Manchester United continued their fine form in the Champions League, beating Benfica in Lisbon 1-0. The only goalscorer for the Red Devils was Marcus Rashford, after Benfica’s goalkeeper Mile Svilar made a mistake trying to stop the ball.
Jose Mourinho will not be too impressed with the attacking part of the game his team displayed, but the three points will definitely make him content. Manchester United won their third Champions League match on as many occasions. They now sit top of the table with nine points, three more than Basel.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan Went Missing
However, this match showed something people were starting to wonder about. Where is Henrikh Mkhitaryan? Armenian playmaker started the season in a swashbuckling manner, assisting five goals in a month or so. His displays were very satisfying but something has changed in the meantime.
Mkhitaryan has not really been at the same level since the September international break. His performances dropped and he is not making the impact everyone expected of him. Against Benfica he was quiet, unable to change things up a bit. It was especially visible when United lacked creativity and Mkhitaryan virtually did nothing to improve the players around him.
Manchester United Need Paul Pogba
After Paul Pogba’s injury against Basel in September, first few matches of Manchester United did not really give a feeling of the team missing the Frenchman too much. Marouane Fellaini started playing well right away and Pogba’s injury did not seem as a terrible thing everyone thought it would.
However, after Fellaini’s injury at international duty, this became a problem. Pogba’s flair and muscle were needed against Liverpool and could have been very useful on Wednesday night against Benfica. The midfielder is working hard towards returning to full fitness and Manchester United fans will be very happy to see him back soon in the red shirt.
This was another good defensive performance from Manchester United. Another clean sheet for the Red Devils meant they have conceded just one goal in the Champions League this season. David De Gea’s net was kept intact for the ninth time in all competitions and Mourinho will be very happy with that.
His team defended well without the ball, giving it to Benfica players in less important areas. Victor Lindelof also looked assured, as he started his third Champions League match. Swedish centre-back did well throughout and he could be in contention for starting regularly in all competitions.
Benfica In Trouble
Group stages in the Champions League are now on the halfway point and Benfica still have not won a single point. They lost to CSKA Moscow and Basel and now to Man United and their task of reaching the knockout rounds now seems almost over. They will try and fight for the Europa League place but will have to improve a lot.
Benfica even rested one of their best players, being realistic about their chances against Manchester United. Andrija Zivkovic did not play for the Portuguese team, as he was given a night off, making him ready for the league match this coming weekend.