Manchester United provided great entertainment on Sunday evening with a fantastic end-to-end game against Tottenham Hotspur in Premier League 2. The Reds’ U23s side beat Spurs 4-2 thanks to goals from Arnau Puigmal (2), Shola Shoretire and Anthony Elanga at Leigh Sports Village.

There were good moments from new signing Facundo Pellistri as well as Lukasz Bejger, Will Fish and Alvaro Fernandez but four players in particular stood out.

Arnau Puigmal: heart of United team this season

The fulcrum of United’s U23s so far this season, Puigmal has proved to be effective in all areas of the pitch. That was certainly true against Tottenham Hotspur as the Catalan midfielder worked tirelessly to drag his team to victory.

Puigmal scored United’s second and third goals. Both finishes were cool and tidy. He was given a yard of space to work with and capitalised on both occasions just inside the penalty area.

He went off in the 84th minute as United needed fresh legs to survive the final Spurs onslaught. A chance at a hat-trick was ended with that but Puigmal has six goals in five appearances.

Shola Shoretire: small in stature but big in impact

16-year-old Shoretire looks so comfortable in under-23s football despite his small stature. His header was emphatic; unstoppable even.

 

His dribble and pass for Puigmal’s first was good and it was indicative of his whole game which was filled with bursts of speed, excellent close control and good decision-making. Shoretire is an exciting talent and has started this season well.

Hannibal Mejbri: Frenchman stays calm

Something would be amiss if Hannibal Mejbri didn’t spend half of his time crumped on the floor after a desperate late challenge from an opposition defender. The French midfielder can often be stopped in no other way. This was another excellent display from him, and one in which he appeared to control any frustration at such constant fouling.

ROCHDALE, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29:   Hannibal Mejbri of Manchester United U21 looks on during the EFL Trophy match between Rochdale and Manchester United U21 at Crown Oil Arena on September 29, 2020 in Rochdale, England. Manchester United best players in U23s win vs Spurs.
(Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images)

Mejbri appears all over the pitch, seeming to fill a role as a box-to-box midfielder, attacking midfielder and shadow striker all at once. And that’s only in the middle of the pitch. At other times he drifts onto either wing to influence the game there.

He didn’t score or assist but Mejbri was impressive. Neil Wood will be delighted with how hard his young starlet worked and how much quality he added. All that while not lashing out, something he’s been guilty of in the past.

Ethan Galbraith: consistently excellent

Galbraith is mentioned here every week. He is consistently very good and a pleasure to watch.

Even under pressure on the edge of his own box, Galbraith appears calm and looks to build United attacks. He’s the glue of the United side.

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