Luke Shaw will be looking over his shoulder – A man of the match performance from 19-year-old Brandon Williams could well have injury-plagued Luke Shaw fearing that his place in the starting XI is seriously under threat. An appearance that belied his teenage years, Williams looked composed at the back, and even better going forward, with his buccaneering run winning United the spot kick, which ultimately turned out to be the winner. Fans on social media have already been calling for Williams to start at the weekend against Norwich, with some joking that Shaw ‘should be sold on Gumtree’. Solskjaer will have an ostensibly tough decision to make on Sunday, does he go with the in-form man, or the more experienced Ashley Young (sigh).
We might never score more than once in a game ever again – Ok, so this is a little tongue-in-cheek, but my God it’s been a while hasn’t it? Not since the opening day demolition job on Chelsea have United managed to score at least a brace in a game. With zero, yes ZERO shots on target from open play away in Europe this season, these smash-and-grab, lacklustre performances might well become a common theme for United this term. Anthony Martial’s reintroduction into the side will hopefully go some way in changing this monotonous narrative.
James Garner shows promise – Whilst he may not necessarily have set the world alight on his full debut, Garner looked composed in the middle of the park. Had a few nervy moments to start the game, as was to be expected, but settled in as the contest wore on and can be proud of his performance. Hopefully he can kick on from here and garner (pun intended) the minutes this campaign to start flourishing.
Lack of creativity still a problem – Make that a MAJOR problem. United still lack any semblance of attacking fluidity, and too often in games it is hard to identify just what Solskjaer’s gameplan is exactly. With McTominay and Garner both being predominantly defensively minded, it was left to a woefully out of form Jesse Lingard, and a past his prime Juan Mata, to provide the creative spark that would carve openings through Partizan’s back-line. Both failed to deliver. United desperately need Paul Pogba back, as well as reinforcements in the transfer window. I still find myself daydreaming about Bruno Fernandes..
A more clinical Partizan side would have left United still searching for a first away win since March – 15 shots to 5. 9 corners to 2. You would be forgiven for thinking that these stats were in United’s favour. Instead, it was the home side that had the most attempts. Only 2 of those 15 shots ended up hitting their target however, and Partizan were wasteful on set-pieces. Misplaced United passes led to sluggish and disjointed counter-attacks and whilst Romero didn’t have a quiet night at the office, he certainly wasn’t put in any real danger for sustained periods of the game. Had Partizan taken their chances, United would have been lucky to escape Belgrade with a point.