1. SHINJI KAGAWA WILL BE KEY FOR US IN EUROPE
Last season, Man United looked flat and blunt in Europe in the attacking areas. The team struggled to break teams down and very often, there was no one available to string pieces together to make attacks more meaningful. Rooney, Giggs, and to an extent, Nani struggled to make things happen while Young seemed very new to the entire European experience as a Man United player. But, Kagawa looked comfortable in the hole behind Van Persie. Passes flowed freely and the attacks had some bite and panache. He moved well especially slightly towards the left hand channel as Van Persie peeled off down the right. There was also some intelligence in our passing and it helped to get us into some very promising positions although we failed to shoot more often to increase the lead. It was very evident that Kagawa’s inclusion gave us some sharpness and creativity and as the competition progresses (with us in it, hopefully) his brilliance will continue to come through.
2. DEFENSIVE UNCERTAINTIES STILL EXIST
It may have been the first European game for us this season but again, the defending was not too strong not only in the central defensive areas but in the defensive midfield area too. Scholes was robbed off the ball a few too many times when the quick pass was a better option and it allowed Galatasaray to break through our midfield far too often as they went on to give the centre backs a tough night. Both Vidic and Evans committed fouls that could have been easily called for penalties. A clear result of how the visitors were prepared to find a goal. Of course, you have got to commend the opposition because they gave it a good go but I believe our lads could have done better to limit the threat. Just like at Southampton, the fullbacks had a few problems but their faults were for different reasons. Rafael got into central areas to help the midfielders out but it meant that the ball was easily used in the space he left unguarded. Evra struggled on the back foot because Nani floated all over the place, which I must say , was positive in an attacking sense. However, that left Evra hopelessly exposed to attacks down the left. In addition, the defence often looked out of position anytime there was an interception and a quick break from the visitors. If we must get far in this season’s competition, defensive solidity will be a key part of the equation and we must get to work as soon as possible.
3. THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE NANI
The Portuguese showed a lot of positives. He allowed his creative juices to flow and he was a main part of the moves together with Kagawa in the first half including Carrick’s goal. He beat men with ease which we all know he is well capable of on a regular basis and he even set up Chicharito with a good pass over the Galatasaray defence but the Mexican shot wide and could have done better.
However, the frustrating part of Nani’s play that has become all too familiar with the Manchester United faithful showed up when he took a very poor penalty that was saved by Muslera. His body language was not good, the stutter that was to deceive the keeper ended up leaving him wondering where to place the ball and he struck the ball wrongly.
In total, Nani gave a good display but I believe he can get to a very high level if he keeps showing his good side and keeps the bad side in the locker room and far away from us.
4. RVP IS HUMAN AFTER ALL
A brilliant half-volley against Fulham and a stunning hat trick against Southampton had the fans going on about how the goals would flow regularly but RVP showed us his human side against Galatasaray. He moved well but when he had the opportunity to shoot, he either chose to pass or he miscontrolled the ball or he looked unsure of what to do. Maybe it was his first Champions League experience at United but we all saw RVP’s average side. However, I think he will show a lot more as the competition goes on. He has enough experience to impact future Champions League games through goals, assists and a good work shift. He owes it to himself and to the fans.
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