A 79th minute striker from Feyenoord midfielder Tony Vilenha proved sufficient as the Dutch giants raced to a shock victory over English heavyweights Manchester United
Since the opening whistle the game was dominated by the home side. United, despite all the quality in their ranks, failed to run riot over a relatively weaker Feyenoord side.Jose Mourinho may have underestimated the opposition slightly after he chose to field a number of players who he wouldn’t have in the league. That decision obviously backfired as he saw his side outrun and outplayed for the entire course of the game.
Take a look at The Hard Tackle’s five talking points from the game:
Pogba is making everyone talk about his transfer fee
Paul Pogba’s record-breaking signing from Juventus was welcomed with tremendous fanfare from the Old Trafford faithful. Fanatical Manchester United fans followed the club’s Twitter handle in making “#POGBACK” trend worldwide. It seemed that the Red Devils have made the greatest signing of all time and things were soon to change.
But, unfortunately for them, very little has changed for the club. The season began with four wins on the trot, but it has been followed by two disappointing defeats against Manchester City and Feyenoord.
New signing Pogba’s performances have been equally disappointing, making fans wonder whether it was the right decision to break the bank for him. The Frenchman has struggled to illustrate his world-class credentials at United and has failed to gel with the squad. His passes look off the mark and his first touch seems to have deteriorated considerably.
Even in Thursday’s loss against Feyenoord, Pogba was relatively invisible. He did very little to justify his price-tag, and may even be sidelined if he continues to put in such performances.
Rojo’s lacklustre performance throws light on United’s lack in depth defensively
Marcus Rojo’s frailties at left-back were showcased in front of a capacity crowd in Rotterdam. The Argentinian made a number of cynical errors and lacked match sharpness. He looked far from comfortable on the ball and his passing too was abysmal.
Given Luke Shaw’s injury, Rojo may not be the ideal man to take his place in the starting lineup. Matteo Darmian, a right-back by trade will have to deputise on the other side of defence, due to the lack of out-and-out left-backs in the team.
A formation change may be on the cards for Mourinho’s Red army
Jose Mourinho isn’t one to deviate from his formula, but it seems that he has to alter his side’s formation so as to get the best out of his players. 4-2-3-1 is a traditional Premier League formation, but it often sees the striker isolated by the presence of two centre-backs.
Thus, a slight variation to the 4-2-3-1 could see the number 10 move into an attacking position to occupy the role of the second striker. Marcus Rashford and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are two ingenious talismen and could thrive playing alongside each other.
Another alternative is playing a 4-3-3 where the presence of three central midfielders eliminates the possibility of a number 10. Also, the formation could suit Paul Pogba as the Frenchman has been playing in a three-man midfield during his successful stint in the Serie A.
Feyenoord play their cards right to record famous win
Prior to kick-off, many had written Feyenoord off, and with good reason. When placed on paper, the Dutch side looked considerably weaker compared to the quality present among the United ranks.
However, within few minutes into the game, Feyenoord began to dictate play and pegged United on the back foot. Their full-backs kept pushing forward and their central defenders began to play a slightly higher line.
De Gea in the United goal was prevented from playing the ball out to his defenders due to Feyenoord’s high press and was forced to clear his lines. Pogba and Schneiderlin lost the midfield battle to El Ahmadi and Vilenha, and that eventually cost Mourinho’s side the game.
Young’s disappointing cameo shows why he isn’t a regular in the side
Ashley Young’s torrid showing on the day summarised the entire performance of Manchester United. After coming on in the 63rd minute for Juan Mata, Young was expected to turn things around for his side by providing the extra pace and sharpness as compared to the Spaniard.
But to the dismay of Mourinho, Young was absolutely disastrous. He failed to control the ball and create chances for his teammates. He was physically outmatched by Jan-Arie van der Heijden down the right and his finishing too was abysmal.
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