Some very interesting tactical switches from Carrick. Starting Ronaldo on the left and Martial through the middle is one of them, but it’s also a very flat three-man midfield. It’s a 4-3-3 compared to the 4-2-3-1 of the Solskjaer era.
United’s early shape would suggest Martial is down the middle, Ronaldo is on the left and Sancho is on the right. All three players are very much interchangeable to some extent, mind. Alex Telles sends the ball into the area, and it flicks off a defender’s head and falls to McTominay, beyond the far post, who hits the side netting.
An early palm-warmer for David de Gea courtesy of Moi Gómez, whose low shot from just outside the area is pushed away. Villarreal continue to dominate possession, but so far United are defending their area well. Chance! Villarreal work the ball nicely from right to left, but with Wan-Bissaka flinging himself in his direction Danjuma scoops his shot over the bar.
Super stop from De Gea! Villarreal break, Moi Gómez’s shot deflects to Trigueros, and his effort takes an awkward bounce but De Gea still gets a hand to it and turns it round the post! On the subject of names that sound like footballer names, an email arrives from, um, John Barnes. “Come on boys lets stop mucking around now. The big man’s here.”
— Eddy (@eddytood) November 23, 2021