of pressure, but the centre-back did well on this occasion. This was particularly the case of his on-the-ball moves. He made 47 passes, more than any United player, he often progressed it forward, making five passes into the final third, second only to Luke Shaw’s six. He also managed to tackle well, winning the ball back three times and he made another three interceptions and four clearances. Plenty of work for him on Tuesday…
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