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Manchester United 3 – 0 N Forest

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Marcus Rashford scored a goal and netted another as Manchester United beat Nottingham Forest 3-0 to move a point behind fourth-placed Tottenham in the Premier League.

United’s preparations were disrupted by a virus which left Raphael Varane, who had just returned from the World Cup with France, as the only fit centre-back, with Erik ten Hag set to use left-back Luke Shaw as his sides.

But Forest rarely tested their impromptu defense and, in United’s first Premier League game since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, Rashford took center stage, sending in the opener from Christian Eriksen’s clever 19th-minute corner, then dispatching Anthony Martial for the second goal soon after. .

Forest’s Ryan Yates saw a goal ruled out for offside by VAR shortly before half-time but United were otherwise dominant and took the win when the excellent Casemiro stole possession high up the pitch and fed the replacing Fred, who hit home a powerful finish three minutes from time.

The win sees United resume their Premier League campaign in the best possible way, closing the gap to Spurs as they chase a top four finish, while Forest remain 19th, one point from safety.

Player ratings

Man Utd: De Gea (7), Wan-Bissaka (7), Varane (7), Shaw (7), Malacia (7), Casemiro (9), Eriksen (7), Fernandes (7), Antony (6), Martial ( 7), Rashford (8).

Subtitles: Van de Beek (6), Garnacho (6), Maguire (6), Elanga (n/a).

Nottingham Forest: Hennessey (7), Aurier (6), Worrall (5), Boly (6), Freuler (6), Lodi (6), Mangala (6), Yates (6), Lingard (6), Johnson (5), Awoniyi (5).

Subtitles: O’Brien (6), Surridge (6), Toffolo (6), Dennis (6), Williams (n/a).

Man of the match: Casemiro

How United got the win

The warning signs were there for Nottingham Forest from the opening minutes of the match, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Tyrell Malacia finding space on the flanks and the latter seeing a powerful effort turned onto the post by Wayne Hennessey.

The goalkeeper, replacing loanee Dean Henderson against his parent club, was lucky the shot didn’t wiggle into the net rather than the post, but United didn’t have to wait long to make the breakthrough.

Team News – Man Utd hit by virus

  • Man Utd were without Victor Lindelof and Scott McTominay due to a virus, with Harry Maguire just fit enough for the bench as Raphael Varane was sent back in defence.
  • Jesse Lingard started against his former club Nottingham Forest while Wayne Hennessey was named in goal, with Dean Henderson unable to face his parent club.

Rashford’s goal, dispatched for the first time after a pre-rehearsed corner routine, has made it five in his last eight games for United at either side of the World Cup – where he has also netted three times for the England – and then he became a supplier for Martial.

Hennessey should have done better with Martial’s feeble effort, the Wales international beaten despite his hand on the shot, but the goal capped a deft counter from the hosts which started with Casemiro winning a tackle near his own line.

Image:
Marcus Rashford celebrates with Anthony Martial at Old Trafford

United looked in complete control heading into half-time, but they had a let-down when the unmarked Yates had a goal ruled out by VAR after a free-kick, his header hitting Wily Boly in the position of offside before beating David de Gea.

Forest started the second half a little brighter but the best chances continued to fall to United, with Antony, Martial, Rashford and Casemiro all denied by Hennessey.

Willy Boly only finds the net for his effort only to be ruled out by VAR for offside
Image:
Willy Boly only finds the net for his effort only to be ruled out by VAR for offside

Forest’s best chance to pull a goal back came when Brennan Johnson’s heel kick drew a parried save from De Gea at his near post, but United sealed the win in style.

Casemiro, excellent at both ends of the pitch during the game, showed impressive vigilance to intercept a pass from Forest as they attempted to launch a counter-attack and then played into Fred, whose fine finish found the furthest corner, styling a satisfying night job for the hosts.

Fred scores Manchester United's third goal against Nottingham Forest
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Fred scores Manchester United’s third goal against Nottingham Forest

Ten Hag happy but aims for signatures

Erik ten Hag say it BBC“We didn’t concede a goal, kept a clean sheet. Happy with that because it’s still the basis to compete. We definitely could have scored more goals.

“We had some great attacks, lots of movement. When you have one-on-one with the keeper, you have to score more goals.”

On Marcus Rashford’s performance, he added: “It wasn’t just Rashford but I’m really happy with his performance once again. He’s in a really good pattern and if he keeps that pattern and that spirit, it’s good for us and good for him.”

