Manchester United travel to face Brighton & Hove Albion knowing that anything but a win will permanently dent their hopes of finishing in the Premier League top-four this season. They got the jobs done with a dominant 3-0 win, continuing their impressive form after the season restart. United piled the pressure right from the get-go and got their lead in the 17th-minute when Mason Greenwood burst into the area and powered in a fantastic finish.
Bruno Fernandes then made it 2-0 in the 29th minute when his shot from outside the box was deflected into the Brighton net. The Portuguese Magnifico then made it 3-0 in the 49th minute, finishing off a stunning counter-attack in style.
United took it easy after that point, pushing aside some Brighton pressure and strolling to a comfortable win which now takes them 2 points behind Chelsea and interestingly ONLY 4 POINTS behind 3rd place Leicester City!
Manchester United Player Ratings
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (7.5) –
Solskjaer thought ‘why try to fix something that ain’t broke?’ playing the same team which humbled Sheffield. It worked wonders, even though he risked playing Bruno Fernandes after the midfielder played 120 minutes in the FA Cup win over Norwich City on Saturday. He ensured United went all guns blazing, pressing hard, pushing forward and playing some attractive, passing soccer at that.
Did well to give Bruno, Pogba some rest with his subs after the game was won and the confidence United oozed off was due to OGS’ work on them. Now needs to ensure the Red Devils maintain this consistency in weeks to come.
David de Gea (7.0) –
De Gea hardly had anything to do for most of the game but showcased amazing reflexes in the 69th minute with a fantastic save from Aaron Connolly’s shot. Pulls off another stylish one-handed stop in the 76th. Deserves his clean-sheet today.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (7.0)-
Wan-Bissaka’s back to his tackling excellence, making a few perfect ones early on. Got his second assist in as many games with Greenwood’s goal. He looks more & more confident moving forward and went on a few more blazing forward runs, also putting in promising crosses. Worked hard, always moved forward and kept his wing secure with his sound defensive work.
Harry Maguire (7.0) –
The match-winner against Norwich looks really confident in defence today. Bossing the backline with assertive tackles and his bullish persona. Won nearly every header, rarely allowed Brighton players space inside the box and kept an extra layer of protection to his backline.
Victor Lindelof (6.5) –
Lindelof’s allowed to be more adventurous moving forward today because of United’s dominance, something which played a part for the first goal when his movement allowed Greenwood to burst into the box. Doing his defensive duties pretty well. Kept Connolly quiet for the most part and put in vital challenges to help his side.
Luke Shaw (7.0)–
Looks roaring with intent going forward & even put in a great cross in the 3rd minute to force an early chance. Getting in behind the defenders really well and played a part in the second goal by stretching Brighton’s defence. Shaw did a solid job defensively again and subbed after the hour-mark after working his socks off.
Nemanja Matic (7.5) –
Matic is putting his physique to good use in making important recoveries. Played a gorgeous through-ball to allow Greenwood to race forward for the third goal. Maintained his strong-hold as United’s midfield general, bullying Brighton and winning possession. Matic’s good work allows Pogba & Bruno to operate freely and he again covered well for the defenders with his assertive work.
Paul Pogba (7.5) –
Pogba is back to his demanding self once again, controlling the midfield tempo from deep. Linked well with Fernandes before playing a clever assist for his goal. Oozed confident with his crafty passing, put in a hard-working shift with sturdy defensive work and controlled the tempo. Showcased his creative genes by creating 3 chances alongside his assist & proves he’s getting better.
Bruno Fernandes (9.0) –
Bruno played 120 mins against Norwich on Saturday but shows no signs of wearing down, being proactive as always. Struck the post in the 13th after a beautiful curler from outside the box. But lady luck favors him later on, as he scored thanks to help from a deflection off a Brighton player helping his shot swoop into the net.
He needed no luck for his second, making a blistering run into the box before a stylish volley finish from close to cap off a great team move. Bruno showed no signs of fatigue, working the hardest and demanding the best. His passing, creativity might’ve been a bit off, but his goals and impactful performance prove how influential he’s been to United’s recent form.
Mason Greenwood (9.0) –
Greenwood starts his second successive game and seems beaming with energy again. Proves why he deserves to start with a fantastic step-over and beautiful finish to get his first after the break. Playing a few fancy passes with Pogba for a few clever moves.
Shows impressive awareness by perfectly picking out Bruno at the back post for his second goal. Really enjoyed terrorizing the Brighton defenders with his dangerous movement, link-up play and trickery. Deserves to start regularly after this.
Anthony Martial (5.5) –
Martial received a chance to score in the 3rd, but his reactions weren’t fast enough to get a shot in. Couldn’t tussle it out physically against the much-bigger Lewis Dunk and failed to impose him that properly in the game.
Marcus Rashford (5.5) –
Rashford seems to be linking well with Shaw on the left in the initial stages. Looks very active in the left-wing trying to get his goal. However, he just couldn’t penetrate the backline or get into promising areas as much as he’d want. Still doesn’t look fully fit and needs to brush off rustiness.
Scott McTominay (6.5) –
McTominay added more purposefulness to United’s style after coming on and drove them forward. Struck a stylish volley that almost deflected into the net in the 84th.
Andreas Pereira (5.5) –
Pereira put in a hard-working shift towards the end, but still lacked the creativity in the final third.
Brandon Williams (6.5) –
Almost got a goal instantly after coming on after popping out of nowhere to strike a header that was saved. Refused to be hassled by Brighton’s late pressure, making some terrific challenges. Played James through on goal in the 85th as well, capping off an impressive substitute performance.
Daniel James (5.5) –
James was played through on goal in the 85th but couldn’t curl one into the goal. Tried another curler but only found the keeper a minute later. His lack of accuracy proves why Greenwood has taken his position.
Odion Ighalo (N/R) –
Ighalo was not given the delivery he wanted inside the area and could’ve scored had James shown better decision-makin towards the end.
MAN OF THE MATCH
This has got to be tough one between Bruno & Greenwood, both of whom were brilliant. But I’ll give this to Greenwood, who scored a stunning goal, picked out a beautiful assist and played beyond his age with an excellent performance.