Manchester United started their Champions League campaign in a strong fashion, beating Basel 3-0 at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening. The Red Devils scored through Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford to coast past the Swiss champions.
It was a game of two teams with palpable difference in quality. Manchester United were the side controlling the match, while Basel simply could not muster more than few long range shots.
Manchester United scored their first ten minutes before the half-time and their second less than ten minutes into the second half, not allowing Basel any reason for hope. It was all sealed off through Rashford after 84 minutes for a strong, convincing victory.
Paul Pogba had to come off after just 18 minutes of play after he pulled up a hamstring strain. It is remains unknown if his injury is serious or it was just a precaution, yet Man United will certainly hope it is the latter one.
For Manchester United, there is plenty of fixtures coming up next. It would be very important for the Reds to keep their squad healthy. With recent comebacks from Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young, the competition in the team grew. Yet, Pogba is a very important piece of Jose Mourinho’s jigsaw.
He will miss the Sunday match against Everton, but hopefully will be ready for the weekend afterwards.
Strong Manchester United Performance Throughout
This was a very strong performance from Man United. They did not allow the opponents much. Though it may not have been a highly entertaining match like against Stoke, but it was a good opening of the Champions League campaign.
Manchester United’s quality of chances meant their expected goals (xG) were at 3.07 goals, which they duly fulfilled. There have been better chances – like Henrikh Mkhitaryan hitting the post – but United managed to score at perfect times. Plenty of shots from the inside of the six yard box was something Mourinho and his players will hope to replicate in upcoming matches.
— 11tegen11 (@11tegen11) September 13, 2017
Mkhitaryan Still Needs To Improve
Armenian international did not have the best game on Tuesday. He was not completely poor, but he had plenty of opportunities to make it much better. Mkhitaryan really was unlucky not to score when he hit the post, but this is not about that.
Mourinho talked publicly about Mkhitaryan needing to score more goals this season to make his performances complete. Apart from hitting the post, the Armenian had another clear cut chance he did not convert and the boss will not be happy with that. After all, Basel were a perfect opposition for Mkhitaryan to start scoring and building his confidence in front of goal.
Young And Crossing
It was great seeing Ashley Young return to starting XI for Manchester United. However, it was also lovely seeing a player with impeccable crossing doing harm to opposition. His spot-on cross was crucial for Manchester United taking the lead, after Fellaini scored.
In a team with so many tall players, Young’s crossing can make a big difference. Lukaku and Fellaini playing at the same team means real business for his crosses.