Manchester United steadily marched to a controlled and convincing 3-0 win over FC Basel in the Champions League’s group stages last night, in a performance that didn’t exactly uproot trees but showed how competent and consistent the Red Devils have become under Jose Mourinho.
And perhaps the most exciting aspect for United fans is that the victory was secured without Mourinho having to rely on his first-choice starting XI; Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind and Ashley Young – the latter quartet completing a new-look back four – all came into the side after sitting out at the weekend yet United still looked cohesive, organised and clinical in a huge testament to the vast depth at Old Trafford.
No performance highlighted that better than Young’s, the former England winger deputising for Antonio Valencia at right-back and producing an impeccable all-round display. That may seem a tad hyperbolic but the 32-year-old was truly involved in all aspects of the game, registering at least one shot, created chance, dribble, tackle, foul won, interception, clearance and cross while having the most touches of the ball of any player on the pitch and setting up Marouane Fellaini for the first goal.
And in many ways, that performance shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise; Young perfectly epitomises the wealth of experience, versatility and ability on the fringes of United’s first team squad – something that leaves them arguably better-placed than any other English side to make a strong case for themselves in Europe’s top competition this season.