David De Gea: 4/10
Manchester United’s problems didn’t stem from their goalkeeper today, but he did switch off at a key moment of the match to concede the third, and ultimately decisive goal. Poor communication between De Gea and Maguire allowed a cross to arrive unchallenged, and by the time the Spaniard reacted the ball was already moving past him. Poor organization across the defense throughout proved costly, and De Gea was not the only culprit, but as no. 1 must take better charge.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 3/10
Possibly AWB’s worst game since arriving at Old Trafford. From the start he was stretched out far too much on the right hand side, and Angelino cooked him. Additionally he made poor errors on the ball and contributed nothing going forward.
Victor Lindelöf: 3/10
Lindelof and the rest of the defense could not stay organized. With the way United set up on the left it was crucial that Lindelof maintain a presence toward the right to aid Wan-Bissaka. Both players were stretched thin and it proved costly.
Harry Maguire: 3/10
Maguire had as equally woeful a night in defense as everyone else in the side. Poor organization, caught chasing, and bad communication. As captain especially the organization and communication needs to be better.
Luke Shaw: 3/10
Not a great game to return from injury, as the third member of a sluggish back 3, Ole’s disastrous overcompensation of a defense. Shaw was caught way out of position on the second goal, though Telles should do better to cover. All around a bad show from the defense.
Alex Telles: 2/10
Telles was the second of the two left backs on the pitch, but was arguably the worst. Directionless for much of the game, poor communication with Shaw and the rest of the defense, and weak defending on the second goal.
Scott McTominay: 4/10
Part of a midfield partnership with Nemanja Matic that was as equally unorganized as the back 3 they played in front of in the first half. McTominay was poor at moving the ball forward most of all, and was overwhelmed in midfield by a quick and direct RB team. Grew into the game, but still didn’t provide much momentum or cover.
Nemanja Matic: 4/10
Like McTominay, struggled mightily early on but grew into the game a bit. Offered more security in possession than McTominay, and maybe should’ve stayed on instead, but didn’t offer nearly as much energy. His lack of pace and poor defensive cover did not suit the equally sluggish and disorganized back 3.
Bruno Fernandes: 6/10
Looked crushed in the first half. Poor giveaways stuck out much more down 2-0 than they do when he’s on one, which is most of the time it feels like, but he still provided and got chances going for United. Nearly converted a free kick down 0-2 that would have changed the game. Converted a late penalty.
Marcus Rashford: 5/10
Encouraging performance, but without an end result. He and Greenwood were cut off early by the tidal wave of momentum RB Leipzig gave themselves early, but didn’t offer enough to get United back in earlier than they did.
Mason Greenwood: 5/10
Missed on a very good opportunity in the first half. Won a penalty.
Donny van de Beek: 5/10
Like Pogba, probably should have started. Didn’t make a difference, but was a better contributor than most of the players that started.
Paul Pogba: 7/10
Instant impact from Pogba. Forced (scored?) a crucial second goal for United, and played fantastic forward passes as they pushed for the equalizer.
Brandon Williams: 5/10
Good energy, won a good free kick opportunity.
Axel Tuanzebe: N/A
Scary at times in defense as a curious late addition.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah: N/A
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: 1/10
Solskjaer got everything wrong with the set up. The conservative formation was a disaster, and the defense was especially spread thin for a position group that had 5 outfield players in it. Overloading the left did nothing to slow down Leipzig on that side, and it spread out Lindelof and Wan-Bissaka perfectly for them to play the ball across the field and create each of their goals from that side. The conservative defense was paired with a conservative and slow midfield pairing that cut off Bruno, Rashford, and Greenwood.
Solskjaer made good adjustments in the second half, but it doesn’t matter much when you’re already down 0-2 and concede yet another stupid goal for 0-3. Things that Solskjaer was in control of proved detrimental to United today, and gave him potentially one of the worst losses of his managerial career. United had to win or draw and showed nothing to suggest they were prepared to do either. Now it’s back to the Europa League, and if not for a string of comeback wins in the Premier League this may have been the end for Solskjaer.
He said after the game: “You can’t sit back and hope for a 0-0 draw. That’s not in our genes, it’s not in the team’s genes, it’s not in the club’s genes, we want to go out there and win a game.”
And yet he played a parked bus formation that broke down immediately after kick-off. Nothing is more symbolic of Ole’s time as manager than the last four matches have been. The lows are so low, and even the comeback wins are matches that leave us puzzled with some of his decisions. United are a better team than when Ole walked through the door, yet here we are still questioning what we’ll see and how each match will play out. Europa League football does not suit the talent at the club, but it certainly suits the performances.