Manchester United strengthened their position in the Champions League group stages with a 2-0 win over Otelul Galati. The 3 points sees United go ahead of Benfica on goal difference to sit at the top of the table.
The campaign began with a shaky start with draws to Benfica and Basel, however two wins against Otelul Galati in the last two matches has put United back on track to qualify from the group stages.
Antonio Valencia tapped home to put United ahead. The match was won when late on in the second half a Wayne Rooney shot took a massive deflection from an Otelul Galati defender to fly past the goalkeeper for United’s second. United again lacked flair and creativity throughout looking fairly average, if not less, but a couple of decent plays were enough to see them take all the points here.
Amongst a team of rather disappointing performances Phil Jones, not for the first time this season, looked the most solid layer on the pitch and was most impressive.
The United defence did not have as easy a match as they might have hoped for. Otelul Galati were not for giving up without a fight and managed to have a good few knocks at the United door. Fabio Da Silva was making one of very few appearances this season and struggled to deal with most of the attacks coming down his side and could have been accused of diving into tackles too rashly. Evans and Ferdinand were fairly comfortable in the centre of defence but could have dealt with some situations better. Whilst Jones had a slight bit of trouble defensively he was the most solid of the back four and prevented the most attacks from a pressuring Otelul Galati side. Jones also used his pace well to contain the pressing team.
One reason Jones has fit so well into the United set up is his attacking tendency. Such an attacking side as United needs defenders who have the ability to attack, whether this is through their distribution or runs forward. Jones is able to flaunt both of these.
As well as looking comfortable in his defensive role Jones was also the most exciting and influential player in the United attack bombing forward on numerous occasions. It was through one of his runs forward that Jones assisted Valencia’s goal. He overlapped well on the right to take the role of the right winger, and received the ball in space giving him time to put his cross in which whipped across the face of goal before being touched in.
Jones almost created another goal when another of his runs saw him collect the ball before putting an inch perfect cross in for Javier Hernandez who uncharacteristically headed the ball over.
Jones has made the most appearances in the Manchester United team so far this season and for good reason. Since his arrival the young defender has gone from strength to strength proving to be one the most effective players so far this season, the match against Otelul Galati only added to that.