On United’s plans for the January transfer window, he added to Amazon Prime: “We are looking for attacking players. We are looking for a striker.

“We are still in the market, but it must correspond to the sporting criteria but also to the financial criteria. We are doing what we can to bring in the players we need.”

Resurgent Rashford eyeing silverware

Marcus Rashford celebrates after opening the scoring for Manchester United against Nottingham Forest
Image:
Marcus Rashford celebrates after opening the scoring

Marcus Rashford say it BBC:I think the main thing is that I have fun and be focused and happy. I hope it can continue. I want to have a very good season this year and I hope to win a trophy with the club.

“That’s the main goal. It’s an ambition we’ve had for some time. When I came to the team, we got off to a good start, we won three or four trophies in the first two years.

“Since then we have been in a difficult period, but the only way out of it is to keep working hard and we have to keep listening to the manager and the staff, play the football they want to play and win games. If we keep improving, we will be in and around these opportunities

“I think everyone likes to play here [at Old Trafford], it is probably one of the best stadiums in the world. There are brilliant fans and when we play well it’s a great feeling, a great atmosphere. There’s not much you can compare to.”

Analysis: Casemiro transforms Man Utd

Casemiro
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Casemiro was named Player of the Match at Old Trafford

If Manchester United are to continue and clinch a top four spot, they will owe a lot to Casemiro. The Brazilian was gradually integrated into the squad after arriving from Real Madrid in the summer, but his importance is beyond doubt now.

Starting for the 13th time in 14 games for United on either side of the World Cup, he produced arguably his best performance yet in a win that put Erik ten Hag’s side just a point behind of Tottenham, fourth.

United certainly needed him given that a virus had forced the manager to field a makeshift centre-back duo of Raphael Varane, who had just returned from vacation after his World Cup heroics with France, and from left-back Luke Shaw.

But the 30-year-old shielded this duo superbly, dominating the midfield from the start of the game and helping to ensure Forest rarely came close to United’s goal.

He excelled defensively, snapping up tackles – one of which sparked the move for United’s second goal – and anticipating danger, but was equally influential at the other end of the pitch, his display complete recalling its entirety.

He almost scored with a deft chip that forced a scrambled save from Forest keeper Wayne Hennessey in the second half, and the pass to set up Fred’s late goal, following a usually clever interception, was one of three chances he created.

This kind of performance should come as no surprise, of course. Casemiro is a five-time Champions League winner for a reason. But what is essential for United is that they have adapted so quickly to the Premier League. They have lost only one of those last 13 games he has started. His role in their recent improvement is significant.

Cooper laments Forest defense

Boss of Nottingham Forest Steve Cooper said: “It was always going to be very difficult here tonight and we knew the game was going to look like it did in terms of territory and possession.

“Goals are a killer in terms of set pieces where some players clearly haven’t stuck to their responsibilities.

“And then we’re in a half-decent position in United’s box but then to give up space and territory that we’ve made. I wouldn’t say we offered the goal because they have to work for it. , but it’s frustrating with goals.

“I just felt we could have supported each other a bit more in the game. We got between the lines a couple of times in the first half but didn’t make the most of it. In the end , you have to do the most of these situations at this level.

“I’m a big proponent of looking at the process of the performance. I was more frustrated sometimes with a lack of quality sometimes up the pitch, a lack of confidence in decision-making and taking risks and supporting us. themselves.”

Rashford’s fine form – Opta stats

  • Marcus Rashford has scored 10 goals in all competitions this season for Manchester United (21 games), double his tally for the whole of last campaign (five in 32 games).
  • Anthony Martial has been directly involved in five goals in his last six Premier League appearances for Manchester United (three goals, two assists under Erik ten Hag) – one more than he managed in his previous 21 ( under Ralf Rangnick, Michael Carrick and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer).
  • Fred’s goal, assisted by Casemiro, was the first time two Brazilians had combined for a Manchester United goal in the Premier League.
  • Manchester United have kept four consecutive clean sheets at Old Trafford in the Premier League for the first time since February-June 2020.

And after?

Manchester United are far from wolves in their next Premier League game on Saturday, kicking off at 12:30 p.m.

Nottingham Forest host chelsea live of sky sports on Sunday, with a kick-off at 4:30 p.m.

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