Man Utd defeated Villarreal in the Champions League Tuesday night 2-0, courtesy of Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho. The win will guarantee Man Utd’s involvement in the knockout rounds of the Champions League.
Carrick managed the game well enough. It was a classic smash and grab, not an easy place to win. Carrick used his subs well. You can not complain that much with a win at this point. Sancho’s goal made the win a little sweeter, but Chelsea looms on the weekend.
Michael Carrick had his side come out in a 4-2-3-1 in his first match as caretaker manager. A couple of surprises in the lineup, Bruno was dropped for Donny van de Beek and Marcus Rashford made way for Anthony Martial.
On paper, Ronaldo was central, but when the match started he took up space on the left and at times the formation shifted to a 4-4-2. Ronaldo would join Martial in attack, eventually Ronaldo would shift back to the center.
David de Gea was forced into work early. A shot from outside the box was well saved. Scott McTominay turned the ball over when his pass was intercepted creating a chance early for Villarreal.
Villarreal were patient in attack and Man Utd sat back and let them have the ball. An awkward deflection fell nicely to Yermi Pino, he let the ball roll across his body to create space, but his shot was bad and even missed the side netting.
Alex Telles got caught sleeping on a long ball. Pino cut it back to Manu Trigueros, his cross/shot to the back-post was pushed aside by de Gea, Arnaut Danjuma was lurking at the back-post.
United looked dangerous when they got balls in the box. A Jadon Sancho cross in the 29th minute had to be dealt with well. Villarreal defended the corner well but the ball recycled back to Telles. His cross found Ronaldo, but it was straight at the keeper.
In the first half Villarreal had good spells of possession, but could not create many chances from their possession. Their best chances came from Man Utd mistakes or in transition. When they had the ball they were stagnant, not much running off the ball. They had a couple of nice passing sequences.
Martial took on his defender on the left. Telles made his run from the inside and was fouled on the edge of the box. The location was perfect for Ronaldo, but he could only hit the wall.
A couple of minor injuries slowed the game back down after a couple of flurries.
As the first half wore down, United looked like they were growing into the game. They got caught a bit when Villarreal broke their press. They caught United off balance on the counter and DVB was booked when he fouled an attacker outside the box.
Villarreal finished off the first half pressing really well. They ripped the ball off of a United player on multiple occasions. United continued to try and pass out of the back despite giving up the ball.
Man Utd were bailed out by the half time whistle, 0-0.
More possession for Villarreal to begin the second half, and a couple of tense moments in defense for Man Utd, but they did well to not giving anything up quick.
Man Utd got things cooking a bit with some good passes. Sancho beat a man and the ball fell to Fred with a lot to do, his shot was straight at the keeper.
Villarreal got in between the lines on their next attack. Another deflected shot fell kindly to a Villarreal player. Trigueros’ shot was struck well and forced a brilliant save from David de Gea. De Gea bails out Man Utd again, but 30 minutes still remained in the match.
With all the possession that United gave up, eventually they would get tired from moving side to side and Villarreal almost caught them on a short passing switch. The final quick pass came to Danjuma, but he fired over.
Bruno and Rashford would replace the two that the replaced them in the starting lineup in the 65th minute.
Sancho almost got his first goal for United after he combined well with Bruno. They cut up the Villarreal defense, but Sancho could not finish on his left foot, it was a good save from the keeper.
The substitutes really gave Man Utd something different and they came in at the right time. Villarreal looked like they might steal the three points, but United grabbed a foothold in the game because of the fresh legs.
Villarreal began walking at times with the ball and got sloppy with some passes. United could smell blood and they pressed.
Ronaldo, again. The Villarreal keeper put Etienne Capoue in trouble with a bad pass. Capoue got his pocket picked and the ball fell perfectly in the air for Ronaldo who cooly finished.
Villarreal never looked like they could get back into the game and were eventually caught on the corner. Sancho got his first goal when he smashed it near post to sink the yellow submarine.
Man Utd Key Performers
Ronaldo and Sancho deserved their goals and Ronaldo won the game. Sancho had his best performance of his young United career, not just because of the goal, he looked good on the ball.
But, the man of the match had to David de Gea, the second save on Trigueros was massive.
A shout to the defense, they all looked solid especially when Villarreal got between the lines, they took care of business in the box.