Manchester United’s fantastic Champions League win last night against RB Leipzig will be remembered for a 5-0 result, but also for some really important performances by individual players. The fact that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made some really good tactical decisions should not be understated either and in the end we got a performance worth talking about.
Yesterday’s four things we learned were there to show our impressions from just after the match and now we are here to talk about the things we learned after further inspecting the numbers.
Man United Create Enough For A Comfortable Win
When you score five goals in a single match, it is a highly expected fact that you will overperform your expected goals number. And that is completely normal – Manchester United ended the match with 2.3 xG to their name, which is a good number indicating how dangerous they were. We did get some good finishes that were coming from low scoring opportunities, but when things come together so well as they did last night, then such a big win happens.
But even more importantly is that Leipzig were not really in this match and they did not produce enough in those 90 minutes. Their xG came to just 0.5 throughout, showing that Man United truly have done enough to win this match comfortably.
Martial’s Danger Felt Throughout
Marcus Rashford got all the credit for his incredible performance off the bench and rightly so, but let’s not forget how good Anthony Martial was. The Frenchman started up front in a 4-3-1-2 formation, alongside Mason Greenwood and he was dangerous through the entire match. It was only fitting that Rashford had let him score from the spot to make his performance even better. Martial also got an assist on the night, made the most pressures of all Man United players (20) and even made 10 touches of the ball in Leipzig’s penalty area. For scale, the whole of Leipzig had 15 in total in Man United’s box.
Matic And Fred Do Well Defensively
Nemanja Matic returned to the starting lineup, as well as Paul Pogba on the left of a midfield diamond, but interestingly enough, it was Fred who was on the right. But the good thing that came out of that decision from Solskjaer is that Fred offered help to Matic, ultimately making them a midfield duo, a partnership of two defensive minded midfielders who controled things in the centre of the park. Their 113 touches of the ball came in all kinds of central areas, making things much harder for Leipzig.
Rashford’s Insane Output Off The Bench
And then finally – there is Marcus Rashford. We spoke enough about him last night, so this time we will use this chance just to name all the good things he managed to do in 30 minutes on the pitch. Rashford scored three goals from four shots with just 16 touches of the ball, he carried the ball 13 times, completing all of his seven passes and dribbling past there opposition players with three successful dribbles in as many attempts. That is a performance that should be remembered.