Player Ratings: Rashford hat-trick hero in 5-0 thriller; Greenwood back in the zone, Pogba an inspiration, Van de Beek a top signing

Player Ratings: Rashford hat-trick hero in 5-0 thriller; Greenwood back in the zone, Pogba an inspiration, Van de Beek a top signing

Manchester United beat RB Leipzig 5-0 in the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. A late hat-trick for Marcus Rashford, who came off the bench will be the headline from the match but Mason Greenwood’s opener in the 21st minute of the match put United ahead early doors. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side continued to press their opposition with Rashford scoring a brace after just 15 minutes on the pitch with Anthony Martial winning and scoring a penalty to put United 4-0 up. Rashford then completed his hat-trick in added time. Arsenal will travel to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday – Solskjaer cannot wait for that.

United started the match in fine fettle seeking to break through and seek that early goal, which as always was elusive despite a number of chances being created in the early stages of the half. Fred has a good opportunity in front of goal for United from a good attack, sadly not hitting the back of the net with Peter Gulácsi making the save to deny the Brazilian. Four minutes later, United were on the attack again with Fred releasing Anthony Martial with the ball not reaching Mason Greenwood and cleared before reaching Paul Pogba – Martial should have done so much more with the ball there. Leipzig threatened United at times, but needed to do better themselves.

In the 21st minute of the match, United took the lead through Mason Greenwood, scoring his second goal of the season. Pogba was at the heart of the attack, driving the ball through the Leipzig defence and sliding the ball to Greenwood. The teenager then made no mistake to continue running with the ball in the box and firing low past Gulácsi into the far corner of the net. VAR looked at the goal and gave it with Greenwood onside. Leipzig had an opportunity at the other end almost immediately with David De Gea pushing Christopher Nkunku’s powerful drive over the crossbar. Dayot Upamecano then had a chance from 30-yards which was high and wide.

United’s passing was sharp against Leipzig at this stage of the match, which was perhaps the driving force behind the fact they took the early lead through Greenwood. Leipzig had another opportunity through Angelino, who was picked out near the far post. He got a volley away but Aaron Wan-Bissaka got a crucial block in with the ball looping up into the arms of De Gea. A minute later, Nemanja Matic was booked for catching Emil Forsberg with his arm whilst in possession of the ball. The Leipzig player seemed to go down pretty easy – not surprisingly. Greenwood’s goal still separated the two sides, which was his sixth goal in major European competitions.

United started well in the second half, seeking to double their lead but Leipzig were also seeking to get themselves back into the match. Benjamin Henrichs was the first Leipzig player to be booked for pulling Pogba’s shirt in the 47th minute of the match. A minute later, Nkunku was the target for Yussuf Poulsen, who had the chance to find him at the far post. However, the cross was cut out by United. At the other end, Donny van de Beek had the chance to find himself a second goal for his club but Ibrahima Konaté made a crucial intervention. There was a cry for a penalty, which was not given by VAR – it would have been a harsh one for Leipzig.

United made a double substitution in the 63rd minute of the match with Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay replacing Greenwood and Matic in the 63rd minute of the match. Solskjaer then made a third substitution in the 68th minute with Bruno Fernandes replacing Van de Beek, who had a good match for United. Rashford scored a goal, assisted by Fernandes which was flagged for offside but the United forward carried on running and buried the ball into the back of the net. He received the ball in United’s half and VAR allowed the goal. Two minutes later, he scored United’s third of the evening after capitalising from a defensive error by Leipzig.

Martial won a penalty for United in the 87th minute of the match. Rashford was on a hat-trick but he showed how unselfish he is and allowed Martial to take the penalty that he won, scoring his first goal of the season from the spot. United were 4-0 up at Old Trafford against Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League with many suggesting that this was probably the hardest match of the group. United were not finished there as Edinson Cavani found the back of the net, but he was offside but Rashford completing his hat-trick in the second minute of added time was the icing on the cake for United. On to Arsenal on Sunday in the Premier League.

