Manchester United move two points off the top of the Premier League with a 3-1 victory against West Ham United on Saturday evening.
It required changes in personnel, intensity and tactics to rescue United who had trailed by one goal. Goals came from Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford. Three players stood out in particular.
When Marcus Rashford is at his best, and he was on Saturday, he is absolutely unstoppable. Rashford is direct, quick and drags United forward. No matter the situation, he pushes for goal. The same can be said of Greenwood and Fernandes, but not of some of United’s other midfield and attacking options.
On this occasion, Rashford not only pushed for goal but scored one and played a part in the others. His goal was a brilliant chip and made up for a similar chance that he missed only a few minutes before.
The way Rashford carries the ball when he’s in this determined state is electric. And it’s fun to watch. A leader on the pitch on Saturday afternoon and United’s best player.
In a woeful first half, Manchester United created only three chances against West Ham. Bruno Fernandes came on at half-time and created five chances in the first 28 minutes he was on the pitch. He ended up with eight.
That’s the Bruno effect and it’s one United have been feeling since he joined in January.
If Fernandes continues to provide this effect on United, and does so for a few years, he will be considered alongside Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane and the other icons who have led United in the past.
Maguire did everything right. He has for a few weeks now. His aerial presence is vital, especially alongside Victor Lindelof. When he was signed, United fans expected Maguire to add a passing influence from deep areas. He is doing that now. He set up Rashford at one point with a lovely through ball but it was the more general, all-round presence of Maguire that was so important.
Maguire looks controlled in the United defence now. That composure spreads throughout the team.
Praise must be given to Paul Pogba, too. His goal was fantastic and it changed the game.
It’s what fans have been crying out for from the French midfielder.
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