A positive second half secured three points for Manchester United after a torrid first half display at home to Newcastle United on Sunday evening in the Premier League.

Four players stood out for the Reds.

Luke Shaw

No defender has created more chances in the Premier League this season than Luke Shaw. The five he created against Newcastle should have earned him a couple of assists. Shaw’s improvement this season has been marked and he is now United’s most consistent performer.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21: Luke Shaw of Manchester United in action with Joelinton of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford on February 21, 2021 in Manchester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors.
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

The arrival of Alex Telles might have pushed Shaw on to improve certain areas of the game. But the truth is that Shaw can also play at 100% every game now, because he knows Alex Telles can come in to play the next one. That’s a healthy relationship and any doubts about the future of that left-back position have evaporated completely now.

Bruno Fernandes

It was no vintage display from Fernandes but it hasn’t been for weeks now. He still provides every time, though. The Portuguese has contributed 40 goals (23 goals and 17 assists) in only 39 Premier League games.

He’s made more assists than any other player in the competition since he signed for United. In fairness, his assist was hardly inspirational and his goal was a penalty but the impact of a brilliant penalty taker should never be underrated. United know that when they get a penalty, Fernandes will score it.

 

Dan James

“He’s knuckled down and really worked to get back to full fitness and mainly get the confidence to believe in himself,” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said of Dan James to BT Sport.

James is proving the ideal squad player for United and for Solskjaer. Three goals in his last three games is a good record, six goals in 12 games for the season is an even better demonstration of his usefulness to the side.

The Welshman offers pace in his attacking and defending, effort in everything he does and is finishing at a decent level.

Marcus Rashford

Rashford’s goal was outstanding. A nutmeg followed by a powerful near-post finish was beautiful to watch and came in a half in which Rashford’s teammates massively underwhelmed.

His overall performance was good. He and James dragged Newcastle apart while Anthony Martial strolled about in the centre. Rashford’s in good form with four goals and four assists in his last nine.

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