Manchester United head into another daunting challenge in the Champions League against RB Leipzig knowing that win can hugely benefit their chances of qualifying for the knockout rounds. They played like a team on a mission and romped a sloppy Leipzig side 5-0 to take pole position to now get into the next rounds. The Red Devils started the game high in confidence and took the lead in the 21st minute after Mason Greenwood (barely) beat the offside trap to score his first-ever UCL goal in style.
The Red Devils then defended like their lives depended on it for the next 50 minutes before super-sub Marcus Rashford took advantage of Leipzig’s high line to slide through on goal before dispatching his goal easily in the 76th minute. Rashford then completed his brace in the 78th minute, gliding past Dayot Upamecano and powering the ball into the bottom corner to gain a 3-0 lead for United!
But the party didn’t end there. Rashford trifled them forward in another counter-attack around the 85th minute and the ball eventually fell to Anthony Martial in front of goal – and the Frenchman was shoved down inside the box. Martial scored the penalty with conviction, making it 4-0 ! Rashford then completed his hattrick in added time, linking up well with Martial before blasting the ball into the net – capping off a five-star performance from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Manchester United Player Ratings vs RB Leipzig
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (9.0) –
Ole takes a few risks with his lineup+formation today, not starting last week’s heroes Fernandes & Rashford as well as ditching the 3-man backline. But it worked out perfectly, as his decision to pack the midfield and funnel the wings completely nullified Leipzig’s free-flowing attacking system. Set his side up perfectly and motivated them to be more expressive to take the fight to Leipzig.
His substitutions were absolutely perfectly timed when Leipzig players were clearly worn out, with Rashford getting 3 and Bruno also assisting one. Ole once again outwits a top coach and proves his might in big games.
David de Gea (7.5) –
De Gea did well to parry out a strong shot from Nkunku minutes after United took the lead. Then makes another terrific clutch stop to deny Ibrahim Konate after the hour-mark. He preserved United’s lead with his clutch saves and was rewarded with a big win+clean sheet!
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (7.5)-
Wan-Bissaka comes up against Man City loanee Angelino today and seems amped to make it a bad day for him. Makes some brilliant tackles to deny the left-back in the first half, especially a clutch spider-like one late in the first half to avert disaster. Maintained dominance on his side, forcing Leipzig to ponder attacking through other areas and blocking a key supply chain.
Victor Lindelof (7.0) –
The Swedish defender seems unfazed at Leipzig’s high press and is moving the ball up field pretty well. He maintained his icy cool when things got tough, refusing to crumble under the pressure and frustrating Leipzig’s attackers with his sturdy defensive work. Kept things tidy at the back and maintained his swagger all night long.
Harry Maguire (7.0) –
Maguire needs to stay strong against the pacy attack of Leipzig today. Seems pretty assertive of his work today, making clean challenges and passing the ball well. He held a very strong defensive line today, making United extremely resilient to whatever was thrown at them. Looked much more confident with his movement and challenges, keeping his side motivated to get the big win.
Luke Shaw (8.0) –
Shaw was under pressure to come up with a big performance in Alex Telles’ absence and did just that. He did not let the creative Nkunku create anything down the right and absolutely nullified Leipzig’s threat down that flank. His crossing/attacking output was much better than before and looked more positive going forward too. Shaw won 7 duels, made 4 tackles and 4 interceptions in a brilliant defensive display against difficult opponents.
Fred (8.0) –
The Brazilian shined against PSG and has started this game well, forcing a strong shot from a strong shot in the 5th. Doing really well to keep Leipzig from penetrating through the middle and frustrating them with his persistent movement. Also won back possession for the move resulting in Greenwood’s goal. Some more brilliant pressing for him dispossesses Leipzig’s players and allows Rashford to score his second.
Fred then gets more involved in attack in the 85th, sending Martial through on goal to help earn his penalty. Picked up his game in the 2nd-half with better contribution going forward and his firecracker style helped dominate Leipzig’s midfielders all game long.
Nemanja Matic (6.0) –
Matic starts his first game since the Spurs nightmare but looks much more assertive with his tackles today. But he tried using his physicality too often, resulting in a few bad fouls and got him subbed after the hour-mark. Still a pretty decent show under the intense circumstances.
Paul Pogba (8.0) –
Pogba looks pumped for this game and does a stunning 360 turn in the 3rd to assert his authority. Lovely through-ball to send Greenwood through to score his goal. Comes up with another great through-ball to send Martial through minutes after the break. Looked his fittest all season and annoyed Leipzig’s midfielders with his distribution & hold-up play.
Worked extremely hard by tracking back and making better defensive contribution & showed signs of that dynamic, all-round midfielder whom United paid big bucks for.
Donny van de Beek (7.0) –
Van de Beek’s first start in the competition he loves scoring in! Seems to be having a lot of fun with the ball in his feet, showcasing some sleek trickery to go past Leipzig midfielders. Was perhaps the most active player on the pitch, making some clever runs and linking-up really well with teammates. Bit unlucky not to get a goal because he ventured into dangerous areas at regular intervals.
Anthony Martial (7.5) –
Creates a nice chance in the 9th with some great pressing to force a mistake, but his end-product is still lacking as his final pass from a promising area couldn’t find Greenwood open in front of goal. Managed to get through on goal in the 49th, but his pass couldn’t find Van de Beek that well.
He anticipated Bruno’s flicked freekick in the 70th pretty well, but couldn’t connect it properly to score. Redeems a frustrating performance by earning and slotting home his penalty late on. Then drove through the left really well before picking out Rashford for his 3rd goal. Finished the game brilliantly, but Martial needs to be more clinical in finishing off chances better to live up to expectations. Will gain confidence from the goal, though.
Mason Greenwood (7.5) –
The youngster gets his first-ever start in UCL and makes it count, making a brilliant run past Upamecano and putting a clever shot past the goalkeeper to give his side the lead. Stings the keeper’s hands with another strong shot in the 49th. Bit unlucky to be subbed after the hour-mark, but Greenwood’s impressive contribution definitely raises his chances of starting regularly from now.
Marcus Rashford (10) –
The Englishman keeps winning off and on the pitch, getting another clutch goal minutes after coming on with a brilliant run past the Leipzig defence before maintaining his cool to score in the 1v1 situation. He then doubles his delight, embarrassing Upamecano before blasting the ball into the net. Also plays a part in earning Martial’s penalty, playing a stunning ball to allow Fred to send him through on goal.
He then completes his hattrick in added time, blasting another shot from open range into the net. A 5* supersub performance from Rashy. Nobody could stop him tonight!
Scott McTominay (6.5) –
McTominay helped bring more control to United after coming in, getting into all the right areas and driving United forward. Helped add that extra bit of defensive comfort with his vibrant style and get the job done eventually.
Bruno Fernandes (7.5) –
Almost makes instant impact with a really peculiar freekick in the 70th which fell to Martial to poke in from close, but he wasn’t able to do so. Picks out a beautiful pass to assist Rashford’s goal.
Axel Tuanzebe (N/R) –
Tuanzebe must be gutted not to start, but he got some minutes on the grass where he denied Leipzig the chance to get a consolation.
Edinson Cavani (N/R) –
He did score towards the end, but it was judged offside. Needs to work on his fitness if he’s to start games anytime soon.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Rashford was absolutely perfect after coming on, capitalizing on Leipzig’s errors and punishing them with a hattrick and all-round exceptional substitute performance. He’s definitely today’s MOTM.