The group stages of the World Cup is finally over and what a fortnight it has been. With inexplicable results and tons of surprises, this World Cup seems to be one of the most unpredictable ones. Iran almost knocking Portugal out, Nigeria almost knocking Argentina out, and South Korea knocking Germany out, were somethings bookies never saw coming. Very few groups were open and shut, most others were just a roller-coster ride.
Apart from all of this, the Manchester United boys have done a great job at the World Cup so far. So here we will be analyzing the performances of all the Manchester United players who are currently representing their countries in Russia.
Starting from the back:
|Image from: Daily Express|
1.) David De Gea
The world’s best goalkeeper started the campaign in the worst possible manner. He conceded three goals including one caused by an individual error in their opening game against Portugal. He was back to his best keeping a clean sheet against Iran. However in the last game against Morocco, he conceded two goals but still managed to top the group.
This World Cup has been full of criticism for Dave but these few games can not take anything away from the fact that he is a world class goalkeeper. Hopefully this makes him realize that this might be his life if he moves to Real Madrid and signs that contract extension soon!
2.) Phil Jones
Phil Jones’ England have done a great job this world cup. However our king of facial expressions has played only one game for the Three Lions. He started for them against Belgium when Gareth Southgate decided to play a second string side. Unfortunately for him, he could not keep a clean sheet owing to Adnan Januzaj’s screamer of a goal.
England have had a great start to the campaign and John Stones’ current form means that Jones is unlikely to start in the remaining fixtures. This does not come as a surprise. He’ll probably be subbed on while defending a lead.
3.) Marcos Rojo
Marcos Rojo single handedly shocked the entire Manchester United fan base by scoring the winning goal against Nigeria to take Argentina to the Round of 16. His effort was a sweet half volley that went straight to the bottom corner of the far post. We at Old Trafford have never seen this side of Rojo.
Rojo did not play in the 3-0 defeat to Croatia but started in the 1-1 draw to Iceland. This man happened to provide an assist in that game for Aguero to score the opening goal. Marcos Rojo is having a great world cup and I really hope he continues this form for us at United as well. We really need a good centre back and a left back and Rojo can play both those roles.
4.) Victor Lindelof
Lindelof, the man I have the highest expectations from, has done very well for himself. He missed their opening game against South Korea due to an illness. However, he returned immediately for the second game against Germany which they were unfortunate to lose. In the third game against the group leaders Mexico, Lindelof kept a clean sheet and Sweden won 3-0. That meant Sweden topped a group with Germany, Mexico, and South Korea.
Lindelof and Granqvist formed a formidable partnership at the back and penetrating the Swedish defence was not easy. As I have mentioned before, on Twitter and on this blog, that Lindelof has plenty of potential and I want to see him starting regularly in the Premier League next season. This World Cup proved my point.
5.) Ashley Young
After Jose Mourinho prolonged his career, Ashley Young has not only been selected for the England squad but also played 180 out of 270 minutes. Young plays as a left wing back as opposed to the left back role at United.
Ashley Young has been involved in both of England’s wins and seems to be a first choice in Gareth Southgate’s plans. Despite having a left back like Rose in the squad, Young has been given the nod to start in all the big and important games. As happy I am for him, I’m afraid that will become a trend at Manchester United as well.
6.) Nemanja Matic
Matic is the only player in this list that hasn’t qualified for the round of 16. However, that isn’t down to him. The Serbs had trouble finding the final ball. With Milinkovic-Savic playing for the photographers and Mitrovic lacking a decent touch, the goals were scarce for Serbia. And when the going got tough, they could not get themselves going.
Anyway, I’m not too gutted about that because Matic was our most over-used player last season and he could do with some rest.
7.) Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba’s true value to the French side was observed when the Les Bleus played Denmark in the tepid 0-0 draw. There was no creativity or linkup. If Kante had been benched as well, France wouldn’t have a midfield. Pogba has been playing in the centre of the park for France and I feel he has been an indispensable part for them.
Pogba scored the winning goal against Australia in their opening match of the World Cup but unfortunately the goal was not credited to him. The goal ended up being an own goal but Pogba was the architect and without him, France would have had to take the third game seriously as well.
8.) Marouane Fellaini
Fellaini was a bench player for Roberto Martinez after getting selected over Radja Nainggolan. He has played only one game for Belgium which was the 1-0 win over England. After the “huge announcement” that he would be continuing at United after holding the club to ransom, I hope he continues being a benched player and a plan B even for Manchester United.
9.) Jesse Lingard
Messi Lingardinho. What a man. From getting cussed at by United fans to wearing the number 7 for England, it has been a great journey and he has Jose Mourinho to thank. After an underwhelming performance against Tunisia, he scored an absolute screamer against Panama.
His one-two movement is very well executed. I still don’t know if he should be a regular starter at right wing. However, judging by the way the window is going, I doubt we are going to sign a right winger. We’ll be lucky if we sign a centre back and a left back.
10.) Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford has been a second string for the Three Lions after am average season at united. He played 90 mins against Belgium and missed a one on one against Courtois. Much like Jones, Rashford will be brought on only when England need attacking options while chasing a guy in the final minutes. We can only hope he pulls up his socks in the new season.
11.) Romelu Lukaku
The man of the moment! Big Rom has had the best World Cup of any United player so far. He is in the running for top scorer with four goals so far. His finishes have been clinical and he has grabbed the opportunities presented to him.
Apart from his goals, he has come out as a proper leader figure for Belgium. I am very excited for Lukaku and what he’ll bring to the team next season. I see him scoring more than 30 goals next season if he carries on with this momentum.
So those were the Reds at the World Cup. In this unpredictable tournament, I hope some United player emerges successful. If not, I hope they get plenty of rest before the new season, so that’s a win-win for us. Hopefully we announce new signings soon and thus boost the morale of the squad. So that’s all for now, until next time… GGMU!