Slap bang in the middle of the titanic Barcelona clash was this game against Leicester. Prime for a slip up, United’s first half performance looked very much that the Foxes would be able to leave with something. Rashford however, with his one chance, got Man Utd ahead as he slapped it past Ward. A half time change where Sancho came on changed it as the Red Devils stepped it up. A through ball from Fred to Rashford saw him crash it past the Welsh goalkeeper once again. VAR came to our favour and adjudged Rashford onside to get his second of the game. Sancho rounded it off with a lovely combination goal that involved himself, Rashford and Bruno. A game that started difficultly ended sweetly. Old Trafford again and then Wembley next week against the Geordies. It has never been so thick and fast but that’s the way we love it.


Last week, the game changed for the better when Ten Hag made a change in the central positions. He went from Weghorst up top to the Dutchman in the 10 role and Rashford moving from the left into the number nine role. It presented Leeds with a different proposition and it was something they weren’t able to cope with. In mid week and today, Ten Hag started again with Weghorst and Rashford in the 10 and 9 positions respectively.

It worked to varying degrees, with it helping us a lot in the mid week but it left us light today. The presence of Casemiro in one game to the next cannot be overstated but also, the difference in physicality between the midfields cannot be either. Fred, Sabitzer and Weghorst is a midfield only in name. The first two prefer another that holds behind them and Weghorst is really playing in positions at the behest of where Ten Hag wants to put Rashford. Today, the lack of control made for an absolutely dreadful first half. We managed to get ahead by Sabitzer picking up a rare loose ball in the middle of the park and it allowed Bruno to find Rashford as he slotted home. Really and truly, Leicester being ahead wasn’t the real question but rather how much they should be ahead by.

The second half was completely different and it was down to one change that Ten Hag made – Sancho coming on for Garnacho. Garnacho had another one of those games he has whenever he starts in matches and with returning faces in the attack, hopefully he can return to the substitute role that he has thrived in this season.

I digress from the main point, however. The difference came more due to the introduction of Sancho. After the Forest second leg, where he also came on to good effect as a No.10, Ten Hag said that is a position that the former Dortmund man could play in and today showed exactly why. The strengths of Sancho are well known – the efficacy in his combination play, his ability to pick out passes, slow the game down when needed, making effective runs beyond the defensive line. All of these contribute to the idea that his future is as a 10 but it was against the other side of the ball – if he could wins duels, recover effectively in transition, cover gaps to help the two behind him where it brought questions of if the risk was worth the reward.

When you see the reward of today, it might be worth it because it was the best performance he has produced in a United shirt in that: the combinations where there, the little touches with Wan Bissaka after the lead had been established tantamount of that fact; the runs beyond the defence, when he was put through on goal by Weghorst and was denied by a Faes block; the ability to interchange quickly to create space, as he done with Rashford before he got the goal, the goal in which he created himself by playing the final man outside him, Bruno, who then played it back to him. It wasn’t the only action we saw to that effect, when he done the same for Weghorst’s chance that he missed. It was another effective change like last week from Ten Hag but one wonders if this one will be longer term than what was tried before.

Other Thoughts

It was touched on before a little in that the midfield found it hard to get to grips in the first half and it was mostly because Fred had another one of those games where you wonder how he even got to this level of football. It was disastrous and he was lucky that he was able to gloss it over with an assist for Rashford’s second because the fact that Ten Hag saw it fit to take him off probably suggested he knew how bad it was as well. Of course, the Brazilian has played a lot of football but it was a performance that cannot even be excused because of that. It was true hall of shame from him.

More often than not, when Bruno Fernandes has played out wide, he looks very much like a player shunted out there. Today, particularly with when Sancho came on, you saw how well he can play. When he wasn’t tasked with doing the more agricultural bits of winger work, he grew more and more into the game and came out with an excellent performance.

Last words to Marcus Rashford. What a player and what a Red Devil.