Rashford important to The Solskjaer Approach
It was telling that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted on beginning Marcus Rashford in opposition to Granada regardless of admitting earlier than kick-off that the England ahead was nonetheless feeling some results of his latest harm. That a lot was clear when Rashford started hobbling gingerly within the early minutes, earlier than battling via. Rashford’s choice, regardless of carrying a knock and regardless of the significance of the top-four race with an important recreation at Tottenham to return on the weekend, confirmed simply how very important he has turn out to be to Solskjaer. There have been moments final season when he could possibly be rotated, however not any extra. Rashford is on a degree with captain Harry Maguire, talisman Bruno Fernandes and the dependable full-back duo of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw in being important to each beginning line-up, whatever the opponent or the techniques required.
He lasted two thirds of the sport earlier than being changed by Edinson Cavani, and it was sufficient time to attain an important away objective with a superb run, first contact and composed end on the tip of Victor Lindelof’s lengthy go. If the substitution indicated something it was that Rashford shall be one of many first names on the teamsheet once more come the weekend, even when it means taking part in via the ache.
Goalkeeper battle has all of it on the road
David de Gea’s choice right here urged he isn’t but down and out in his battle with Dean Henderson for United’s gloves over the course of the season’s finish. There may be an terrible lot at stake: ought to Henderson lock down the place then not solely may he discover himself taking part in a significant European ultimate within the Europa League, however he may even have an out of doors shot at ousting Jordan Pickford as England’s No 1 for the summer time’s rescheduled Euro 2020. What’s extra, De Gea will virtually definitely look to depart the membership on the finish of the season ought to he discover himself usurped. He too has a global place at stake, whereas a surprising decade at Previous Trafford may lastly draw to an finish. De Gea did properly sufficient right here with out ever being strenuously examined, doing simply sufficient to remind Solskjaer of his skills, however solely time will inform if he can win again his place within the Premier League.
Suspensions solid slight shadow
Scott McTominay, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw picked up yellow playing cards and all three shall be unavailable for the second leg at Previous Trafford. Not one of the incidents appeared significantly vital, and whereas the Portuguese referee was typically pernickety through the match it was tough for United to have any main complaints. Given the state of the sport and the opposition – Granada are ninth in La Liga and of their first ever European quarter-final – maybe the trio is not going to be missed, and definitely Maguire may do with a relaxation after an unlimited workload this season. However the ill-discipline shall be a priority to Solskjaer as he assesses a squad already burdened by harm.
United favourites for a motive
United have been extensively labelled the favourites to win the Europa League, and watching this tie it was straightforward to see why. They by no means received into prime gear however then they by no means wanted to, producing a composed efficiency which units them up properly to progress to the semi-finals, and displaying why they’re a lower above a few of their rivals on this match. It will not be a simple last-four tie, with Roma prone to be their opponents given the Italian aspect’s away win at Ajax this night. However the actuality is that it’ll take one thing spectacular to knock Solskjaer’s multi-talented aspect out of the competitors.
Bruno pads these phenomenal stats
A stat popped up that Bruno Fernandes has scored in each one of many previous 11 months – a quirk of the pandemic-adjusted calendar, in fact, but additionally an indication of his relentless consistency. The odd factor is that Fernandes may be frustratingly inconsistent throughout particular person video games, however his high-risk method brings common rewards over the season. This was one among his quieter matches and he was nowhere close to his terrifying finest, but he nonetheless delivered one thing from the penalty spot to make it 24 objectives and 14 assists this season in 46 United video games.