Manchester United held Sevilla to a bore 0-0 draw in their UEFA Champions League round-of-16 clash at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Wednesday night, with David de Gea proving he’s worth his weight in gold with a standout performance between the sticks.
Don’t miss: Manchester United hold Sevilla to scoreless draw
However, the mid-week continental clash in Spain had plenty of notable incidents and The Statesman has compiled the five major talking points for you below:
Paul Pobga dropped…again?
What is happening here?
Scott McTominay is turning out to be a composed player, but surely your club-record signing has to start big games?
After missing the FA Cup clash against Huddersfield Town due to a mystery illness, Paul Pogba was kept out of the starting XI against Sevilla despite Jose Mourinho publicly stating that the Frenchman was fit to play.
Pogba eventually came on far earlier than anticipated due to Ander Herrera’s hamstring injury, but the damage was done as United looked lost and Sevilla dominated them in midfield.
All the talk about Pogba being unable to play in a midfield pivot with Nemanja Matic seems less incredulous than before and with a massive Premier League tie with Chelsea on the horizon, Mourinho will be under pressure to start the ‘dab’ sensation against the defending champions.
A player of his stature should be able to adjust to a variety of systems, especially considering he’s still young (24), but it seems there’s more to this than meets the eye and perhaps Mourinho will lift the lid in the coming weeks.
David de Gea saves United’s bacon….for the umpteenth time
David de Gea has been United’s player of the season for almost every year since signing from Atletico Madrid and his performance in his homeland reinforced the feeling that without him, United would probably would have been embarrassed.
The Spaniard made an incredible eight saves, with two towards the end of the first-half right out of the top drawer.
Every time he plays, the United faithful must revere their faulty fax machine and it’s not a stretch to say that the Red Devils remain in contention in the tie thanks to him.
Granted, the Sevilla players were wasteful in their finishing, but de Gea’s reflexes were a sight to behold, not for the first time, and United will be thanking their stars that the custodian remains on their payroll.
But Sevilla’s profligacy may just have cost them the tie
With 24 shots, eight of which were on target, Sevilla really should have scored, at least once.
And while Stephen Nzonzi had a difficult chance, Luis Muriel should have buried his header instead of placing it relatively close to de Gea.
Prior to the game, Sevilla manager Vincnenco Montella had spoken of his side’s inability to be ruthless in front of goal and on Wednesday, it seemed like his team hadn’t heeded his warning.
Muriel, Joaquin Correa, Franco Vazquez and Pablo Sarabia all gave United’s defenders a torrid time with their smart movement on and off the ball but they had precious little to show for it at the end of the day and the Spanish outfit’s chances of progressing to the next round just dropped considerably.
Advantage Manchester United despite lack of away goal?
Mourinho may not show it, but the Portuguese tactician will be smug after setting up his United side to frustrate Sevilla and force them into a draw.
Yes, an away goal would have been the icing on the cake but the Special One will fancy his chances of progressing at Old Trafford in a few week’s time.
United boast a stellar record at the Theatre of Dreams and at this stage, it is highly unlikely that they do not make the last-eight.
With a keeper like de Gea in their corner, the Red Devils are favourites to advance and they will go for the win from kick-off in Manchester.
Sevilla will have to absorb the early pressure and try to sting their fancied opponents with a goal on the break, but after their poor home performance, the odds aren’t in their favour.
Lack of cohesion a worrying sight for United
All the talk of a Mourinho masterclass is premature for a team that have spent gazillions should not feel happy on securing a goalless draw.
Sevilla custodian Sergio Rico was a virtual spectator for the entirety of the tie, only making a routine save from a hopeful Scott McTominay shot from distance over the course of the 90 minutes.
Where was Romelu Lukaku?
Granted, the Belgian was devoid of quality service, but the one solid chance he got, he squandered by shooting high and wide.
Alexis Sanchez huffed and puffed but apart from setting up Lukaku for aforementioned chance, didn’t do much of note.
Paul Pogba had the perfect chance to fire a message of his own to the world, but failed to grab the game by the scruff of the neck as United return to Manchester without the all-important away goal.
Chelsea await on Sunday and the Blues are a step above Sevilla for sure.
Antonio Conte’s men will be harder to break down and what’s the point of the Red Devils splurging in the transfer market if they can’t score in crucial games such as these?