United 5 - 1 Midtjylland
Varela Carrick Blind Riley(Rojo)
Lingard(Perreira) Mata Memphis
Ahhh what a breath of fresh air. A proper, breathless, attacking display of football. When was the last time we've seen that?! If I'm not mistaken that's the first we've scored five in a long time. I'm actually delighted about today's performance. Yes, it was just Midtjylland, a club which was only a few months old when we won the treble, but this was an inexperienced team that LVG had to field and they had to come from behind.
If all first teamers were fit, played today, and scored five, I wouldn't have been half as pleased as I am with the performance put it by today's team. A starting XI that featured all our usual first team players should wipe the floor with the Danish champions. However, today's starting XI had a lot of inexperience and that's why I am delighted with the performance I witnessed. We had two players who were starting their first game for Man Utd and other players who have virtually no experience in Europe. Also, we had Michael Carrick playing in central defence. He's no defender as can be told by his desperate lunge that opened the way for Sisto to score Midtjylland's goal.
I've read rave reviews about Marcus Rashford and his striker instincts were there to see today. Both of his goals were the result of some great movement in the box. He managed to lose his marker twice and finished in an open goal after some great work from Mata, for the first goal, and then Varela for the second. What a dream debut for the Mancunian! At least his performance papered over the fact that Martial has a hamstring injury and he'll probably miss out on Sunday's big game vs Arsenal. Oh well, I guess we'll have to win the Europa League if we want to qualify for next year's Champions League. A loss vs. Arsenal will virtually put us out of the top four race.
Another youngster who also looked unfazed by the occasion was Riley. I thought he was absolutely spot on today. He barely put a foot wrong and seemed to have worked well with Memphis Depay. I watched his interview after the Shrewsbury game and he looked delighted to have featured in that game. That's the kind of reactions I want to see from our players! They should feel privileged to be donning the shirt of this great football club. Well done Riley.
Varela had a good game and so did Schneiderlin. Lingard was lively and Mata did well to keep his head up after missing a penalty right before half time. Herrera worked hard in the middle of the park and showed why he should be our first choice penalty taker. However, I must single our Mr. Memphis Depay for an outstanding display that probably left Midtjylland's right full-back dazed. Memphis was brimming with confidence and started producing party tricks even when there was still a bit of pressure. That's what world-class players do and I hope he can grow to be one. His talent is undoubted but his commitment sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. He won't have as much joy against a Premier League defence but if he can produce a performance half as brilliant as today's, week in week out, I'd be a happy man. His goal was stunning and some of his tricks made me go search for a replay on Twitter. 5 star performance. Man of the match. I hope we see something similar vs. Arsenal. Today's Memphis was the same footballer who mesmerized for PSV Eindhoven last season. Hopefully he can kick on and end this season on a high after that performance. I'm sure it'll do his confidence on the pitch the world of good.
We are through to the last 16 and we'll get to know who we'll be playing against tomorrow at noon. After that, Arsenal will be visiting Old Trafford. I think we've got too many injuries to win against them but we'll wait and see. Arsenal have a habit of bottling things. Hopefully, we can give Leicester a helping hand. I don't want Arsenal to win the league.
This was quite a positive blog post after all the doom and gloom I've been posting lately. I am not getting carried away, this was just a pleasing performance after such a long, tedious, and tiring season we've had so far. It's good to finally enjoy a game of football.