1 David De Gea

Clean sheet. Made a good save to deny Leipzig in the first half and seem so much more confident in himself and his abilities at this stage of the season, which bodes well for me. Pulled off another good save with Konate’s effort threatening his goal, top draw.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

His tackling is almost perfect – his best attribute. Going forward is something that will be needed with more vigour as the season develops, but defensively, he rarely steps a foot wrong. Replaced by Tuanzebe in the 81t minute of the match.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Cleared a few chances for Leipzig and defended well, as will have been expected with Tuanzebe looking to take his place from him. Continued to do what was needed throughout the match for United and will be happy with the clean sheet in the Champions League against one of the most underrated teams in Germany.

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5 Harry Maguire

Needed to watch himself against Poulsen, who was the reason for his first yellow card for England against Denmark. Defended well and led the team positively as they heaped a lot of pressure on the German side.

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23 Luke Shaw

Defended well at left-back and got forward a lot of the time. Seemed to want to much for the victory knowing that Telles, who has not featured in the last two matches, will be seeking to make the left-back position his own.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Booked in the first half for making contact with Forsberg, who went down too easily for my liking. Could have been sent off in the second half, but the referee was not having any of it. Did what was needed in the midfield to shield the defence and keep United on top. Replaced by McTominay in the 63rd minute of the match.

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17 Fred

Had a great chance to open the scoring in the first half but forced Gulácsi to make the save, which was a shame for the Brazilian who has not scored for United in the Champions League. He played well in midfield and seems to be reaching some kind of form again, which is a good sign.

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6 Paul Pogba

Provided the assist for United’s opening goal, scored by Greenwood in the 21st minute of the match. Seemed to start finding his fitness after that coronavirus episode and the fact there was no pre-season this summer. Good to see him start to find some form. Replaced by Cavani in the 81st minute of the match.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Started his first match for United. Played well and looked lively as the more advanced midfielder at the tip of the diamond. He did not get a goal or an assist but showed what he was capable of and as Solskjaer said, he will get more than enough playing time this season. He was replaced by Fernandes in the 68th minute of the match.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Opened the scoring for United with a great finish, assisted by Pogba in the 21st minute of the match. Six goals in major European competition so far for the teenager. He was unable to double his goal tally of the evening and was replaced by Rashford in the 63rd minute of the match.

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9 Anthony Martial

Seemed to be a bit rusty but still up for breaking through the Leipzig backline, however, not doing much when he did. Has one more Premier League match to sit out before his suspension is over but will be ready to play in the Champions League again next week against Istanbul Basaksehir. Won a penalty Late win the game and Rashford let him take it, scoring 8is first goal of the season. Also provided the assist for Rashford’s third goal of the evening.

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Substitutes

10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Greenwood 63′. Hat-trick hero. He is a player in a great amount of form right now and Solskjaer has the option to rest him, which was not the case last season. When he came on, he was on fire and continued to be. From feeding underprivileged children to feeding balls into the back of the net.

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39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Matic 63′. Did his job in midfield and helped United with his energy and desire to win the ball and help United on the road to victory.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Replaced Van de Beek 68′. Got an assist in a cameo appearance for United, which shows the strength in depth in this United squad this season. Perhaps the haters can take a rest and chill for a while – the need to.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Replaced Wan-Bissaka 81′. Came on late in the match to add something in defence, giving Wan-Bissaka a chance to get some rest in before the Arsenal match on Sunday.

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7 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Pogba 81′. Scored but was offside. Looks fit enough to offer something going forward for United. The fact he can come off the bench late in the game gives United more than they had last season. Granted, he has not scored yet but there is plenty of time for that this season.

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Goals: Mason Greenwood 21′, Marcus Rashford 76′, 78′, 90+2′, Anthony Martial 87′ penalty

Assists: Paul Pogba 21′, Bruno Fernandes 76′, Anthony Martial 90+2′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka (Tuanzebe 81′), Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Matic (McTominay 63′); Fred, Pogba (Cavani 81′); Van de Beek (Fernandes 68′); Greenwood (Rashford 63′), Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Fosu-Mensah, Williams, Mengi; Mata, James; Ighalo

Bookings: Nemanja Matic 34′; Benjamin Henrichs 46′, Justin Kluivert 77′, Marcel Sabitzer 86′

Written by John Walker

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