August 13, 2017
The Premier League season opener at home to West Ham United is now behind us. The journey of a thousand miles, or more specifically 38 games, begins with a single step. Nothing is determined on matchday one, but a win is a good result to take with them and build some momentum. This win in particular, by a dominant 4-0 score line, was well-earned. That can be attributed not only to the clinical nature of this United side as a whole but some stand out performers as well.
Marcus Rashford has a promising winger career
Marcus Rashford’s shocking record of five goals and one assist in 32 games last season was brought up by the commentators. It took him just one game in the new season to equal his assist tally from the previous year, and what an assist that was. Rashford was an interesting choice to start for some fans who firmly believe Martial should be a starter. The Martial argument may be heightened by the late goal he scored to make it 3-0. Nevertheless, Rashford at 19 years old has the confidence and the ability to warrant his starting role. He was also close to scoring a great goal of his own but his effort hit the post and went out.
Romelu Lukaku answers his critics
As Paul Pogba found out last season, even the best players can struggle to live up to huge price tags. Romelu Lukaku found that out the hard way in the UEFA Super Cup where he had a fair number of mistakes despite scoring United’s only goal in that match. In this game against West Ham, Lukaku went out there and executed his role perfectly. He made life hard for a decent pair of defenders in Premier League veteran Winston Reid and former Juventus player Angelo Ogbonna. He capped off his performance with the opening two goals to give United a comfortable lead. It helped that Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan provided brilliant crosses, but Lukaku is an excellent finisher and he played like one tonight. There’s no reason he can’t replicate the number of goals he scored for Everton last season.
Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba make an incredible midfield pair
Both of these midfielders are the vital pieces of the puzzle that allow for the rest of the team to fulfill their duties more easily. Not only did Nemanja Matic free up Pogba to be more attacking minded, the two took turns contributing in both sides of the pitch. Whether it was on offense or defense, they both worked hard and were reliably brilliant. Not only did they allow the team to shine, they shined themselves. Matic is proving to be a great signing already. Pogba sealed the scoring in the final minute of the second half. These two players, in particular, have me excited for what’s to come this season.
One game is a small sample size, but the difference is night and day from the previous season. This team has improved quality wise but also confidence wise as well. It’s a dream start for a new campaign. The job is anything but done on day one, so United fans are hoping to see more of the same throughout the season. A repeat performance should see a similar result next game against the Swans at the Liberty Stadium.