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Manchester United 3-0 Nottingham Forest: Casemiro shows why he’s worth £60m with world class performance



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Credit: IMAGO / Sportimage

Manchester United returned to Premier League action on Wednesday evening, with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Fred providing the goals in a 3-0 victory.

With Erik ten Hag playing a slightly adjusted XI due to illness and therefore having to play Luke Shaw filling in at centre-back for Victor Lindelof, who was absent alongside Scott McTominay due to illness,

The opening 20 minutes of the fixture was fairly flat – with United being those in control of possession, but neither club putting in any serious chances. There were flashes of Jesse Lingard’s creativity not quite coming off, but spelling danger – however it was the Red Devils who struck first.

Christian Eriksen, Raphael Varane and Marcus Rashford pulled off a brilliant training ground routine corner for the side’s opening goal of the match.

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With Varane making a dummy run to distract Orel Mangala of the Forest defence, a brilliant low ball from Eriksen towards the penalty spot found Rashford in plenty of space to shoot home past Wayne Hennessey’s reach.

The second of the night came under two minutes later, with it only being described as a top class team-produced counter attack. Casemiro, who was brilliant all evening, make a wonderful challenge in the left-back area before the ball lands with Varane, who then found Tyrell Malacia, who turned the ball quickly to Bruno Fernandes.

As soon as the ball touched the Portuguese’s feet, Rashford was off on a run down the left, and with Bruno finding Rashford perfectly and the winger bringing the ball down, a quick Rashford-chop gave the Englishman space to find Anthony Martial, who’s first-time shot from the edge of the area skidded beyond the grasping hand of Hennessey to give United a two goal cushion.

Forest soon after thought they’d clawed one back from a free-kick routine, however after a lengthy VAR check, the goal was ruled out after Willy Boly was deemed to be offside as the ball deflected from his knee and past David de Gea.

Marcus Rashford was certainly a man possessed in the first half, being the focal point for Erik ten Hag’s attack. The first significant act of the second half was Jesse Lingard’s substitution.

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After the midfielder said he felt he never got his true goodbye from the club he spent 20 years at, he was substituted due to a hamstring problem, where he then walked past the Stretford end to a loud applause and some fans standing up in recognition for his time at Manchester United.

Just minutes later, Antony was presented with a brilliant chance to make it three on the night for United, but he finished the ball straight into the advancing Hennessey, with the Brazilian’s effort saved.

Forest had more possession in the opening 15 minutes than United, however it was United who were creating chances – and on the 60 minute mark Martial had another great chance saved by the goalkeeper’s legs.

The first substitutions for United came in the form of Alejandro Garnacho and Donny van de Beek replacing Martial and Antony, and it was these two substitutions who created the next chance for United, combining down the left before Van de Beek found Rashford in the six-yard box, who’s shot was once again saved by Hennessey.

With United’s lead looking comfortable with 15 minutes to play, Erik ten Hag sent on Fred and Harry Maguire to replace Eriksen and Varane – no doubt to preserve their bodies and minutes for the future winter schedule, which brings games thick and fast.

One final substitution saw Anthony Elanga replacing Marcus Rashford, and just minutes later, Casemiro made a world class interception before playing a perfect pass to gift Fred the third goal of the fixture, and wrapping the three points up for Manchester United.

A clean sheet, three goals and three points – Erik ten Hag could not have asked for more.