Champions League hits and misses: Man Utd’s Andre Onana a problem for Erik ten Hag, Arsenal need wingers fit | Football News

Onana is a problem for Ten Hag

Andre Onana has cost Manchester United in two Champions League games

Erik ten Hag can point to injuries and clearly this is not his strongest side, with Manchester United trying to come up with a temporary solution at left-back. But the appetite for excuses at Old Trafford is fading when the manager’s goalkeeper is creating such uncertainty.

He was not well supported by his defence in Tuesday’s 3-2 Champions League defeat by Galatasaray. Diogo Dalot could have done better for the first goal, Victor Lindelof was caught out of position for the second and Raphael Varane was nowhere to be seen for the third. Sofyan Amrabat struggled badly in that second half.

But while doubts over Dalot and Lindelof are hardly new, and Amrabat is playing out of position on the left, Onana was supposed to be the goalkeeper to help usher in a new era at Manchester United, a man capable of bringing calm to the team in possession.

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Sanny Rudravajhala and Adam Bate discuss what went wrong for Manchester United in their Champions League defeat to Galatasaray.

He has already found himself involved in a number of hairy incidents. Against Galatasaray, he might have been more assertive for Wilfried Zaha’s goal and there was another hapless attempt to collect a cross in the second half. That seemed to affect his confidence.

It was not long afterwards that his poor pass out from the back directly led to Casemiro being sent off, shifting the momentum of the match. If David De Gea had made a mistake like that it would have been produced as evidence of his inability to play with his feet.

Onana can do it, he has demonstrated that ability, something that Ten Hag was keen to stress in the press conference after the game. But the United boss is up against it right now and needs his big players to deliver. His goalkeeper failed to do that and it proved costly.
Adam Bate

Opta stats: Man Utd 2-3 Galatasaray

Manchester United have opened a UEFA Champions League campaign with consecutive defeats for the first time.

Man Utd have lost six of their 10 matches in all competitions this season (W4). They have also conceded 18 goals in 10 matches in all competitions in 2023/24; that’s their most since at this stage since 1966-67 (20).

Galatasaray have picked up four points from their first two UEFA Champions League group matches this season – their best start to a CL campaign since 1998/99 (also 4 points).

This was Galatasaray’s first away win in the competition since 3-2 against Schalke in the last 16 in March 2013, and the first time they had scored in a UEFA Champions League away match since November 2015 against Benfica, going seven matches in the competition on the road without scoring before tonight.

Rasmus Højlund (20 years, 241 days) is the youngest player to score in his first two UEFA Champions League appearances since Erling Haaland in 2019 (19 years, 73 days), while he’s the fourth player to have scored as many as three goals in his first two UEFA Champions League appearances for Man Utd, along with Dimitar Berbatov (4), Romelu Lukaku (3) and Wayne Rooney (3).

Wilfried Zaha scored his first UEFA Champions League goal. After failing to score in his first 11 appearances against Manchester United, Zaha has now scored four goals in his last five appearances against his former side in all competitions.

Hojlund a shining light for struggling Man Utd

If there is one positive to take from Manchester United’s latest disappointment, it’s the performance of Rasmus Hojlund.

The 20-year-old was a shining light on another dismal evening for Erik ten Hag’s side. United have been missing a No 9 like him. Strength, power, determination, excellent hold-up play and clinical finishing, Hojlund put on an impressive individual show at Old Trafford.

Hojlund, signed from Atalanta for £72m this summer, was in the right place to head home Marcus Rashford’s cross early in the game and then ran from inside his own half before applying a delicate finish to put United back in front after the break. He could have had a hat-trick too but saw another composed strike correctly disallowed for offside.

Rasmus Hojlund, Manchester United
Rasmus Hojlund scored twice for Manchester United against Galatasaray at Old Trafford

The Denmark international became the youngest player to score in his first two Champions League appearances since Erling Haaland and followed Dimitar Berbatov, Romelu Lukaku and Wayne Rooney in finding the net at least three times in his first two Champions League matches for United.

