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Maguire made MU fail

16 Mar 2022 | 07:04 | Football

Welcoming Atletico Madrid in the second leg of the 1/8 Champions League round, MU had an ineffective competition day.

At Old Trafford, Man Utd was helpless against Atletico Madrid’s defense. Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates worked hard to attack but no goals.

From Renan Lodi’s header, goalkeeper David de Gea was helpless and the net of “Red Devils” vibrated. This single goal is enough to knock Man Utd out.

Teachers and coaches (coach) Ralf Rangnick stopped in the Champions League when the attack was not sharp, and the defense revealed weaknesses.

Maguire made MU fail - Football

Man Utd’s attack proved helpless before the excellence of Oblak. Photo: Independent. 

Public goods squandered

Man Utd have a chance. They even created more threats to the goal than Atletico. The post-match stats reflect this.

Man Utd launched 11 shots, 5 times sent the ball on target. They controlled the ball 61% and achieved 83% pass accuracy compared to 39% and 73% respectively for the visitors.

According to Fotmob, Man Utd’s expected goal (xG) in this match reached 0.91, higher than Atletico (0.52). However, the most important thing is the goal, which Man Utd did not have.

In fact, Man Utd has a good chance to open the scoring. In the 13th minute from the right wing attack, Bruno Fernandes stretched smoothly for Anthony Elanga. Unfortunately, the striker cushioned the ball and hit Jan Oblak in the face.

At the beginning of the second half, Elanga broke through the encirclement and then shot a very tight shot, narrowly sending the ball wide. Or like Jadon Sancho’s volley over the bar and Raphael Varane’s blocked header both left regrets.

This is Man Utd’s problem. Man Utd’s kick is not too deadlocked, but its ability to take advantage is very poor. In the 3-2 win against Tottenam, Man Utd created 9 chances and fortunately Ronaldo scored 3 goals.

But “CR7” doesn’t always turn out to be a savior. Draw against Watford 0-0 in February, Man Utd had 22 chances to score, but not once put the ball into the net.

Obviously Man Utd have to blame themselves. With a big team like Man Utd, it is taboo to only rely on a 37-year-old general like Ronaldo.

However, Man Utd did not have too many options in attack when Marcus Rashford fell, Edinson Cavani had physical problems and Mason Greenwood was in trouble. Maybe they need a change in the summer.

Oblak also deserves praise. He proved the skill of a top goalkeeper when he flew in ecstasy with 5 saves. Not surprisingly, Fotmob and Whoscored both voted for the best Oblak of the match.

Defensive mistakes

We need to mention Harry Maguire. More matches the English midfielder does not show the role of the leader. After an own goal that nearly made Man Utd hate “Spurs”, Maguire did not play well in this match.

In both situations where Atletico scored against Man Utd (once was disallowed for offside), it was Maguire who manually opened the door to the goal for the opponent.

Maguire made MU fail - Football

The space Maguire creates when going forward. 

The £80 million contract rose to stamp the ball in midfield but lacked decisiveness. And when Maguire was passed, a huge gap appeared in the “Red Devils” defense.

In this phase, Atletico exploited too well the position of the corridor in the right wing between the central defender and the full-back of Man Utd. When Maguire left position, Varane was forced to drift to the left to fill in.

While stepping back to defend, Maguire stood in the position of Alex Telles. This inadvertently made Diogo Dalot fall into a confrontation with 2 Atletico players, Koke and Lodi.

Maguire made MU fail - Football

Maguire stepped back but stood in the wrong position.

Dalot chose to follow the man in front of him and let Lodi comfortably go down to head in the score. It is no longer a matter of system or tactics, but of Maguire’s poor defensive instincts.

At Atletico’s disallowed goal a few minutes earlier, Maguire also had a similar rise and Man Utd once again lost the position between central defender and full-back.

The two times that Maguire went up, the Man Utd defense was put in a state of alarm twice. Atletico only need to take advantage of an opportunity to finish off the Old Trafford team.

Man Utd had to stop in the 1/8 round and Maguire was partly responsible. Maguire is not the solution for Man Utd’s defense to play better. On the contrary, he often has unsafe handling phases.

As captain, Maguire must do better than expected. But throughout the season, Maguire was constantly underperforming. Man Utd needs a personnel revolution and Maguire must be punished.

With this defeat, Man Utd is in danger of not being able to participate in Europe’s number one arena next season. In the Premier League, they are one point behind Arsenal and have played three more games.