In a weekend where everyone around us was dropping points, there were concerns United would follow and with our away form, you wouldn’t put it past us. In the end, it should have been a statement victory with the chances we had. If not for Keylor Navas, United would have done some justice to their goal difference. Antony and Dalot were able to make sure that the three points came back up the M1 with us. In a fixture that needed to be won, that is comforting and the fact it came with a pretty resounding performance makes it all the more better.


Outside of the game just after the international break, where United looked like they hadn’t stepped off their respective planes, in terms of attacking impetus, this is perhaps the games in which United have looked the most scintillating since Ten Hag has managed Man Utd. Whereas United were reliant on more stoic ways of playing in order to get results throughout the season but with the slow reintroduction of Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial coming back into the fold, it meant that Ten Hag could perhaps let the reins off a little.

With the terrible news of Lisandro Martinez missing the rest of the season, Varane being out for a few weeks and Shaw not quite back for this game, it meant a very changed backline for United so it would have to be good attacking that would get us through the game. Usually, that has come through the brilliance of Rashford but he too was unavailable today. Then came the withdrawal of Sabitzer just before kick off so Eriksen would have to come in. In summation, it would have to be more of the same.

In fact, it was even better. Forest approach definitely played a part as they left oceans of space via an adventurous formation and aggressive press but it was still the execution that was much improved than what has been seen throughout the season. In particular, Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen were picking the ball up in the pockets to cause all amount of problems for Nottingham Forest. Since the Liverpool game, in which the Portuguese man was much maligned, Fernandes has stepped up with his performances. Not just in the game immediately after with Betis but also in the games against Brentford and Everton. His first time pass to Martial was tremendous, which eventually led to Antony’s goal. He should have had two goals, one from a header he skewed wide and another but from the intervention of Navas and the post. The first 25 minutes was hallmarked with him in the middle of the pitch by himself. As Forest tried to get to grips with that, Eriksen inched further and further forward to join him to cause them more problems. From then until Eriksen walked off to a richly deserved applause from the away section, the two were making a mockery of the City Ground. The tactics helped as Wan Bissaka and Dalot made multiple underlapping runs to add more worries for the opposition as did Martial dropping deeper to receive the ball.

It took until the 80th minute for United to finally put the game to bed and it should have been done so earlier but when you are able to constantly create as we did today, then it makes it much easier to capitalise on those moments.

Frustration x Frustration

It is weird for two players to elicit the same feeling in two different ways yet you get that from Antony and Sancho.

Antony today had a game that both made you question why such an exorbitant amount was spent on him and gave some answers as to why as well. The first half, he was his usual frustrating self. He could overdo his touches so that he concedes possession and it happened again. He played a pass into Bruno early on that was flashed across the face of goal in that time and followed in for Martial’s parried shot to put Man Utd into the lead but the second half was much better. His touches were much more assured, he varied his dribbles to go in and outside. He used his right foot(!) to which you ask how Navas was able to dissect all the on rushing players. Then there was the pass that Dalot finished ably, which we do not see enough for someone who cuts inside constantly. Only against Reading, for Casemiro’s chip, have we seen it and it also yielded a goal.

Sancho, unlike Antony, frustrates by not doing enough. Today as well you saw some of the good things he is able to do but he wasn’t able to impose himself like his compatriot on the opposite flank. He had good touches, some good interchanges, something he always finds easier with Martial, and it was something for him to grow upon. Hopefully it is something that can grow into the player we saw for all the years at Dortmund.