Hojlund played with maturity beyond his years against Galatasaray and if his side could defend properly, this game would have been all about him. His future is bright, even if United’s immediate one is not.
Dan Sansom

Arsenal need Saka and Martinelli back

Almost everyone else can be replaced: Arsenal cannot afford to lose Bukayo Saka to injury.

Bukayo Saka waits for treatment before coming off in Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Lens
Bukayo Saka waits for treatment before coming off in Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Lens

Exactly why the England winger is so indispensable to Arsenal was seen in their defeat at Lens. As soon as Saka came off, the Gunners had a flat tyre.

Saka is the player with the most one-on-ones in the Premier League this season – he relentlessly explores those individual duels with the full-back, and averages 14 per Premier League game.

But on Tuesday night, his replacement, Fabio Vieira, attempted to get around his man only once.

It is the same on the other side: Gabriel Martinelli has similar numbers to Saka. Leandro Trossard is an adequate replacement for the Brazilian, but Sunday’s visit of Manchester City demands more than just adequate.


Mikel Arteta knows it too. “The two wingers that we are missing, they give us a lot of threat,” he said after the defeat to Lens. “And it’s different to other qualities we have in the squad.”

It feels that Arsenal’s hopes of beating Man City on Sunday could be determined by the team news…
Sam Blitz

Opta stats: lens 2-1 Arsenal

Arsenal have suffered their first ever away UEFA Champions League defeat in France in their ninth game there (W6 D2) – two of the three times they have failed to win there have come against Lens (1-1 draw in 1998, 2-1 defeat tonight).

Lens became the first team to beat Arsenal in a UEFA European match after conceding the first goal since Eintracht Frankfurt in November 2019 in a UEFA Europa League match. The Gunners were unbeaten in 17 such games since then (W14 D3).

Aged 20 years and 274 days, Elye Wahi was the youngest Frenchman to score and assist in a UEFA Champions League match since Kylian Mbappé in December 2018 for PSG vs Crvena Zvezda, when he was 19.

Adrien Thomasson netted his first goal of the season in all competitions for Lens – it was his first ever goal in major European competition on what was his first ever start in UEFA competition.

Gabriel Jesus became the third player to score in first two UEFA Champions League appearances for Arsenal, along with Marouane Chamakh in 2010 and Lukas Podolski in 2012.

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka is the only Premier League player with both five goals and five assists in all competitions this season, with Saka assisting Gabriel Jesus’ goal tonight.

Individual errors costing Arsenal

Declan Rice reacts to Arsenal conceding in Lens
Declan Rice reacts to Arsenal conceding in Lens

No Champions League games are easy, especially away from home. That’s something you hear every year and Arsenal found out the hard way against Lens at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

With the French side playing their first Champions league home game in more than 20 years, the atmosphere was hostile and raucous, but Arsenal did well to see off the early Lens storm before taking the lead through Gabriel Jesus’ strike.

The Gunners were in full control of the game and keeping the home fans quiet. That was until David Raya’s loose pass allowed Lens back into the game through Adrien Thomasson’s fine finish.

Sunday 8th October 4:00pm

Kick off 4:30pm

When asked what he can do to help his side cut out costly mistakes, Arteta said: “We want to stop everything and produce big possibilities for the team to win the game. But mistakes are part of it and errors happen in football constantly, every three or four seconds an error will happen, yours or the opponent, and we have to adapt to that.”

In the end, it proved really costly as Lens completed a superb comeback to inflict a first defeat of the season on Mikel Arteta’s side after Elye Wahi’s winning goal. An individual error also cost Arsenal in the north London derby when Jorginho was caught in possession for Heung-min Son’s equaliser, which saw Spurs rescue a point at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners, who haven’t found the fluency of last season so far this campaign, cannot afford errors. They will know they will need a near-perfect performance when the league leaders Man City come to town on Sunday.
Oliver Yew

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