Ronaldo does Ronaldo, but United still need coordination
It was one of those mysterious nights in the Champions League at Old Trafford. Fans returned to the field famous for European football for the first time in 18 months, and they encouraged their side to win.
Their cooperation was also needed. Manchester United lost dramatically to the Young Boys two weeks ago to climb into a tough group of them, but the tables were changed this week when no one other than Cristiano Ronaldo emerged victorious.
Exactly this striker was brought back to the club – make a difference in this tight game.
It was an innate touch in his path from Jesse Lingard – atonement for his own catastrophic error against the Young Boys – and a good goal from Ronaldo that showed why he was considered one of the best of all time.
If United had drawn against Villarreal, it would not have been catastrophic, but it would have piled more on the pressure the club is already cracking. Now, they have room to breathe a little more before the double header against the early leaders, Atlanta.
But there was still a clear place for United to improve. Diego Dalot may be the right-back second choice, but Arnaut Danzuma gave him a runaround every time he landed on that wing.
Overall, you felt like there was a lot of personal quality on the pitch, but overall there wasn’t much coordination in the XI – Ronaldo just saw the ball until he met the winner – which was more evident against a good drilled Villarreal.
As Gary Neville said in his podcast over the weekend: “I said that even when they won, even when Ronaldo scored, they didn’t play well enough as a team in my opinion to win this league. They’re not playing well enough as a team.”
This is a problem that Ole Gunnar Solskier would be eager to solve due to the lack of continuity and solidarity on the part of an ambitious United side.
There is no need to panic but Chelsea lack deceit
Romelu Lukaku was supposed to be a missing piece in Chelsea’s Jigsaw – and he’s probably still there.
However, what many did not anticipate was a reduction in the quality of the striker. Despite holding per cent against Juventus, Thomas Tuchel’s side carried little threat in the last third game. Yes, you have to consider the level of opposition, but in the 180 minutes against Manchester City and Juventus, Chelsea recorded just one shot on goal. It’s too early for the alarm but Tuchel needs to find a solution. From 37 crosses in the match, Chelsea found the head of the Juventus defender – often more than Leandro Bonucci.
Chelsea are blessed with their players to play a striker like Lukaku. Kai Hawartz and Hakim Zi নির্বাচিত were both selected to supply ammunition for Chelsea at Juventus but both played without spark or deception. Both failed to create a single opportunity for teammates. GH was stuck in the minute and Chelsea were feeling more comfortable playing with Lukaku in the final while creating two of the best chances of the match. Lukaku fired wide shots and Hewartz went over the bar.
Tuchel said: “We struggled to create our own rhythms because they were so deep and so passive. We struggled to find our own intensity, but that’s what you have to do.”
The answer may be Ruben Loftus-Gal, who confidently moved the ball to another good cameo in gippy fashion. However, he has been happy to cheat for many years after being threatened with signs of promise. Or perhaps Ross Berkeley, who created a late chance for Lukaku, can show Tuckel his best form?
Tuchel’s selection behind Lukaku for Saturday’s clash with Southampton will be a tough task for the boss. In the final third he needs to make his decision about the decision makers.
Big problem for Bara
Within a week Lionel Messi showed that he can still create magical moments, scoring their first goal for PSG against Manchester City on Tuesday, his former club Barcelona showed that they miss their former icon very much.
Ronald Koeman’s pressure will increase after seeing his team’s record at the start of the Champions League campaign after their 0-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the first round after losing to Benfica on the same scoreline.
The Catalans were just three minutes behind and when they created their own dangerous moment, their Portuguese hosts always threatened and underlined the need to rebuild with two more second-half goals in Barcelona. Eric Garcia’s red card has added salt to the spectators ’wounds, with Gerard Pique’s first-half replacement saying a word in the coming days.
Bar্সa may be unbeaten in La Liga but with Cadiz, Granada and Athletic Bilbao drawing, confidence or confidence are seldom inspired and they face Atletico Madrid which could be another complex test of where they are going under this season. Common.
Those glorious Champions League nights, when Messi was in Bar রঙa and weaving his magic for the club, suddenly seem long ago.