Astana vs Manchester United Match Analysis and Player Ratings



When you're 20 points off the pace in the Premier League and have already secured qualification to the knockout stages of the Europa League, it makes perfect sense to leave your best players at home wrapped in cotton wool and send a squad of kids 3,000 miles to see out a dead rubber against the worst team in the group, right? In theory it's the most appropriate course of action, in fact Sir Alex Ferguson did the same thing on numerous occasions over the years, however, he always kept one or two of the big guns on the bench as insurance. United's bench against Astana had a combined 0 (zero) first team appearances, which is only marginally less than the number of razors they collectively possess (although I suspect they own gallons of designer aftershave).

Playing the kids in a match like this can be invaluable, as games in which the manager can properly experiment and give much needed experience to promising youngsters are few and far between. The only downside is that if things don't go your way you risk setting back the development of some players, and for some kids these kind of setbacks can end a career before it has even begun. Whether Chong will get over his miss, or Bernard recovers from conceding an own goal which cost the game, remains to be seen.

We shouldn't solely focus on the negatives though, as there were some positives which can be taken back on the gruelling transcontinental flight to Manchester. Jesse Lingard scored a long overdue goal (his first since Tony Blair was Prime Minister if memory serves) with a decent right foot finish from outside the box, Shaw played his first game since recovering from a knee injury and provided the assist for Lingard's goal, and in the first half United's youngsters completely dominated a team of seasoned veterans. Yes, it went downhill in the second half, but honestly, apart from a few dented egos, United left Central Asia relatively unscathed.

Lee Grant 6/10
Had very little to do and stood no chance for Astana's two goals.

Ethan Laird 7/10
Took players on and defended very well. If United did not have an abundance of right backs, he would be challenging as Brandon Williams is.

Axel Tuanzebe 7/10
Defensively sound and tried to get things going in attack too. Certainly showed his qualities as he aims to get back into the first team

DiShon Bernard 6/10
Unlucky with the own goal but overall had a solid debut. Is not ready for the first team but in a couple of years, who knows?

Luke Shaw 6.5/10
He was pretty poor in tracking back and does not look fully fit but got an assists and could have got a couple more - something fans have been critical of.

James Garner 7/10
Controlled the game and dictated play. Closer and closer to a consistent first team player.

Dylan Levitt 7/10
He is now training with the first team which shows the impact he has made. He looked composed, confident and willing to take some risks. Not quite at Garner's level but he is progressing well.

Tahith Chong 4/10
Poor performance from Chong, regardless of the open goal. He looked shell shocked early on and didn't try to take anyone on with his pace. And of course missed a glaring open goal to double United's lead. This could result in him going out on loan or even a permanent move away but it will be in his learning curve, you'd hope.

Jesse Lingard 7.5/10
Confident performance for the captain. A good finish for his first goal in 28 games and looked good in the pockets of space and even came deep to get things going. Almost equalised late on and constantly pressed. Not ready to start just yet but always good to see a player regain confidence.

Angel Gomes 7/10
Tried to get things going and his quick feet and low centre of gravity made him a handful. Would be great to see him play at no.10 but does not quite look ready for the physicality of the Premier League yet.

Mason Greenwood 6.5/10
Lively but only had a few chances. Unlucky late on as the goalkeeper made a terrific save but has had better games.

SUBS
D'Mani Mellor 6.5/10
Not on for long but had more of an impact than Chong did as he took players on and tried to take risks.

Largie Ramazani N/A
Tried to use his pace a couple times but not on for long enough.

Ethan Galbraith N/A
Not enough time on to make an impact.

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