Manchester United avoided an embarrassing draw at home to Cypriot side Omonia as substitute Scott McTominay scored the only goal of the game in stoppage time. Erik ten Hag’s side had failed to find a way past Nigerian goalkeeper Francis Uzoho as he made several stunning saves to deny the United cohort before the Scot saved the day. Express Sport looks at the Red Devils stars who struggled, and a couple who stood out.
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The Brazilian winger had ousted Jadon Sancho on the right-wing and with three goals in his first three Premier League games, has been good value for the £85million United spent to bring him to the club from Ajax. However his performance against Omonoia was not his finest as a Red Devil, as he spurned a good chance early in the second half when he was through on goal but took an extra touch to get onto his left foot but could not beat the goalkeeper.
However it was clear soon after why he was so keen to shoot on his left, as just minutes later Antony attempted a cross with his right as his team-mates were in a good position, but he skewed his attempt and it went harmlessly for a goal kick before he was substituted off for Sancho as United went in search of a goal.
The Dutch left-back has a battle on his hands with Luke Shaw after the England defender has put in some improved performances of late, but Tyrell Malacia failed to make an attacking impact while having few defensive duties.
Shaw will likely come back into the team for the visit of Newcastle on Sunday, and Malacia could be relegated to only Europa League football in the coming weeks unless he can make a similar impression to when he first broke into the team in the first few weeks of the season and his energy made a big impact on the left flank. He was brought off for Shaw on the hour mark.
With Casemiro anchoring the midfield, Fred has more licence to go forward and impact the play in the attacking third, as when the visitors countered they attacked in a 5-3-2 shape, meaning the ex-Real Madrid man and the two centre-backs had a man advantage over the two Omonia forwards.
Occasionally he broke into the box, and nodded over an Antony cross in the first half when he had an opportunity to put his side into the lead. In games where United can dominate possession and he has Casemiro alongside him, Fred must make more of an impact going forward as with Christian Eriksen as his competition in that central midfield role he is unlikely to find himself in Ten Hag’s best team.
The Brazilian had a big chance to give his side the lead early in the second half but side-footed his attempt straight at Uzoho when opting for power may have been the better option. He was also replaced in the second half, for Eriksen.
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Bruno Fernandes was at his creative best at Old Trafford, as he found his United team-mates in space on several occasions where they could have found the back of the net. His delivery was impeccable from set pieces and open play, and the majority of United’s good moves involved him.
The Portuguese playmaker had a chance to give his side the lead with a header but could not find a way past the goalkeeper, and again in the second half when he attempted to stab home Shaw’s cross but was unsuccessful, he was the heartbeat and United would have created fewer chances without him in the side.