Benfica 0-1 Manchester United: Lessons learned as Red Devils take control of Group A

Marcus Rashford's long-range free kick was the difference as United downed the Portuguese champions

Benfica 0-1 Manchester United: Lessons learned as Red Devils take control of Group A
Manchester United's goal came in bizarre fashion at the Estadio da Luz

Manchester United secured a third successive win in the UEFA Champions League after a cagey 1-0 win over SL Benfica at the Estadio da Luz.

Marcus Rashford's speculative free-kick caught the young Benfica goalkeeper off-guard, and gifted the Red Devils the three points, to give them a commanding position in Group A.

A win against the same opponents at Old Trafford would secure qualification to the last 16 for Jose Mourinho's men on their return to the competition. 

Rashford to be a big miss

Despite scoring the winning goal in Lisbon, the English starlet limped off the field in the second half, cutting a frustrated figure as he was replaced by Anthony Martial. Rashford has contributed to a goal every 73 minutes so far this season, and has been pivotal in United's impressive and unbeaten start to the season.

 

Lindelof is ready

Despite his big money move from Benfica in the summer, Lindelof has only made one substitute appearance in the Premier League. His showings in the Champions League have been assured, and his ability to distribute the ball from the back has been a solid kickstart to attacks for the Red Devils. He's surely not far away from a starting berth on a regular basis. 

Pogba is desperately needed

The Frenchman has been missing since the first Champions League game against Basel, but has been stepping up his training recently. The lack of creativity without him in the midfield is alarming, and the way he connects the defence and the attack is unmatched in the rest of the squad.

Mkhitaryan's form is on the slide

 

The Armenian playmaker started the season in red hot form, with five assists in the opening three games. However, this form has slowed down rather considerably of late, and he put in another lacklustre display in Lisbon. Romelu Lukaku has directly suffered from this drop in creativity, in particular against Liverpool.

Matic could be the difference

Questions were asked when United paid in excess of £30 million to bring the then 29-year-old Serbian to Old Trafford in the summer, but he's turned out to be quite the coup for Mourinho. His commanding displays in defensive midfield have been extraordinary, and that was on full display on his return to former club Benfica.