44 mins – Man Utd 3 Basaksehir 0
Van De Beek’s tried a difficult pass in the centre of the pitch and is quite lucky that Basaksehir aren’t able to break from it.
A minute later and United’s back four are all over the place as Bolingoli gets up the pitch and almost sets up Ba for a tap-in! Corner instead.
Lindelof and Maguire team up to head that away.
41 mins – Man Utd 3 Basaksehir 0
Martial almost threads Fernandes in for his hat-trick, the ball is a little heavy and guess what he does? Stands still for a second, head in hands, then jogs back. Meanwhile, Cavani and Van De Beek are racing to help support the defence as Basaksehir break and the latter slides into a tackle to end the move. In Martial’s defence, I think he’s been told to stay wide and high to offer a threat on the counter. The little dribble he just went on to create that chance is why. Still has to defend though – look at the shift Cavani is putting in.
40 mins – Man Utd 3 Basaksehir 0
Demba Ba manages to get a free header inside the box from a free-kick as Maguire lets him go. Dreadful defending by Maguire, again. The shot is knocked over the bar.
38 mins – Man Utd 3 Basaksehir 0
Martial reacts to giving away the ball with a silly pass by standing still, putting his head in his stands and… still standing there. Get back in position, Tony. Come on now. Every time something goes wrong he takes about five seconds to get locked back into the game,. He could be so good too.
Rashford scores! That’s correct – not Fernandes, who gave the ball and the chance of a hat-trick to his teammate.
Man Utd 3 Basaksehir 0
A silly little stutter and placed shot into the corner later and United are 3-0 up.
That seems extraordinarily harsh. Lindelof launches a ball over the top, Rashford runs behind, shields the ball and is bounced to the floor by the defender. Rashford knows it’s coming. The debate now is whether Rashford is offside.
33 mins – Man Utd 2 Basaksehir 0
Fred’s passing is woeful. He’s given away the ball a few times now – at least twice anyway – by attempting to play the forward passes he seems to have been asked to by the manager.
32 mins – Man Utd 2 Basaksehir 0
Martial turns in midfield but has no idea what’s behind him and is easily tackled. Poor play by him. For some reason I’m really eager for him to turn out to be a great player and it’s just so frustrating when very basic things aren’t done well. There’s no way coaches haven’t tried to work it out of him.
29 mins – Man Utd 2 Basaksehir 0
Visca hits a powerful free-kick over the bar from about 25 yards. Decent first effort on goal from him, that’ll allow him calibrate his shooting boots.
28 mins – Man Utd 2 Basaksehir 0
Telles’ positioning is allowing Martial to move into more central areas and create overloads. He’s a massive upgrade on Luke Shaw for sure, who I feel like might become a bit more of a squad player over the coming months.
26 mins – Man Utd 2 Basaksehir 0
Basaksehir win a free-kick wide right and send some of the big defenders up into the box to attack it. The ball is played short, then inside, then crossed in… and straight out for a goal kick.
23 mins – Man Utd 2 Basaksehir 0
Robbie Savage keeps (correctly) pointing out how United keep playing forward passes rather than looking for the safe option every time. It’s making a big difference, they’re far more aggressive and better able to make things happen with runners off the ball and opponents being closed down.
SOMEBODY CALL THE FIRE BRIGADE, BRUNO FERNANDES IS IN FLAMES!
Man Utd 2 Basaksehir 0
Telles gets high up the left wing, crosses into the box, the goalkeeper has an absolute nightmare and drops an easy catch to the penalty spot, giving Fernandes a tap-in.
18 mins – Man Utd 1 Basaksehir 0
Aaaaand that’s why you can’t play Van De Beek and Fred in the same midfield. Both allow a forward to float through the centre of the pitch without challenge and launch a shot at goal. This time it goes wide of the post.
17 mins – Man Utd 1 Basaksehir 0
Good pressure from United who have Basaksehir on the back foot and total control of the ball.
You know else is good? That Van De Beek. They should play him more often.
14 mins – Man Utd 1 Basaksehir 0
Fernandes shoots just wide from 25 yards! This is a great performance to sfar from United. I’m already looking forward to it not working on the weekend.
GOOOOOAAAAAAAAAA – offside
That would have been another brilliant goal. Van de Beek fires the ball into Fernandes, who flicks it forward and Rashford finishes next to the goalkeeper. Phenomenal play but rightly called just offside.
12 mins – Man Utd 1 Basaksehir 0
Martial is so much better on the left. He gets on the ball again, starts running and a one-two later is in behind the defence. His cross is poor and over-hit and Cavani can’t finish.
11 mins – Man Utd 1 Basaksehir 0
Basaksehir are pressing United close to their own goal as they try to play out from the back and it’s causing a few problems, particularly for Harry Maguire, who suddenly realises he is not Beckenbauer and probably shouldn’t be holding onto the ball for so long.
