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Having had a draw at West Brom just a few days ago, Manchester United needed a big response on Thursday night.
And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did exactly that, as his team got off to a perfect start in the Europa League round of 16 when the Red Devils beat Real Sociedad 4-0 in Turin.
It was the first of two games for United in the knockout stage of the competition and they passed the test with flying colors.
Bruno Fernandes took advantage of a sloppy Society defense to score the first goal before the Portugal international doubled his lead with a good shot from outside the area for a second that survived a VAR scare after he was initially scored from outside. of game.
Who was YOUR MOTM for Manchester United vs Real Sociedad?
This had all the potential to be a banana peel for United. The Society has seen a rebound in their form in recent weeks, but the Red Devils foiled their efforts from start to finish.
Much of that was due to Eric Bailly. Harry Maguire could have worn the captain’s armband on the night, but it was his teammate center-back who led from behind, making some last-minute tackles to deny the Society any clear real chance to score. Made a high match Eight punts, which is the most of any player on the field, and at least three more than Maguire, who could only handle five.
He also won 75% of their duels, winning every just one of his individual battles in the air. For context, of the entire United team, none of his teammates came close to matching Bailly in that department, and Maguire only managed to win. Three of the seven possible duels.
Such was his dominance that Society striker Alexander Isak endured a night to forget at Allianz Stadium. The Swedish international has scored nine goals in 19 La Liga games this season, but was limited to one shot on goal.
He also missed one great opportunity and could not offer a great threat in the future, as he did not win a single duel of four Attempts. This was thanks in large part to Bailly, as he made a huge defensive change that will have left Solskjaer on his feet and taking notice.
In the absence of Victor Lindelof, Bailly stepped up to the plate once again to put on a monstrous performance for Solskjaer’s team on Thursday night.
And in other news, Woodward should prioritize hiring Jules Kounde from Man Utd in the summer …