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5 talking points as Man Utd ease in Europa League semi-finals with Granada win


Manchester United eased in the semi-finals of the Europa League once more with a comfortable win over Granada at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils had one foot in the last four courtesy of their 2-0 win in Spain last week, a game in which their opponents offered little.

Granada put in an improved showing in Manchester, but Edinson Cavani’s early goal all but put the tie to bed. The Uruguayan finishing smartly with his left foot after Paul Pogba had flicked on.

United continued to control the pace of the game with Jesús Vallejo putting through his own net in injury time.

A semi-final against Roma now separates them from a place in the final.

Here are five talking points from Old Trafford.



Edinson Cavani opened the scoring
Edinson Cavani opened the scoring

1. Semi-final – take 5

We find ourselves at that crossroad again – and this time Solskjaer can’t come up with excuses.

Progress has undoubtedly been made at Old Trafford this season, but failure to make a final will be a black mark given the opportunity that lies ahead.

Manchester City have twice beaten United in a semi-final whilst Chelsea and Sevilla have also done so.

United cannot continue to ride the “we are growing” narrative – they’ve had four attempts at winning a semi-final and fallen short every time.

If they fail for a fifth time people will justifiably ask if they are learning from their failures.

2. Ole learns his lesson

In a decisive Champions League game against PSG earlier this season Solskjaer chose to leave Fred on the pitch when he was on a booking.

The inevitable happened and the Brazilian was dismissed in a match United went on to lose.

Tonight there was a sense of deja vu as Pogba picked up an early booking against the Spanish side.

Of course they did their best to aggravate the midfielder, but Solskjaer was wise enough to haul the Frenchman off at half-time ensuring there would be no repeat.



Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has led his side to another semi-final
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has led his side to another semi-final

3. Cavani’s half century

Cavani scored his 50th European goal when he bagged the opener for the hosts.

It follows on from his goal against Tottenham at the weekend as the forward continues to underline his quality.

Questions were asked when United signed the 34-year-old, but there is now a huge demand to see him stay.

Cavani himself has been linked with a return to South America which would be a blow to Solskjaer.

The Uruguayan this year has shown just how much this United side benefit from a natural centre forward in their starting XI.

4. A squad game

A commanding first-leg win gave Solskjaer the chance to shuffle the pack – and one he’ll have been very grateful for.

The likes of Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford were all given the night off. Bruno Fernandes played, but then again, when doesn’t he.

Donny van de Beek, Juan Mata, Dan James, Alex Telles, Amad and Axel Tuanzebe were all given run outs at Old Trafford.

United are looking to consolidate second place and will now have to factor in an all important semi-final in the coming weeks.

5. De Gea’s bleak future

Every player wants to start games, but when your opportunities are coming in cup games rather than the league it doesn’t always paint a brilliant picture.

David de Gea started the season as No 1 so Dean Henderson’s opportunities came in the various cup competitions.

Now though the pair look to have swapped roles which is reflective of the changes in the pecking order at United.

De Gea’s future remains in doubt as Henderson continues to perform in between the sticks meaning a big decision could be taken this summer.





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