Manchester United Manage Yet Another 1-1 Draw, This Time In The Europa League

Posted: April 13, 2017 in Europa League, European Football, Manchester United, Opinion
Tags: , , , ,

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Manchester United controlled a largely dull first half in which they took the lead through Henrikh Mkhitaryan when the Anderlecht goalkeeper parried a shot from Marcus Rashford straight to him.

Still quite adept at mis-controlling the ball and giving possession away very cheaply, they never looked in any danger of conceding and Anderlecht were left with a half-time team talk which would have included the words “must do better“.

The same could be said for United as they had chances to kill the game off in that first half and, yet again, failed to take more than one of them. It is more likely that, instead of remonstrating with the players for their failure to capitalise on their superior possession,  Mourinho was just relieved to be in front at the break and have a precious away goal.

The second half saw Anderlecht remember that they were the home team and, therefore, obliged to try and win the game. They certainly set out with more intent and caused United a couple of panicky moments before the game settled down again and United went close when Darmian crossed for Mkhitaryan to fire narrowly wide.

Some excellent defending and United’s usual inability to convert their chances kept the score at 0-1 for much of the second half, along with continued misplaced passes and loss of possession. It is quite surprising, for example, how difficult Ibrahimovic can make a simple pass look!

Five minutes before the end Anderlecht managed to equalise. An inviting cross was headed in by an unchallenged Dendoncker. It was inevitable as, when United only score one goal, the opposition always score at least one. So yet another 1-1 draw was on the cards and, yet again, United only had themselves to blame. And so it turned out. Not a disaster but the tie could, and should, have been out of reach instead of Anderlecht going to Old Trafford next week feeling that they still have a chance.

Unless United can beat the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur which would give them an excellent chance of gatecrashing the top four, then the Europa League represents by far the best chance of Champion’s League qualification for next season. Not only that but it is a trophy as well, something which, as yet, is not awarded just for being England’s fourth best club, (or third or second for that matter).

Next season needs to be better from Manchester United and, under José Mourinho, it probably will be.

This season has seen United drop too many points through their inability to score goals. A proven goalscorer will surely address that situation in the next window. Had they won just three or four of the games they have drawn, particularly at home where their record has been poor, then a top four finish would have been a formality.

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