The Premier League side were victorious against Belgian opponents Anderlecht in the second leg of the Europa league quarter final played last night, and despite the tie going down to the final minutes in the second leg at Old Trafford, the result was what almost everyone expected.
With Marcus Rashford getting the winner in a 2-1 scoreline while Mkhitaryan got the first one, there were a few things involved in the encounter which one can pick out as observations and inferences. 5 of them were as follows:
1. Marcus Rashford is a certified star for the future
The England teenager burst onto the scene in United colours in last year’s Europa League campaign, and ever since scoring on his debut, he has never looked back.
The lad has gone on to become a regular starter under Mourinho this season, and has often replaced the likes of Martial, Mata, and Rooney because of his performances and the execution of his goal scoring abilities during the game.
Last night was a prime example to prove how the player is more than capable of leading the attack for a giant club like United, as when his team seemed to be running out of steam in extra time and wasting chance after chance, he ran himself into the ground and kept at it until he finally popped up with a winner which was enough to see them progress through to the semifinals.
With Ibrahimovic out of touch last night and Rooney on the bench, Rashford had the chance to prove his worth, and he did more than just that.
2. Marcos Rojo injured, further defensive woes for United
The Argentinian defender has been a revelation under Mourinho this season, and his presence alongside Bailly seemed to be turning into a formidable partnership, which saw their team maintain a good unbeaten run in the Premier League and across all competitions as well.
After bossing the game at the start, Rojo was subbed out injured, and from the information acquired, he seems to be out for a long time to come.
With Phil Jones and Chris Smalling already out, and Daley Blind not an outright CB, the Red Devils are in for a tough run without their main man in the centre of defence.
3. Luke Shaw back on the pitch, and back among good things
After being publicly criticised heavily by the manager and clearly being labelled as an extra, one has to applaud Luke Shaw for accepting the storm coming his way and putting in hard work and effort in order to convince his boss about the abilities he possesses.
The lad has managed to turn a tight corner, it seems, and has off late been getting some game time – something he clearly deserves. After playing the full 120 minutes last night and carrying on despite a minor injury, the player brought pace, skill, and creativity across the left flank for United, which in turn, resulted in praise coming in from his manager.
4. Ibrahimovic the main man, Rooney clearly not a favourite anymore
Zlatan has been playing every match for Mourinho so far, and despite being tactically kept out against Chelsea due to fatigue, he was straight back into the playing XI that stepped out on the pitch last night.
Given his stats so far, the decision might be considered fair, but when the big Swede was taken off after suffering an injury, which might keep him out for the season, United still needed a goal to progress, and with the skipper on the bench and fully fit, eyebrows were raised high when Martial was the one who was eventually brought on.
Clearly, Rooney is heading for the exit door soon enough.
5. United’s midfield is consistently good now
With Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera in the centre of the park, United currently have a midfield that is capable of pulling the strings in attack and helping out the defence in perfect sync and with good results.
Besides them, Marouane Fellaini has been one who has enhanced his reputation as a Manchester United player so far, and with winning headers, good chest control, aggressive ball tracking, and a better passing range added to his game, the Big Belgian has been able to pay back the faith Mourinho bestowed on him, and is slowly starting to get the fans to believe in him, and will this time, try to keep it that way.