Manchester United gave their fans something to cheer about after their recent transfer debacle by marking their return to Premier League action with a commanding 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest.
The game had gained significance due to the fact that this was the first league game since Cristiano Ronaldo’s acrimonious departure and following the news of Liverpool’s capture of long-term Erik ten Hag target Cody Gakpo.
Important for strikers to deliver
And it was a great start as both attackers got on the scoresheet, with the England international scoring a superb opener from a cleverly worked corner routine.
What was great to see was the confidence with which Rashford dispatched the chance, not opting for power, something he has been guilty of doing when under pressure.
He cushioned the ball past the helpless Wayne Hennessey to hand the hosts the advantage.
Marcus Rashford has scored in 5 straight games at Old Trafford and has more goals than he had in all of last season 🤩
What a turnaround 👏 pic.twitter.com/uH30IL3u1I
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 27, 2022
The second goal was a team effort, started by the best player on the pitch Casemiro. His tackle saw Bruno Fernandes receive the ball and his lofted ball was expertly controlled by the goalscorer.
His perfectly weighted lay-off was finished first time by Martial and the goal will give him a lot of confidence after the difficult start he has had to endure due to injury.
The Frenchman has a great goals-to-minute ratio and the manager had revealed that the United No 9 could prove to be the difference-maker if he were to stay fit.
Can United as a team now make the difference?
There were familiar touches of profligacy as Antony, Martial and Rashford all missed chances to extend United’s lead. The Red Devils had 17 shots with eight on target.
Fred eventually got the third, something the hosts deserved with the amount of pressure they put the Forest team under.
There have been reports that only loan signings will be sanctioned in January due to the state of the club’s finances and in that case, the new team spirit under Ten Hag will be hugely important.
If all the players keep putting in their all, and if the two forwards manage to keep up their form, Ten Hag can still keep dreaming off a top-four finish.
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