Earlier tonight we saw Manchester United beat Wolfsburg in a nervy win at Old Trafford.
Wolfsburg drew first blood four minutes into the game as Max Kruse passed the ball to Daniel Caligiuri who finished with ease.
Juan Mata restored parity at the 34th minute after Caligiuri gave away a penalty. Chris Smalling won the match for Manchester United after pouncing on the rebound at the 53rd minute of the match. Following are a few talking points on the match:
Juan Mata deserves a central role
Juan Mata proved again how influential he can be when he is in form. His passing was a constant problem throughout the game for Wolfsburg’s defense. Tonight he was the only consistent player in United’s attack as Martial, Rooney and Depay had an off night. Perhaps a central role will help Mata fulfill his true potential.
Taking a gamble on Bastian Schweinsteiger paid off
Bastian Schweinsteiger looked like a shadow of his previous self tonight. He dominated the midfield and kept United ticking. His passing and tackling was of the highest order. United will love to see more displays of brilliance by Germany’s captain in the future.
Wolfsburg needs players with pace
Wolfsburg are not a pacy side and that was one of the reasons due to which they could not trouble United’s defense often enough. They had plenty of opportunities on the counter but they couldn’t capitalize on any them. Julian Draxler and Daniel Caligiuri may be technically gifted but they can sprint past the likes of Darmian and Valencia.
Germany have found a star in Max Kruse
Max Kruse played in the number 10 role tonight and he showed why Draxler had been shifted to the wings. His movement and passing were of the highest order. He managed to get an assist and unlocked United’s defense three to four times. Germany might just have found the striker they were looking for.
Chris Smalling needs better defensive partners.
Smalling had an excellent game tonight. He dominated Bas Dost and Niklas Bendtner in both halfs but United’s defense line doesn’t seem solid enough. Daley Blind couldn’t handle the physicality of Wolfsburg and Darmian was beaten by Draxler on a few occasions. United lack quality in defense and although Phil Jones returned tonight there are still gaps that need to be filled before United go up against the bigger teams. With three crucial games coming ahead United’s defense will be put to the test and they can’t keep relying on Smalling’s heroics.