1. Oh bore. Benfica are a good side but they’re not a great side. Why can’t we take out football to them? I completely appreciate the fact that United have got this European football malarky nailed on these days and a score draw away from home against the toughest side in the group is a decent result, but you can’t help but feel it’s 90 minutes of your life you won’t get back when the final whistle blows. Boring. After being blown away with all our performances this season, it was like stepping back in to 2010-2011 tonight. The line-up was uninspiring, as was our football, but with a bigger to play at the weekend, it’s fair enough.
2. Ander Lindegaard is the only one of the players rotated in that we haven’t had a good look at and he put in a great performance. There was nothing he could have done with the goal and made some top saves before and after that. He plays with confidence and after the slatings David de Gea has received in the press, will be trying to claim that #1 jersey. It didn’t matter how well he played tonight though, de Gea is our first choice and will rightly be between the sticks on Sunday.
3. In a contrast, a player we’ve seen a lot of, got us the point tonight. Ryan Giggs is now the only player to have scored in 16 Champions League seasons, even more than Raul on 15. His goal was brilliant. Took on a couple of players then smashed it past the keeper from outside the box. His general performance wasn’t anything to write home about but he got us what we needed.
4. You’ve got to wonder what the fuck is going on with Dimitar Berbatov. The manager insists he isn’t on his way out but how can you come to any other conclusion. He surely had to start tonight. Rooney was completely isolated up front by himself and there was no need to bring Chicharito on in the second half. Last season’s top scorer has repeatedly stated his desire to stay at the club but United clearly have other ideas. He’s on top wages and isn’t first choice but if they wanted rid, they should have forced a sale this summer. Maybe Berba refused to talk to any other clubs, so now Fergie is doing all he can to make him want to leave. My loyalty always lies with the manager but the treatment of Berba is pretty tacky and disappointing.
5. Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher did little to make that central midfield position their own. Anderson is a cert for the weekend but he’ll need someone to play alongside him now Tom Cleverley is injured. Fletch put in some good shifts against Scotland and after playing 90 minutes tonight, I can’t imagine he’ll be starting. Carrick was sloppy and doesn’t breed confidence. Hopefully he’ll pull a big performance out of somewhere on Sunday, if he is to start, although it wouldn’t be unimaginable for Park Ji-Sung to be given this role.
The RoM Manchester United 2022-23 season preview is now available for just £6. It includes exclusive interviews with Patrice Evra and Kleberson, articles from the country's best football writers about our expectations for the season ahead and our brightest talents, as well as proposed transfer business and which youth players to keep an eye out for. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.