Home » Four things we learned from Manchester United’s enthralling 3-3 draw vs. Galatasaray

Four things we learned from Manchester United’s enthralling 3-3 draw vs. Galatasaray

by Derick Kinoti

Manchester United travelled to Istanbul to take on Galatasaray at Rams Park in a must-win Champions League affair.

Heading into the game, United were bottom of Group A, with just three points after four matches. The team needed to win in order to give itself the best possible chance of advancing to the next round of the competition.

Erik ten Hag made four changes from the starting XI against Everton on Sunday.

Andre Onana started in goal with a defensive four of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw ahead of the shot-stopper.

Sofyan Amrabat started as United’s deepest-lying midfielder in a trio also consisting of Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes.

Rasmus Hojlund led the line with Alejandro Garnacho and Antony on either side of him. Here are four things we learned from Manchester United’s 3-3 draw against Galatasaray.

Amrabat simply not the answer

There was a lot of speculation with regard to whether Kobbie Mainoo would start against Galatasaray.

The young midfielder was sensational at Goodison Park on Sunday and earned himself a lot of plaudits for his calm, composed and impressive performance in the middle of the park.

United legend Rio Ferdinand recently suggested that going forward, it’s imperative that Mainoo keep his place in the team ahead of Amrabat.

However, Ten Hag decided to give the nod to Amrabat ahead of Mainoo, but the decision did not really bear much fruit.

Amrabat was uninspiring and simply did not do anything impactful. He did not put his mark on the game and the result was that rival players easily cut through United’s midfield.

The Moroccan was not helped by McTominay, who has seemingly developed a habit of becoming anonymous and barely noticeable during games.

Amrabat at times seemed lost like a deer in headlights. Compare the Fiorentina loanee’s display to Mainoo’s at Goodison and it’s pretty obvious who deserves a guaranteed starting berth going forward.

The 27-year-old struggled to control proceedings or even offer the kind of defensive solidity usually provided by the no-nonsense Casemiro.

Amrabat was taken off just before the hour mark and Mainoo was brought in to replace him. Hardly anyone would have argued against the change.

His loan spell has so far been underwhelming and it’s easy to see why there is already talk of United looking beyond him and signing another number six.

Amrabat is not the answer and this was clearly evident against Okan Buruk’s men.

Garnacho steadily growing into his role as a regular starter

United got off to a fairytale start in the first half. Fresh off his stunning bicycle kick just a few days ago and with Marcus Rashford suspended, Garnacho’s inclusion on the team sheet was almost certain – the Argentine did not disappoint.

He shed first blood when he opened the scoring.

Garnacho got on the end of a pass inside the box from Fernandes. Many would have predicted that he would try to shift the ball onto his right foot but impressively, he chose to strike it with his left.

The 18-year-old fired the ball into the roof of the net and gave Fernando Muslera no chance of keeping the effort out.

United would go on to add a second of the match through Fernandes but Galatasaray pulled one back through Hakim Ziyech.

The Red Devils went into the break a goal up. They came out firing and performed much better by way of how they ensured the game was played at their preferred tempo.

United got their reward in the 55th minute when McTominay grabbed a third goal. Ziyech however got his brace just seven minutes later to still keep his side in the game. Galatasaray eventually managed to clinch an equalizer through Muhammed Kerem Akturkoglu.

Garnacho was a threat all game and was a constant headache for Sacha Boey. He in fact got the Galatasaray full-back booked.

Defensively, Garnacho was top-notch. Whenever required to track back and contribute to keeping the ball out of Onana’s net, the Carrington academy graduate diligently executed his responsibilities.

He also put in one or two good crosses for Hojlund. The biggest compliment that can be paid to Garnacho and his brilliance is that everything United did attacking-wise came from his flank. If United were to hurt Galatasaray, it would likely come through Garnacho.

In recent games, Garnacho has started on the left with Rashford required to ply his trade on the right. Whenever given the chance, he has come up with the goods.

It was a bit puzzling that the Argentina international, who was United’s main source of threat, was taken off when United were searching for a fourth goal that could have been the winner.

His replacement, Facundo Pellistri had multiple clear-cut chances to score but could not make one stick.

If there were any doubts regarding whether Garnacho could make the jump from being an impact substitute to a starter, those concerns are slowly being abated.

The hope is that he can continue growing in confidence and stature and really show what he can do in a United shirt. He definitely has the talent and potential.

Onana howlers

Most of United’s good work was undone by huge blunders from goalkeeper Andre Onana.

For Ziyech’s first goal, Onana was caught flat-footed from the free-kick effort. He initially moved in the wrong direction and when he realised the ball was moving to the other side, could not react first enough to stop it.

Ziyech’s second goal was also from a free-kick but this time, Onana got a weak hand to it, only to mishandle the ball and send it to the back of his own net.

There’s not much the United goalkeeper could do about Galatasaray’s third and equalising goal.

As a result of his two costly mistakes at Rams Park, Onana is now the goalkeeper who has made the most errors leading to opposition goals in the Champions League since 2018/19, with seven.

He has had many high-profile howlers this term and the pressure is now back on the Cameroonian due to his awful performance vs. Galatasaray.

United’s Champions League hopes almost certainly over now

Due to the draw, United’s hopes of advancing to the knockout stages of the Champions League are almost over now.

Ten Hag’s players will have to beat Bayern Munich at Old Trafford and hope that results elsewhere go their way.

United were two goals up twice and there will certainly be disappointment at how the game eventually panned out.

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