|Manchester United celebrate one of their three goals against Brighton (Image from the Metro)|
It’s been a good few weeks for everyone associated with Manchester United. Three straight wins and a draw from four league matches with free-flowing high intensity football, the Red Devils are a joy to watch. We will look at every single Manchester United player who has been involved on the pitch after lockdown in this short article.
David De Gea – 5.5
Certainly not the ‘coming back’ he hoped for. A bad attempt at saving Bergwijn’s drilled shot potentially costing us two points in the first match against Spurs, earning angry comments from box-office pundit Roy Keane was the worst start he could have looked forward to. Another poor display to allow The Cherries to take the lead at Old Trafford, completely getting his angles wrong at the near post, points out that De Gea is not near to his best. But neat performances and two clean sheets against Sheffield United and Brighton and that beautiful save he produced from Son’s shot does enough to earn him a rating of not less than 5, but certainly not enough to go above 6.
Aaron Wan Bissaka -7.5
The first thing that every match seeing fan notices is the improvement in Bissaka’s attacking play. The right side looks more dangerous and creative with Aaron Wan Bissaka flying in dangerous low balls and crosses. He has already bettered the attacking returns from his previous season at Crystal Palace. The one thing that needs to be said is that unlike before lockdown, he is more involved in higher areas of the pitch as per Ole’s tactics, and consequently we are seeing less of Aaron’s trademark sliding tackles.
Victor Lindelof – 6
|As cold as Linda!
Victor has been average for almost the whole season. Calm and composed with steady but not eye catching performances he has been more of a silent piece in the United defence. A back issue had prompted Ole to sub him at half-time in the last match, but it was pretty much clear that he was better in the 45 minutes against Bournemouth than his partner, Harry Maguire. But that has not always been the case though. Harry Maguire seems to be the more dominant of the two. The fact that Victor can’t offer the pace that Harry lacks in his game might be nibbling at the gaffer’s mind.
Harry Maguire – 5
A cheeky nutmeg from Stanislav and that explosive run from Bergwijn sent the Manchester United No.5 back to Leicester! He had been rock solid at the back with most aerial duels won, most passes, most interceptions, most blocks for the United team before lockdown but now he is simply not at his best. The price Manchester United paid for him does no good to him too. Nonetheless, this is not how the England first choice centre-back should be performing. He performed well and did a tidy job against Brighton and Sheffield United, but you can’t afford to be nutmegged like that!
Eric Bailly – 4
One minute of his introduction, and Bournemouth gets a penalty! Calamitous.
He has not played enough to make an analysis but did enough in just 45 minutes to earn a negative review.
Luke Shaw – 7
Just like Aaron in the opposite flank, Luke is finding himself higher up the pitch involved a lot in the attack. He has still got to give his best, but he has improved a lot. The 3-4 runs he made behind the Brighton defence shows work is being done behind the scenes on the full back’s forays forward. It is also to be noted that Luke was solid in defence against Bournemouth which was not the case at Bramall Lane, where he was targeted quite a lot with Harry Maguire having to yell at him “******* switch on!”
Nemanja Matic – 8
Solid. Composed. Controlled.
From branded as a 31 year old deadwood to the fulcrum of the United midfield, he has been a revelation. Vocal enough and commanding, he has been the key to our midfield stability. The composure that he brings about to the team is far more than what his counterparts Fred and McTominay brings who are certainly good enough in their own rights. Matic can be found dropping deep in between Maguire and Lindelof to provide a functional three man defence allowing the full backs to move forward helping us to keep constant pressure on the opposition backline. What better to prove his rebirth than the quick spectacular pass to Greenwood for the counter attack against Brighton which Bruno slotted home!
Paul Pogba – 8
|Pogba showing support against Racism.|
Are we seeing a new Paul Pogba now? He looks like a man enjoying himself at the moment. His commitment has reached new levels. He was involved in more duels than any other player on the pitch against Bournemouth. Speaks volumes for itself. The introduction of a new attacking midfielder in Bruno has taken the weight of Paul’s shoulders allowing him to play his game. The best thing United officials could do now is pin the man down on a long term contract. He is that important to the team. His partnership with Bruno Fernandes has resulted in a goal involvement every 24 minutes. What a stat! “Good players can play together!”.
Bruno Fernandes – 9
The signing of the season. If there is one man who had as much of an impact as Eric Cantona then that is Bruno Fernandes. It’s too early to compare him to the King but if he keeps this up, then there is no wrong in the comparison. 4 goals and 2 assists in 4 league matches after lockdown and is building an almost perfect relationship with Paul Pogba. A leader on the pitch. Phenomenal work-ethic. And humble enough. Can there be a better Manchester United player?
Marcus Rashford – 7
Coming back from a stress fracture is never an easy task. And that is the case with the English international. He has been slowly picking up form along the way, and looks like in 2-3 game’s time, we will be seeing the old familiar Marcus Rashford. The penalty against Bournemouth should have upped his confidence and he would have had another goal to his name if not for being disallowed before being subbed off against The Cherries. He also has 2 assists to his name, both setting up Anthony Martial.
Mason Greenwood – 8.5
A talent on our hands, if carefully used can be a world beater. Left foot, right foot, nothing seems difficult to him! The power that he gets into the shot before sending it beyond helpless keepers is mind blowing. And the most important thing is – he scores when we need it the most, at the most crucial times. Against Brighton to send us into the lead, and against Bournemouth to get us back on level terms and then again to ease the pressure after that Eric Bailly blunder. The boy has done enough to oust Welshman, Daniel James from his position in the starting XI. Do we even need another proof for his high rating than 15 goals at 18 years of age for the biggest club in the world?
Anthony Martial – 9
Same as his shirt number. A solid 9. Is there something that a Man Utd supporter loves more than seeing Martial smile? And we are getting a lot of that lately. The quick interplay between Rashford and the partnership developing between him and Fernandes are two among the many reasons Martial finds himself in a purple patch. For long enough Martial has been more or less a frustrating figure for fans and manager due to his inconsistency, but Ole has turned him into a world class forward. There is not a bigger proof than the goals he scored lately. The clinical no.9 finishes against Sheffield United for a long waited Manchester United hattrick and the worldie which Ramsdale had no chance of saving. It is not too much to expect 25+ goals from the French star this season.
Daniel James, Odion Ighalo, Fred, McTominay, Brandon Williams
A standard 5 . Needs to prove themselves and offer stiff competition to the current first XI.
Andreas Pereira and Juan Mata
Hasn’t bagged enough minutes to earn a rating.