This didn’t seem that difficult. Go into Wolfsburg, get out with at least a draw, and guarantee a spot in the Champions League knockout rounds. Instead, Manchester United couldn’t hold onto their early lead and have been bounced from the competition and into the Europa League.
Wolfsburg were surprisingly dominant all day. Martial did give United the opening goal 10 minutes in, but even then Wolfsburg were creating better chances. The home team broke the tie in the 29th minute, United had an equalizer ruled out a little later, and while the visitors had hope after an own goal in the 82nd leveled things up, Wolfsburg got the winner two minutes later. If it wasn’t for David De Gea, United probably would’ve lost by an even larger margin:
By the end of the game Wolfsburg had 55 percent of the possession and outshot United 16 to 10.
Although United haven’t exactly wowed anyone with their performances this season, this loss isn’t really indicative of their season, making it all the stranger. Louis van Gaal’s careful, rigid possession game usually has the Red Devils controlling the ball for the majority of the match, which usually results in a solid defensive performance if not an brilliant attacking one. Losing the possession battle and seeing their defense carved up so regularly isn’t usually how Man Utd drop points. The Red Devils weren’t themselves today, and now they have to go slum it in the Europa League. And while we normally don’t pay all that much attention to Europe’s lesser club tournament, we’d definitely tune in for a potential Man U-Arsenal final.
Photo via AP