As expected, and this was always obvious once the travel squad was released yesterday, a far from first-choice Manchester United took to the pitch at Turk Telekom Arena to face Galatasaray. For the Turkish hosts though, this was a massive match for them and their vociferous crowd made that more apparent. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Sir Alex Ferguson opted to use midfielder Michael Carrick at center-back over youngster Scott Wootton and this likely had to due with the manager opting for an experienced partner for Phil Jones' return. Rafael was also selected again at right-back, even though United have a nine-day stretch coming up starting on Saturday where they have three Premier League fixtures. The most exciting selection by Ferguson was the inclusion of highly rated Nick Powell in the starting lineup -- the 18-year-old was tasked as the playmaker at the tip of United's midfield diamond.
All things considered, with this being a relatively young and inexperienced and with Galatasaray badly needing points in order to fulfill their ambition to advance to the knock-out stages of the UEFA Champions League, I think it could be argued United didn't play too badly. Galatasaray certainly had more chances but I don't think it would have been completely unfair had United gotten a draw. Anyway, no one really embarrassed themselves. Danny Welbeck, Nick Powell, Phil Jones, Anderson, and Anders Lindegaard were all really good in moments and the latter was superb in the 2nd half. The saves the Dane made were of the caliber we've come to expect from David de Gea. Tom Cleverley and Darren Fletcher were very reliable as well and Carrick had a mostly quiet night in the back.
The lone goal came in the 53rd minute when a Selcuk Inan corner found Burak Yilmaz for a headed finish to the top left corner. Both sides had chances from here and Lindegaard came up with at least two world-class saves in the second-half.
Overall, there really isn't too much to take away from this match and it won't be one most of us remember much about in a few weeks. Jones, though, coming back and playing solidly is a huge positive as is Powell not looking out of his depth after being in League Two just last season. 20-year-old striker and Norwegian international Joshua King made his Champions League debut as well when he came as a substitute in the 85th minute. Next up for United is a league tie versus Queens Park Rangers on Saturday at Old Trafford. Be sure to join us for full coverage and analysis of that upcoming match.