Greenwood 8/10, Mata 7/10 lift lethargic Man United to emphatic win
Manchester United confirmed their spot at the top of Group L to end their group stage campaign with an emphatic 4-0 win over AZ Alkmaar in the UEFA Europa League.
The first half saw a lethargic display from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men but in a crazy 11-minute period goals from Juan Mata, Ashley Young, and a brace from Mason Greenwood ensured that United came away with the three points.
The Red Devils were carving out the right passes all night long and once they got into a rhythm, they were able to experiment and really let themselves go. Defensively they were able to mature into the game and soak up any lingering pressure with a calm and composed performance.
There was some complacency at the back with gaps being left open and poor passes being made, and in the first 45 minutes, there was a distinct lack of urgency on display. That anxiety will cost them against better sides, and when they try and go through the midfield, they're finding that they're getting sussed out pretty early on in games.
8 -- The 4-2-3-1 type of formation seemed to indicate that Solskjaer is working with a little bit more confidence now. His team selection made sense and when things seemed to be getting stale, the Norwegian clearly inspired some urgency in the second half which is something he's failed to do so far this season.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Sergio Romero, 7 -- Looked nervous with his passing at times but coped well with the minimal pressure that came his way from the Dutch side.
DF Ashley Young, 7 -- Another fairly solid performance at the back was capped off by a nice finish that reminds fans of what he can produce going forward.
DF Axel Tuanzebe, 6 -- Shows a real leadership when on the pitch that few others his age can, but still looked hesitant at times and needs to work on his decision making.
DF Harry Maguire, 6 -- Still has lapses in concentration that need to be ironed out of his game, but didn't cost United anything here.
DF Brandon Williams, 7 -- Continues to progress really well at left back with surging runs and confident challenges. Will help him to make the position his own.
MF James Garner, 6 -- Youthful talent that has the potential to do some big things in the future, but gives himself too much to do and isn't great at imposing himself in the middle of the park.
MF Nemanja Matic, 6 -- Produced a really nice pass for the opening goal of the game but aside from that, he needs to improve on his vision and not giving the ball away.
AMF Mason Greenwood, 8 -- Active like a bull in a china shop which finally paid off for him in the second half, as the youngster scored with two delightful finishes.
AMF Juan Mata, 8 -- Has great movement and positioning to make up for some poor distribution. Impressed in the lead-up to the opener and took his penalty brilliantly.
AMF Andreas Pereira, 7 -- Always drives forward with intent but lacks the end product most of the time. Needs a goal to improve his confidence.
FW Anthony Martial, 6 -- Went missing throughout the game and wasn't able to make any real difference for the hosts going forward.
DF Phil Jones, N/A -- Helped to kill the clock and get some minutes under his belt.
DF Ethan Laird, N/A -- Had a decent run out and will look to further cement his position as a strong fringe player for the starting XI.
MF Tahith Chong, 7 -- Looked confident and composed when coming on and will benefit from featuring in such a convincing win.