Manchester United Player Ratings at Villarreal: How Will They Do Without OGS?

Written By Uttiyo Sarkar on November 23, 2021

Manchester United play their first game of the post-Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era against Villarreal in a crucial Champions League group game. They picked up a 2-0 win to kick-start the Michael Carrick era on a high note – despite not really playing that well for the majority of the game. 

The Red Devils were extremely boring in their first half under Carrick. They played some slow, lethargic soccer and were lucky not to head into half-time a goal or two down. Things improved in the second half, although, and United gained confidence from witnessing their opponents fluff repeated chances.

As things looked destined for a goalless draw, a poor error by the hosts set up a chance for Cristiano Ronaldo – who dinked one over the goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli in the 78th minute to put his side ahead.

Jadon Sancho then scored his first Man United goal in the 90th minute with a thunderous strike – sealing the deal for the Red Devils. The win also confirms United a place in the Champions League knockout rounds now. Despite all their trouble in the Premier League, things are going surprisingly well in Europe – mostly because of the brilliance of Ronaldo. 

Here are Manchester United player ratings at Villarreal

Manchester United player ratings at Villarreal

Manager

Michael Carrick (6.5)–  

First game as caretaker manager for Carrick. Makes a few interesting changes from the Watford loss. The changes didn’t really work – as both Van de Beek and Martial had underwhelming outings. Fortunately for him, his substitutions worked wonders and helped turn a draw into a win for United. 

In terms of style, it was really the same old as when Ole was in charge. Carrick just toughened up his backline and assembled a quality squad hoping for a win. That ended up working today, but probably won’t in the long-term. He’s likely to be in charge for the big Chelsea game on Sunday – so has to keep up United’s momentum to get anything from that. 

Goalkeeper

David de Gea (8.0) –  

De Gea’s forced into action early on, making a sharp save to deny a goal in the 5th. And then reacts superbly to deny Trigueros powerful attempt in the 26th. Denies the Villarreal midfielder again with a brilliant reflex save to keep it 0-0 in the 58th.

If it wasn’t for his clutch saves, United probably weren’t going to win this. Saved his backline’s blushes when they needed him the most. Well deserved clean-sheet after weeks of torment. 

Defenders

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (7.0) –

Wan-Bissaka is another United defending trying to regain form and was almost made to pay for being too cautious with his defensive work. Gained a lot of confidence in the second half, making key interceptions and tackles to keep the dangerous Danjuma relatively quiet. Bounced back strongly from the Watford nightmare. 

Harry Maguire (6.0) –  

Lucky to start this after the horror show at Watford. Maguire maintained his composure much better in this game. Didn’t really do much (at all) in terms of asserting himself, but at least didn’t make any mistakes. 

Victor Lindelof (8.0) –

Lindelof was United’s sharpest defender all game long, helping clear away danger with some assertive defending. Maintained very impressive positioning to sniff out Villarrea’s attacks and maintained a strong defensive shape. Made 8 clearances, won 5 duels and 2 tackles in what was probably his best performance this season. Kept Villarreal’s attackers in his pockets & helped his side get the precious clean sheet. 

Alex Telles (6.5) –  

Telles scored a scorcher in the last game against Villarreal and hopes for something similar today. Not able to replicate something that spectacular, but he dug in to keep things stabilize on his side. Worked hard to nullify Villarreal’s threat down his side and contributed going forward, making 9 crosses – many of which helped create trouble in the box!

Midfielders

Scott McTominay (6.5) –

McTominay came close to scoring an early opener, guiding a header onto the side-netting in the 3rd. His sloppy passing out from the back is causing problems. Like many other United players on the day, McTominay raised his performance levels in the second half – being much sharper and tougher in midfield. 

He moved the ball forward pretty well on occasions and came up with some vital challenges to help his side sail through to a win in the end. 

Fred (6.5) –

The Brazilian midfielder had a sluggish first half despite coming into the game in a very fresh state. Couldn’t press opponents well and lost out on multiple key duels. But it was his impressive pressing and sharp reactions that helped steal the ball off Etienne Capoue and create the chance leading to Ronaldo’s goal. 

Bounced back strongly from a shaky first half, pressing cleverly in the second and also helping keep things tight in midfield. 

Donny van de Beek (4.5)

Solskjaer gone and Van de Beek starts a game. Hallelujah! Not really influential from his no.10 role, failing to create anything in the first half. Got booked towards the end too. Struggled to adapt into the game, not being able to create any prominent chance. Just doesn’t seem the right fit under this management. 

Forwards

Jadon Sancho (7.5) –

Sancho looks confident after the decent showing against Watford and is moving the ball forward really well – helping create some stuff for his team. Came very close to scoring first United goal in the 71st after playing a nice one-two with Bruno, but his attempt was saved really well. 

But then FINALLY scores his in the late stages – finishing off a slick counter-attack with an emphatic shot into the top corner. He’s (finally) arrived! United will only hope he picks up from this and delivers goals+assists more consistently going forward. 

Anthony Martial (4.5) –

A surprise start for Martial over Marcus Rashford today. Frustrating with his link-up play in the first half. Didn’t seem to know his positioning properly and too static with his passes. Unable to repay Carrcick’s faith, putting in another bland performance. 

Cristiano Ronaldo (8.0) –

Can Mr. Champions League win another European game for United? Absolutely! Ronaldo got a decent scoring chance in the 30th, but his header is aimed straight at the keeper. After having a very frustrating outing, he pulls a rabbit out of the hat – reacting instinctively to chip over the goalkeeper to score his 6th UCL goal this season. 

Then nearly capitalizes on another error from Villarreal to get one shot past the keeper in the 84th – only to see his attempt creep barely wide. Helped start the counter-attack leading to Sancho’s goal. Another impressive UCL outing – ensuring he doesn’t have to play in the Europa League anytime soon. 

Substitutions

Bruno Fernandes (7.0) –

Proved why Carrick was wrong to play Van de Beek of him by creating a number of chances late on. Set up Sancho’s strike with a crisp flick. Now needs to replicate his heroics against Chelsea. 

Marcus Rashford (6.5) –

Looked sharp after coming on and troubled Villarreal on the counter-attack, playing a big role in helping set up Sancho’s first goal. Forced a sharp save from Rulli with a nice attempt in the 85th. Could’ve had a goal if bit more clinical on the late counter-attacks. 

Nemanja Matic (N/R) –

Replaced Ronaldo late on to ensure his side got the clean sheet. 

Juan Mata (N/R) – 

Came on with literally a few seconds remaining. 

MAN OF THE MATCH

As impressive as De Gea & Lindelof were today, United wouldn’t have gotten a win without goals today. Ronaldo scored the first goal and played a part in setting up the second. He turns into an absolute beast in UCL nights and doesn’t need many chance to prove his quality. CR7 is today’s MOTM for me. 

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Uttiyo Sarkar

An unbiased Manchester United die-hard. Lover of the beautiful game. Addicted to the Premier League and beyond. Hopeful writer in the search for the greater good.

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