MANCHESTER United took on Galatasaray in a UEFA Champions League Group H game at the Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey. Jade Manasse rates the players.
Galatasaray won an ill-tempered encounter 1-0 courtesy of a 53rd minute Burak Yilmaz header, in the process making them favourites to proceed from Group H in second place, behind United.
Having secured top spot and qualification with two games to spare, this was the first of the remaining two “dead rubbers” in the group. With this in mind Sir Alex Ferguson left a number of first choice players back in Manchester. Wayne Rooney had tonsilitis, while Robin Van Persie, Paul Scholes, David De Gea, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Ryan Giggs were rested. They were probably all grateful to avoid the trip to “hell” as the Turks like to call it.
Anders Lindegaard got a start in goal, while Ferguson surprisingly opted for Michael Carrick at centre back alongside the returning Phil Jones, with Rafael and Alexander Büttner the fullbacks. Carrick captained the side, and was the right-sided centre back, with Phil Jones to his left.
He opted for the midfield diamond with Darren Fletcher, Tom Cleverley, Anderson, and exciting youngster Nick Powell making a first European start. Fletcher played the holding role at the base, Cleverley to the right, Anderson to the left, and Nick Powell at the top of the diamond. Powell gave a Man of the Match display for England’s Under 21’s last week. Danny Welbeck and Javier “Chicharito” Hernández were the front pairing of choice.
On the bench he opted for some exciting young bucks in Joshua King, Marnick Vermijl and Larnell Cole, while forgotten man Federico Macheda was included as well.
Anders Lindegaard: Solid, if unspectacular. Made a terrific reflex save from a Felipe Melo header, only to see Yilmaz score from the ensuing cornerkick. One or two anxious moments with long range efforts. 6
Rafael: Kept his cool admirably under the circumstances, offered very little from an attacking sense, unusually so for the plucky Brazilian. He has now played 85% of all United’s minutes this season (Evra is next highest at 72%). Needs a rest soon, or may burn out or pick up an injury. 6
Michael Carrick: His best game so far in his less familiar role of centre back. Dealt with the physicality and movement of Elmander and Yilmaz very well and kept it simple in possession. 7
Phil Jones: Great to see the young lad back on the pitch, and playing 90 minutes is an added bonus for United. Came through a physical test well, and won his aerial battles. 6
Alexander Büttner: Energetic display from the feisty Dutchman. Like Rafael, kept his cool admirably and used the ball well. Was used more than Rafael was in an attacking sense, but forays forward were few and far between due to the threat of the lively Amrabat and Eboué. 7
Darren Fletcher: Decent display, as he continues his journey to full recovery and fitness. Sloppy in posession at times, although never shirked defensive duties and broke dangerous attacks up a few times. 6
Tom Cleverley: Was targetted for some unwelcome heavy handed treatment from the thuggish Melo, but kept composure, kept buzzing around and used the ball well. Maturing with each game he plays. 7
Nick Powell: Highly promising European debut for the summer signing from Crewe. The kid has a bit about him, also on the receiving end of some meaty challenges, but took it in his stride and used the ball well. Rattled the crossbar with a thumping header. One for the future. 7
Anderson: Man of the Match for United. Continuing his recent run of good displays, he was energetic, skillful, steely. Final product was a bit hit and miss, but this was a top all-round display in a hostile environment. 8
Danny Welbeck: His negatives far outweighed the few positives. Clumsy in possession at times, seemed to be unaware of teammates around him when excellent goal scoring opportunities arose. Disappointing, especially given his need for impressing with Van Persie and Rooney back in Manchester. 5
Chicharito: Buzzed around with little reward all evening. Made some great runs, only for final passes to be overhit. He was brave in the aerial duels and kept hassling and harrying the Turks’ defence into rushed clearances. Impressive. 7
Ashley Young for Anderson (73): replaced Anderson as United moved to a 4-4-2 formation but never influenced the game as intended, lost the ball the few times he had possession. 5
Federico Macheda for Nick Powell (73): Abysmal cameo from the Italian, who looks to be on his way in the winter transfer window. Joined Hernandez up front in a 4-4-2 with Welbeck (right) and Young (left) going wide, but to no avail. 4
Joshua King for Danny Welbeck (87): Too little time for the Norwegian International to be rated. Straight swap up front.