Manchester United drew 2-2 with Barcelona last night in an entertaining Europa League clash which nicely sets up the second leg at Old Trafford next week.
Remarkably, this was the first time that the two giants of European football had met competitively outside of the Champions League since the final of the 1991 European Cup Winners’ Cup, and Erik ten Hag’s men certainly proved their worth.
The game burst into life in the second half, with United taking a 2-1 lead with half an hour to go, but a Raphinha goal with just over ten minutes left was enough to secure a share of the points.
David De Gea was in fine form, making six saves and two clearances and taking 42 touches as the ever-reliable Spaniard proved his worth to Ten Hag, saving United from conceding four or five in Camp Nou.
However, there were a few underperformers for the Red Devils. Aaron Wan-Bissaka won just three duels all night while losing possession 17 times in what was a shoddy display from the defender, while Wout Weghorst delivered another poor performance in a United shirt as the subject of an unlikely experiment from Ten Hag.
How did Wout Weghorst play against Barcelona?
The Dutchman deployed his compatriot in an unfamiliar midfield role against the La Liga side. He squandered the perfect chance to open the scoring during the first half, summing up his time at the Red Devils so far.
He was given a match rating of 5/10 by The Telegraph, the lowest of anyone in United’s starting XI, while a rating of 6.3 from Sofascore justified how the bold call by the manager didn’t quite work out.
Despite playing the full game, Weghorst took just 27 touches on the night (15 fewer than De Gea) while making a paltry nine passes throughout, a return made even worse by the fact that he was playing in a deeper role than usual.
Aside from his missed chance during the first half, he had just one other shot, and his attacking input was severely limited. In spite of the result and overall team performance, the experiment clearly didn’t work as the Dutchman won just three out of 13 duels, was dribbled past on four occasions and lost possession seven times, although he did chip in with three tackles and three clearances.
The on-loan Burnley striker has struggled so far during his time at the club, scoring just once since joining last month, and he let his manager down again last night. Ten Hag’s idea of playing him out of position behind Marcus Rashford didn’t exactly work out as he intended, and a change of approach will be required when Xavi’s side visit Old Trafford next week.
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