United prosper from complete team performance
Bursaspor 0-3 Manchester Utd: Observations
Whilst the White Hart Lane crowd were fully immersed by the supposed new ‘Welsh Wizard’ that is Gareth Bale, there was nothing so similar at the Bursa Ataturk Stadium as United were not so reliant on one man; it was more the contribution of the whole team. The night was by no means perfect, course Nani and Darren Fletcher picked up worrying injuries, but the visitors were excellent and ran riot.
Although it was encouraging to see Manchester United win a game so easily, it was even more pleasing the way in which they were organised; an effective 4-5-1 system in which they displayed much verve via their wingers and were, also tight at the back. Indeed, this was their fourth clean sheet from as many games. Even if you were to take into consideration the quality of opposition, United were hugely impressive; this was a complete team performance. You had Michael Carrick pulling the strings from the centre, a welcome boost for United if he could return to form, alongside Fletcher, who was equally effective, if not more, having powered United into the lead.
Carrick = genius. He was flawless, as the diagram above shows. A mammoth 91 passes out of 99 were deemed successful. His most important contribution was his assist for the first goal.
There were also goals for Gabriel Obertan and that chap Bebe. The former was in full swing, justifying Sir Alex’s selection, using all the pace and guile that the big-headed (literally) winger could muster. His goal, and United’s second, was spectacular, yet he made it look far too easy. You sense that the Frenchman has finally come into his own at Old Trafford, and that a place in the XI against Wolves on Saturday beckons.
No one knows quite what to expect from United’s surprise acquisition (well, everyone is) of the summer. Funnily enough, but also quite tragic, there were claims that Daily Mail reporters were jumping off tall buildings after Bebe found himself on the scoresheet.
It was a joy to watch; not so much because United won so convincingly, but because it felt a contribution from everyone. Berbatov was most notably below-par, however, although that’s rarely a surprise from a player who would be better off nicknamed the ‘frustrating genius’. Bursaspor fans, credit to them, were electric in noise throughout, yet their beloved team could hardly muster a whimper against a dominating Manchester United. Job done anyway – that’s United in the last 16.