Matchday 4 games of the 2018/2019 UEFA Champions League season have been played, and as usual, it failed to disappoint as there were a lot of exciting and entertaining matches. Qualification into the next round of games has been confirmed for some teams while elimination is confirmed for some others.
The biggest game of the night was the Group H match between Juventus and Manchester United in Italy with Juventus enjoying possession and dominated a large part of the game. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a surreptitious volley in the 65th minute to give the home side Juventus the lead, but the visiting Manchester United side put in a great fight for a dramatic comeback in Italy to win the game by scoring two goals within a short space of 4minutes.
Here, we discuss the highlights and talking points of the game while also analyzing the tactical aspects and tactical changes made in the game.
1. Victor Lindelof is showing the defensive stability and maturity Man United sorely needs
Since his arrival in Manchester, victor Lindelof has struggled to adapt settle into the team and has thereby had to endure a not so pleasant start to life at Old Trafford. His obvious inability to physically challenge a player and win duels was properly exploited by opposing teams who put up a more physical presence around him in and around the box.
However, after a few decent runs of games, it appears that Victor Lindelof has finally adapted his game and settled in properly to solve Manchester United’s defensive woes. The 22year old Swede is now more composed and assured while in possession and calmly decides which defensive action to take whenever he is required to.
In the game against Juventus last night, he courageously dealt with all the duels that he was involved in and was very disciplined to make sure that the Juventus side had very few clear chances. Victor Lindelof is now providing the defensive stability, maturity, and assurance that the Man United team desperately need at the back.
Victor Lindelof made 8 clearances in last night’s game against the Old Lady (the most amount of clearance by any player on the pitch). He had an 88.2% passing accuracy.
2. High pressing and counterattack
It was very obvious that Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho had a tactical change in the approach of the game evident in his choice of selection of attacking players to lead the Man United forward line.
It is said that when Romelu Lukaku is not playing, Man United plays with more mobility and fluidity in attack. French forward, Antonio Martial is a sure starter as he is supposed to be starting all of Manchester United’s game week-in-week-out because of his recent goal-scoring form. Jose Mourinho’s tactical plan was to press the opposition high up the pitch and squeeze the Juventus side out of possession with his selection of Jesse Lingard in attack and Ander Herrera in midfield.
Herrera recorded 2 tackles, 3 clearances, and 1 block as he offered more defensive stability in an often imbalances Manchester United midfield. Alex Sandro’s attacking runs down the Man United right side was also kept in check by the constant pressure mounted by Jesse Lingard on the right side of Man United’s attack.
3. Super subs
Jose Mourinho sure deserves some praises for Manchester United’s comeback victory against Juventus last night. The tactical changes that he made which hugely turned the game around in Man United’s favor proved that he still has that tactical mastery that made him be called “The Special One”.
Mourinho brought in Juan Mata to improve Man united’s creativity in midfield and supply more crosses into the Juve box in the aftermath of Cristiano Ronaldo’s opening goal. Marouane Fellaini was also introduced in the game to try and ruffle the Juve defense and receive crosses from Juan Mata. This super subs proved to be very influential to Man United winning the game as Manchester united scored an equalizing goal from a superb Juan Mata free-kick from 20yards out after about 5minutes of coming off the bench. Marouane Fellaini also had a big impact in the second goal for Man United as he hassled the Juventus defenders while trying to connect with a beautifully delivered free-kick from Ashley Young which resulted into an Alex Sandro own goal.
Jose Mourinho thus proved that class is indeed permanent and he still has the tactical genius and acumen to be categorized up there with the top managers in the world of football even thought his tactics has been criticized and labeled as “outdated”.
This is the sort of great fighting spirit and attitude and performance that Manchester United fan all around the world want to be seeing every week and every game. We hope the lads can keep up this performance.
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