Atalanta vs Manchester United
Manchester United took on Serie A’s Atalanta recently in what was their fourth group clash of the season in the Champions League.
Man United recovered from their 5-0 beating at the hands of Liverpool by beating Tottenham 3-0 last weekend and were also looking to continue that new form through Tuesday.
The Red Devils headed to the top of Group F play knowing that a victory would guarantee they advance to the knockout rounds of the 2021/22 Champions League.
But, when all was said and done at the Atleti Azzurri d’Italia, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and company. I couldn’t handle this. Instead, they tied 2-2 and fell to second place in their group.
Things did not start well for Solskjaer and company. They dominated the early stages, but Duvan Zapata stormed the area before handing it back to Josip Ilicic.
Atalanta leads Man Utd! ⚫️🔵
A situation familiar to the Red Devils arises once again!
As at Old Trafford on matchday three, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men have work to do in Bergamo … pic.twitter.com/QMgI8KpyGa
– Football at BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 2, 2021
However, as always, Cristiano Ronald stepped up to rescue Manchester United at the end of the first 45 and went home from a cute Bruno Fernandes heel. However, United did not last long, as Zapata scored his second of the day in the 57th minute after a lengthy VAR control for offside.
But once again, it would be Ronaldo who stepped forward in the final moments of the game to score a goal out of nowhere and rescue Solskjaer.
Here are five things 101 learned from the game.
There’s still room for Rashford in a back-three
After the success of the back-three / five vs Tottenham over the weekend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was expected to stick with this new system for the Atalanta tie.
However, while it worked for Man United vs Spurs, the formation change seemed to spell bad news for some players like Jadon Sancho and Jesse Lingard, neither of whom really fit into a 3-5-2, which uses full-backs. instead of the actual ends for the width.
However, one player who still seems ready to receive plenty of minutes despite being a winger is Marcus Rashford, who started at the top alongside Cristiano Ronaldo instead of Edinson Cavani.
This comes despite the fact that Rashford hasn’t actually been used as a forward for a few years.
United ended up reverting to a four-man defense when Raphael Varane was injured, but if Ole uses a three in the future, Rashford should have a place in attack.
No defense, just vibrations
With the team at their disposal now, it is not at all unfair to expect this Manchester United team to compete for great honors like the Premier League and the Champions League.
Most of the time, the teams that can reach the end of Europe or win the Premier League have a very strong foundation, which results in very few loss of goals.
However, it is very fair to say that this Man United team does not have a good defense to rely on.
After conceding first against Atalanta, United have come in first in seven of their last 10 games in all competitions, and have kept just a clean sheet in their last 10 Champions League games.
The switch to a back-three should have offered United more security on defense. And while he did it against a goal-shy Tottenham, Atalanta’s play seems to have shown that said match was somewhat atypical, with United still quite poor at the rear despite having two world-class defenders in the form of Harry. . Maguire and Raphael Varane.
Mason Greenwood needs to start
Varane would be injured during the first half on Tuesday. And while that in itself is a blow, it allowed Solskjaer to reverse his favorite 4-2-3-1, bringing Mason Greenwood for the Frenchman.
And while Greenwood only got the pre-assist for Ronaldo’s draw, his presence made United’s attack much, much sharper on the night.
Greenwood may still be young, but he, along with Fernandes and Ronaldo, are clearly United’s best players in this period and must start every game.
And as Solskjaer is clearly not a good enough coach for United to play a clear and solid style of football, he needs players like Greenwood on the pitch at all times to bail him out with brilliant moments.
Solskjaer is not good enough tactically
This has become quite obvious to all regular Man United watchers, except apparently the club’s board, but Solskjaer is simply not a good enough coach at the highest level.
Once again it was evident against Atalanta that this Manchester United team is poorly trained. It is a team full of quality players who, on paper, are much better than Atalanta, yet United were outclassed on the night, not because Atalanta had the best players, but simply because their coach is much more tactically astute.
Just one example of this came in 45 seconds. Man United moved back four towards the end of the first half, not because OGS made a tactical decision, but because Varane got injured and United had no more high-level centers in field. work table. This led to United gaining more attacking ground in the tie and scoring before the break.
So to limit United’s effectiveness going forward, Gian Gasperini had Marten de Roon mark Bruno Fernandes for much of the second half. It worked really well and it’s just a small taste of something that Solskajer, especially at 1-1 alone, wouldn’t think of doing to gain a tactical advantage.
The Reds were a disjointed team for 90 minutes, relying on nothing more than moments of individual brilliance from players like Ronaldo and Fernandes to keep them in the game and, in the case of the former, rescue them a point at the end of the tie.
Solskjaer could be a positive character who has the respect of superiors and did a good job stabilizing the boat after José Mourinho left, but Man United will never, ever win anything important with him and as long as he remains at work, United fans will see nothing but mediocrity on their side.
Yes, they might get some big wins every now and then, but in the grand scheme of things, this United team is miles away from teams like Chelsea and Liverpool, simply because of training.
Ronaldo remains one of the greatest of all time
Overall, it was, as shown above, a pretty poor performance from Man United on the night and Atalanta is probably feeling pretty bad.
But, as he had done twice in this competition this season, Ronald stepped up and earned Man United a big point.
Some have tried to pin United’s poor start to 2021/22 at CR7 and their lack of pressure from the front, but it is obvious that without the Portuguese, Man United would be in much worse shape this season.
Despite being 36 years old, Cristiano Ronaldo remains one of the greatest of all time.
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