Bayer Leverkusen 0-5 Manchester United: Five lessons we learned

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By: Sam P – The Peoples Person – www.thepeoplesperson.com

Brilliant performance and qualification secure. Manchester United started the game confidently and got some nice passing moves going early on which is vital away from home. Bayer Leverkusen started to play themselves into the game but United took the lead through a swift counter attack and a smart finish from Antonio Valencia.

United continued to dominate as the half went on and made it 2-0 when Wayne Rooney’s free-kick was headed into his own net by a Leverkusen defender. It was a very strong first half especially away from home in Europe.

The second half continued in the same fashion and United threatened Leverkusen’s goal far more than they did ours. However, just before the 70th minute Rooney got his third assist as Evans poked in a rebound from his shot. Incredibly, he made it four assists when Smalling scored as the victory turned into a rout.

Unbelievably, United weren’t finished there. A sumptuous Giggs pass over the top was controlled delicately by Nani and his chipped finish was outrageously good. 5-0 away from home in Europe.

United have now qualified for the knock-out stages of the Champions League.

Shinji Kagawa as No. 10. Fans had been calling for it all season long and tonight Kagawa was given his preferred role in the No. 10 role behind Wayne Rooney. Straight from the first whistle, he signalled his intent with a delicate pass that split Leverkusen’s defence but Rooney was offside.

Kagawa was so much more comfortable in this role, you could see it in both his movement with and without the ball. For the first time, we saw him run (at pace) with the ball at a defender. It was fantastic to see.

He got stuck in, always found the space and played with far more freedom than he does on the left wing. It was a good showing from Kagawa.

Wayne’s world. Whatever has changed for Rooney this season, keep it that way. He is playing out of his skin. On a tough European away night, he grabbed four assists and was the heartbeat of United’s side tonight.

His final delivery was outstanding. Every free kick and corner was dangerous because Rooney was taking them. Leverkusen didn’t know how to defend them.

Rooney is grabbing the headlines in all of United’s games this season. Against Cardiff, he scored one and assisted the other. Tonight, he was involved in everything.

Robin van Persie may have been the catalyst to United’s season last year but so far this time around, Rooney has taken centre stage once again.

Authoritative Jones and evergreen Giggs. United put out a centre back and a 39-year-old as the central midfield pairing away from home against a side who have won all eight of their Champions League games at home. The signs before the game looked ominous but the performance couldn’t have been more different.

Jones was a boss in his typical fashion in the middle and gave Leverkusen very little time on the ball but even though Jones played well, he was overshadowed by the incredible Giggs.

There is no way he is past it yet. His performance against Leverkusen proved that. It is remarkable that Giggs can do what he does aged 39 against the second best team in the Bundesliga. The pace of European football suits him as there isn’t so much energy and movement required in the middle which allows him to control the game like he does so well.

On a night many expected our midfield to be overrun, Giggs and Jones played fantastic.

Best performance of the season. To win away from home in the Champions League at home is always good. To beat the second best German side away from home is fantastic. To win 5-0 against them is almost unimaginable. United were absolutely indomitable.

That was stunning. It was our biggest away win ever in the Champions League.

David Moyes may have struggled with the Premier League so far this year but in Europe, we have looked very assured.