Manchester United have done it – what a start to the new Champions League campaign. After a 2-1 win in France against Paris Saint-Germain, last season’s finalists, they have now thrashed RB Leipzig, one of the best sides in Germany and the last season’s semifinalists in this competition: 5-0! The Red Devils have shown they are not going to mess around in the Champions League this season, after a year ‘in exile’, playing Europa League football. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side is already on a great track to finish top of their group, especially now with two matches coming up against Istanbul Basaksehir.
It was a night to remember at Old Trafford – despite the fans not being there and despite the fact it was still just 1-0 until the last quarter of an hour. Mason Greenwood scored midway through the first half, before Marcus Rashford came on in second half to get a hat-trick. First he scored a brace in the span of four minutes, then Anthony Martial scored from the spot and Rashford rounded things off with a stoppage time goal to make it 5-0.
Marcus Rashford Is A Hero Of His Own Kind
What a day this was for Marcus Rashford. He came on for the last 30 minutes of the match, scored a hat-trick and even allowed Martial to shoot the penalty when he had a brace to his name, ultimately not chasing the third goal. And this was his first hat-trick for Man United, on a big Champions League night against a tough opposition. But that Rashford is a hero of his own kind shows the fact that none of this was actually the most important thing for him today.
Rashford’s initiative to end child food poverty has now got an online petition that has surpassed one million signatures, on the same night he made a show of his own against Leipzig. Incredible year for an incredible human being and football comes second this time.
Van De Beek Shows Qualities
Donny van de Beek did not play much in recent weeks, with Solskjaer often choosing to keep him on the bench, but tonight he used him very well. The Dutchman played at the top of a midfield diamond, behind two strikers, ultimately getting a lot of freedom to move both laterally and vertically. That is because going backwards he was always of use to Matic, Fred and Pogba and moving left and right ahead of them allowed him to find pockets where he was able to be dangerous and create for others. A good showing for the new signing.
Solskjaer Gets His Tactics Right – Again
We said this last midweek, against PSG, and we say it again – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has got his tactics spot in another Champions League clash. His decision to start Mason Greenwood was on point, with the youngster showing just how good he is with his shooting, something he perfectly encapsulated in his opener. Paul Pogba’s role on the left of a midfield diamond seemed to suit him very well, giving him flexibility to drift around. Also, the full-backs had enough space to make forward runs due to no usual wingers on the pitch and then there was also the fact that Solskjaer had the opportunity to call a fresh Rashford to come on in the second half. Well done, Ole.