Manchester United racked up their third consecutive win in Europe with an entertaining 3-2 win over Braga at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils’ porous defence had allowed two sloppy goals in the first quarter of an hour, before Javier Hernandez’s brace and a Jonny Evans strike turned the tables for Alex Ferguson and his men.
Thus, not that the drama of the game has subsided a little, let us look at some of the things we learned.
1. Manchester United’s Defensive Woes
It’s no secret that Manchester United have a woeful backline.
Most of the defenders look out of sorts during games, the potential replacements are injured and the midfielders refuse to trackback during games.
It was the same old story against Braga and had it not been for the heroics of the attackers, Alex Ferguson could have been facing another European embarrassment.
The defensive duo of Carrick and Evans had problems to contain the oppositions’ play and I was personally shocked to see Scott Wootton not given some much-required playing time in the absence of Rio Ferdinand.
Alexander Buttner was often found out-of-position on the left-flank, however, Rafael Da Silva had a relatively effective outing on the opposite wing.
In all fairness, United can’t win silverwares this season with a defence that has become more of a laughing-stock over the past few weeks and the club should consider making some valuable transfers during the winter break.
2. Striker Dilemma
Even though United’s defence was in shambles on Tuesday night, the team’s attack was firing on all cylinders against Braga.
Both van Persie and Rooney had decent outings, whereas Javier Hernandez put in a man-of-the-match performance for the Red Devils.
Danny Welbeck was unlucky to be left out on the bench, but the Englishman has been in phenomenal lately.
Therefore, it is safe to conclude that Alex Ferguson could have a massive striker dilemma for the upcoming games, particularly for the two daunting trips to Stamford Bridge.
All the first-choice strikers look in red-hot form and it will surely be interesting to see who all will get the nod for the upcoming games and in which positions will they be deployed.
3. Shinji Kagawa Injury
Shinji Kagawa was subbed-off after the first half against Baraga, after the Japanese playmaker suffered a knee injury
Even though the extent of the injury is unknown, Kagawa could miss United’s trip to Stamford Bridge over the weekend.
In that case, Fergie will have to decide upon the formation and tactics he will use against the European champions.
Without Kagawa, the diamond-midfield formation does not look like a possibility and hence, the Red Devils could be forced to line-up in the vulnerable 4-4-2 formation that could be easily exploited by the likes of Hazard, Mata and Torres.