The nadir of the Red Devils’ sloppy start was a ball poached off Paul Pogba in the defensive third, which Trezeguet struck past De Gea but not past the post. A contentious pen, Bruno striking into the net with aplomb was the settler and it was an easy ride from then on. Martial’s great work in our own defensive third to shrug off Mings created a break which the starboy of the moment, Greenwood, lashed into the net with as much vim as possible. Pogba rounded off the win with a well worked corner that he curled delicately into the keeper’s left hand side.
Lukewarm Water on Rash?
The front of the team resembles a hot poker with the form coming from the representatives but one of those, Rashford, has not come back firing from after the restart. It is something that many would have expected as prior to his injury, he was in the middle of the best run of games in his life so to stop that and also have a 5 month break on top, it was always going to be a tough ask to expect him to return to what he was in those months between October and early January. The goals are not flowing like they were before but funnily enough, he is showing another side to his game, one where his creativity rather than his shooting shines through. 2 assists in the Sheffield Utd game for Martial show some of it but there are passes in build up he has played that are not the final ball that have been excellent. Tonight, the standout example of Rashford’s new side was the Wan Bissaka chance, as he chopped back into his right foot, leaving a Villa player for dead, and crossing accurately to which the aforementioned right back narrowly put past the post. It is a side of his game that has been repressed more than it should have but now with Martial through the middle & Greenwood taking on more goalscoring responsibility, it needed someone to help look to unlock pathways with Bruno Fernandes in the final third.
No change in the till
It was the fourth game in a row that Man Utd has named an unchanged line up and the consistency in it will only help with the relationships in the spacing and passing combinations. The only worry is that the team starts to flag, especially in a period where the games are coming thick and fast. The slow start today could be attributable to this fact, as you saw occasions with which Pogba and Matic were caught on the ball in dangerous areas, the former’s mistake was what lead to the Villians’ best chance , as Trezeguet struck the lower left of De Gea’s post. The penalty helped settle proceedings and the game journeyed beautifully from there but it presents a dilemma for the manager. The back up to the starting XI has shown their limitations throughout the season so the reluctance to bring in personnel of the subs bench for a starting berth is understandable. It’s a risk worth taking to continue with an XI that has United fans feeling the best they have in years but the likes of Matic especially may need a breather.