By Imran Kardar
First things first, absolutely gutted with Luke Shaw’s double fracture to his right leg. Wishing him a speedy recovery, come back stronger Luke! The game was marred by the horrific injury sustained by Shaw and as that happened early in the first half it dampened the team.
United lined up in the usual 4-2-3-1. LVG was forced to give Martial his full debut as Fellaini had been ill and could only make the bench. As predicted Memphis kept his place but Young also started with what was an attack minded line up by LVG. United started well, moving the ball around and looking to attack. However, around the 15 minutes mark Shaw went on a rampaging run in to the box and was taken out by what was an absolutely reckless challenge from Hector Moreno. He had no control over what he was doing and used excessive force in his tackle. The rule book says that the player should be sent off for such a challenge but the ref decided not to. Also it was in the box and hence should have been a penalty to United, again the ref decided not to give it. Heck, he didn’t even brandish a yellow card for the challenge. Unbelievable! Poor Luke was left on the ground, screaming in pain and in need of oxygen. It was an ugly sight.
Play resumed after a 10 minutes stoppage and a moment of brilliance from Memphis led to United’s opening goal. That makes it 3 in 3 in the Champions League for Memphis for Manchester United. Post the goal, everything just seemed to fall apart. PSV got an equalizer from none other than a deflected goal by Moreno, who shouldn’t even have been on the pitch. And then in to stoppage time in the first half PSV scored their second with a cross from the left and an open header for the attacker. Rojo at fault for not staying close to his man and giving an easy goal.
Not much luck for United in the second half either. They created chances but didn’t take them. The best falling to Mata from an absolutely delightful pass from Schweinsteiger however, he was in two minds whether to shot or pass to Memphis who was open in the middle. United kept on attacking but couldn’t manage to get the equalizer. You have to give credit to PSV who were very well organized in defense and didn’t let United break them down. United lacked that sharp passing in the final third that could cut open the PSV defense.
Anthony Martial made his full debut for United but it was one that he would rather forget. He was lively in the first half but gave the ball away too many times in the second. He was also forced off the ball way too easily in the second half. There were times when he held up the ball well and played weighted passes to teammates around him but he couldn’t give United that clear cut chance to score.
Tough United played attacking football and tried to score they couldn’t manage too. This left doubt in everyone’s mind and re-enforced the critics who said that United lacked firepower upfront to score goals. You got to say United are lacking that prolific goal scorer. But LVG made his choice not to sign one and United will have to make do without one. This left United with a defeat on their return to the Champions League though its only early days but the pressure is now on United to win their remaining matches to progress. The group looks very open to me and if United aren’t careful they could find themselves in that dreaded Europa League! Next up, an away game to Southampton. Another bogey team for LVG.