WHAT A HIT! WOW! Fernandes scores!!!
Man Utd 1 Basaksehir 0
That is ridiculous. The corner is headed out to Fernandes on the edge of the box, he reads the bounce, watches it drop and then launches an absolute rocket into the roof of the net. The goalkeeper has no idea what’s happened. There was basically a trail of fire coming off of that one.
7 mins – Man Utd 0 Basaksehir 0
Bolingoli fouls Rashford with a clumsy attempt at a tackle but the free-kick is taken quickly and backwards. United have started really aggressively, as a neutral it’s great to see and means we don’t get some boring dragged out game.
5 mins – Man Utd 0 Basaksehir 0
It is Rashford wide right and Martial on the left as we expected. United are pressing high, Fred steps forward to help out as well with Van De Beek nearby. It looks like those two are taking turns to play the protector role.
3 mins – Man Utd 0 Basaksehir 0
United look really good here, as in very attacking from the start. Rashford drives towards goal through the middle, has options either side as he closes in and then does a little Iniesta double-touch trick to go past a defender and get one v one with the goalkeeper! The shot is saved, Rashford and Cavani try to turn in the loose ball… but Basaksehir survive.
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OGS seems keen on playing Cavani over Martial
“First start for us, first start at Old Trafford, for us he’s a different striker, he gets in where it hurts, gets his head on the ball.”
It’s not a dig at Martial, but Martial offers absolutely nothing in the box when the ball is wide. His movement is OK but it’s his lack of physical presence that lets him down a bit. Cavani is a unit and has next-level fox in the box running. Conversely, Cavani can’t dribble past four players at once and bend it into the top corner, so it makes sense that Martial would go wide and Cavani through the middle.
Man Utd players all loved Rafael
This is great on BT Sport, as Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand reveal how much they enjoyed playing and training with Rafael:
Interesting that Ferdinand says it’s a shame he was shipped out when he was. He could easily be starting for United tonight.
What to expect tonight
The last time these two teams played United lost 2-1 and you’d hope the players are keen to avenge that. You may remember that game for it featuring one of the worst pieces of defending ever seen at an elite level in football:
The way this goal happened would be embarassing at Sunday League level, let alone for a team full of international players.
Fans back in stadiums?
You will almost certainly have seen the news already that fans will be allowed back into stadiums as of the 3rd, but there are also plans for Premier League clubs to host much more highly attended matches as of January. Ben Rumsby has this exclusive:
Telegraph Sport has been told proposals have been put forward for some Premier League football clubs to host five-figure crowds as early as January if there is no spike in coronavirus cases from the return of supporters after the second national lockdown ends.
Click on the headline above for more.
Here are the teams:
This might actually be United’s best starting XI. Martial simply isn’t a central striker (for me, anyway) and is much better as a wide forward, Rashford can play wide right and swap with Martial, Cavani through the middle, a midfield three of Fred… hang on. Fred is there. Well, even with Fred you’ve got Bruno Fernandes and Donny Van De Beek in the same team and there’s every chance this works very well. Let’s find out.
Hello there and welcome to Manchester United’s latest home game in Europe, as they welcome [Turkish team that nobody actually knows anything about] to Old Trafford for the very first time.
We might see some changes to the United team tonight as OGS begins his mission to navigate a fairly hectic fixture schedule and avoid any unwanted injuries to his star players, although I’d expect Bruno Fernandes to start even if one of his legs was hanging off. That boy never gets a rest. Donny Van De Beek may get a chance to show what he can do, Edinson Cavani might get a start, Alex Telles could be back, and Mason Greenwood is in the squad too.
Those United players will have to take on a team featuring the mighty Demba Ba, and Bolongoli-Mbombo, who Scottish football fans may remember as the Celtic player who went on holiday during lockdown and was subsequently turfed out on loan. Well done.
Basaksehir are one of the clubs to transform over night with the addition of many millions of investment from a rich person, which is why they are now the Turkish CL competitors rather than the traditional Besiktas or Galatasaray. Nacer Chadli is another name you may recognise in their squad but the ex-Spurs player is returning from injury. Former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel also usually starts in their first XI.
And the last player you may recognise for the visitors, assuming you aren’t very knowledgeable about them in the first place, is an old Man Utd defender.
“It’s nice to welcome Rafael back to Old Trafford this evening,” OGS wrote in the programme notes for tonight’s match. “I know Rafa well from the time we spent together here at the club. I also signed his twin brother Fabio for Cardiff so I recognise what the twins are all about.”
I’m not entirely convinced it’s a great idea referencing his time at Cardiff but I suppose we all learn somewhere. Let’s not get into the ‘should Man Utd keep Solskjaer’ thing because we’ll end up talking about Norwegian football and I just don’t have the skill or knowledge for it right this second. Maybe later.
Right. The game kicks off at 8pm on BT Sport but you can read along here for live updates and analysis.
Source: The Telegraph Travels