All English teams closed their participation in the group stage of the Champions League, qualifying for the Eighth Finals, but only Chelsea could not do it being first in the area. Manchester United, quietly and under the table, passed with discretion in a group that at first seemed even and difficult.
The London team suffered a severe setback in Russia: they started winning, they turned it around, they were back in front and they tied it on the last play. A match for the heart attack. The flashes were taken by Timo Werner for scoring a double, first as a fisherman in a corner and then with an exquisite movement inside the area, and assisting Romelu Lukaku for the remaining goal in an excellent team play. No Chelsea player has beaten Werner in goals from the moment the German striker joined the team (17).
The biggest problem for Thomas Tuchel’s team was seen in the first half. It was a devastating three minutes in which he did not find a glimmer of good brand or positioning whatsoever. Saúl had minutes and he really wasted them. First due to neglect in Claudinho’s tie. Second for the advance and broken by blocks that was the defense in the goal of the Iranian Sardar Azmoun. Third for the repeated lack of concentration and disorder in the last play for Magomed Ozdoev to break the agony of the Russian team. Separate paragraph for the last goal: it was a delicious volley from the Zenit midfielder at minute ¡94!
With this result and because of Juventus’ victory against Malmo, Chelsea qualified for the Round of 16 as second in Group H. The downside of this is that it will fall in the draw against Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Lille or Ajax, since Nobody can face teams from the same Federation.
Whistling Low – Ragnick’s Debut
Manchester United got a fair draw. Don’t get carried away by the almost 20 shots of the Young Boys. The 1-1 at Old Trafford came not only because of their incredible goals – first Mason Greenwood with a kind of pirouette and then Fabian Rieder with a sensational shot from outside the area – but because both goalkeepers, Dean Henderson and Guillaume Faivre, they were relentless with every rival attack.
Ralph Ragnick’s debut is analyzed beyond the result: Manchester United were already qualified and their first place in Group F was not at risk, so it was convenient to test players. In this context, Greenwood – perhaps the next darling of the German coach – was interesting, as was the performances of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Henderson, Donny van de Beek Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo, the young Ivorian star who did not play in the first team since May.
It is remarkable that Ragnick takes the time not only to watch, but also to make the club’s young talents debut in the Champions League. They had minutes Shola Shoretire (17), Zidane Iqbal (18), Charlie Savage (18) and Teden Mengi (19). He even dared to bring in the team’s third goalkeeper, 35-year veteran Tom Heaton. Things that completely paint the interim coach and future United sports director.
What are the options to face in the Round of 16? Benfica, Inter, Sporting Lisboa, Red Bull Salzburg, Atlético Madrid and the galactic PSG.