Manchester United are admirable in their Champions League campaign. On Wednesday night they met last season’s semifinalists R.P. Leipzig finished second in their Group H opener against Paris Saint-Germain.
It’s the best show ever performed by Ole Gunner Soulschauger’s side, and it’s not a scene perfect agars. In the 75th minute, Bruno Fernandez slipped Marcus Rashford, easily knocking forward Peter Kulaski, Leipzig’s No. 1. The assistant referee still flagged, the VAR showed that the rashboard was halfway and not onside, and the goal was re-established. The fact that these two players started on the bench demonstrates the depth of the Soulshawker team’s quality – Rashford then killed the spectators as Anthony Marshall confirmed a third moment before a late penalty – and it was time for Rashford to get a hat. Trick.
Having not yet done so in the Premier League, Soulscare gave Danny van de Beek the first start of the tournament. Paul Pogba was recalled after three games on the bench, while Mason Greenwood was named in the squad for the second time. R.P. Leipzig came off as the undefeated Bundesliga leaders, so Soulschair will deliver the latest litmus test on the side. An interesting aspect here is how they would have paid without Fernandez, the best player resting for the big import competition for the first time since joining in January, with rival Marcus Rashford in Paris Saint-Germain last week. Van de Peek lined up at the tip of a midfield diamond behind Greenwood and Anthony Marshall, and it was Fred who had the opening shot. Loop Shaw scored a free-kick to the Leipzig area, Harry Maguire went down, and when the ball broke to Fred, it was thrown towards Peter Culaxi, and the goalkeeper warmed his fingers.
Attempting to start the play in the middle of the three-center back used by Julian Nagelsman, United aimed at a muscle-squeezing tactic featuring Anthony Marshall Diod Upamekano. The French broke the right to hold the Leipzig mill, but the bass was behind Marshall as he hurried to find Greenwood and the Germans retreated. The tempo was high: Emil Forsberg shooting and Aaron van-Pizza Hofing moving the Leipzig ball gently upwards in a clear line. However, each team had a sense of crushing one another in an unbalanced position.
Upamekano scored a pass straight to Fred, who saw only opposition, targeting Van de Peek. Nemanja Matic took half, spun and headed towards Greenwood, but again the radar was turned off. The latter was to show final accuracy. Bokpa had the teenage starter Leipzig back-pedaling and slide-rule pass, which met Greenwood’s pleasant time flow, beating its peak angle finish Kulasi. He appeared somewhat offside, but VAR ruled otherwise, the target stopped. Here is the latest evidence of the undoubted class of Greenwood. When Victor Lindelof failed to challenge Upamegano, United’s trembling defense from one corner was on the other end, the ball went to Marcel Holstenberg, and Matic saved his side. At Christopher’s nugget, the Shah had an enemy in his left-rear pavement, and he continued to drive him, as if feeding Ibrahim Connaught 18. Also in Leipzig, United had a team.
However, they took the lead as they kicked in the second half. And was impressed. The question now is whether they can show smart game management – and early signs were not encouraging as Shaw, Maguire and Van de Peek were loose when it came to distribution. Shaw was sharp when dealing with Benjamin Heinrich in the area, and it led to a period of United pressure, in which Greenwood knocked down a right-footed shot by Kulasi – this opportunity was again a bogey for Bokba, who this time bothered to make a mistake.
When they attacked Leipzig they were certainly targeting Shaw’s side, and Heinrich and Holstenberg were looking for combinations to open a home renovation in the area. Heinrich also seemed lucky not to post a stamp on Bokba, who knocked down the midfielder, and Maguire questioned referee Matej Jack as to why he did not find his yellow card. Marshall was quiet, but now a familiar rise from the left haunted him into the area and failed to control Van de Peek. In the 63rd minute Soulscare introduced Scott McDomine and Marcus Rashford for Matic and Greenwood, the manager kicked new legs and then found the best close save from David de Gia Connaught.
Now, United’s Grandstand finish has come, as Rashford has sealed a remarkable hat-trick of competition from the bench: they are starting to hit high gear.