Looking to lay down a marker at Old Trafford on their Premier League return, Manchester United cruised their way to a 3-0 romp against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.
With their sights firmly set on securing a Champions League return this season, Erik ten Hag’s men put in a stellar display on home soil as goals from Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Fred wrapped up all three points.
Now sat just a single point adrift of breaking into the top-four, United really couldn’t have wished for a better display as they marked their return from the World Cup’s festive break.
Continuing to impress after their worrying start to the 2022/23 campaign, the former Ajax boss has now seen his side suffer just a single Premier League defeat since October 2nd.
Pilling more pressure onto a Nottingham Forest squad who find themselves at the heart of a relegation scrap, we have taken a look at the main talking points.
United set for a blockbuster 2023?
While Manchester United might have gotten ten Hag’s tenure off to a downbeat start as they suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats, the English heavyweights have bounced back in some style.
Heading into the World Cup’s festive break with a last-gasp 2-1 victory away at Fulham, Tuesday’s hosts have now collected nine points from their last four top-flight outings.
Tasting a Premier League defeat just once since the start of October and really catching the eye with their free-scoring display here, fans around Old Trafford are demanding a top-four finish in the New Year.
With the mood in their camp appearing to be at a real high, the Red Devils have also continued to gain a reputation for their extended purple patch on home soil.
Including Tuesday’s 3-0 romp, United have now taken 16 points from just their last six Premier League showdowns at Old Trafford – a run that stems back to August 7th.
Watching on as Tottenham had to settle for a 2-2 draw away at Brentford on Boxing Day, ten Hag’s side should be feeling like they’re sat in pole position to clinch a Champions League return.
Rashford extends on his purple patch
With it announced during the World Cup break that Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo had finally completed their messy divorce, fans around Old Trafford were wondering who would be ten Hag’s leading man during the second-half of the season.
Although the former Premier League champions might still be looking to bring in some attacking reinforcements during the January transfer window, the ex-Ajax boss will be hugely excited by Rashford’s extended purple patch on either side of the interval.
Gaining plenty of praise while away with England out in Qatar after bagging three World Cup strikes, United’s homegrown star appears to be back to his best and caused Forest’s leaky defence a string of issues on Tuesday night.
Opening the scoring after just 19 minutes and producing a sublime assist for Martial’s second goal just a few minutes later, it is no surprise why the 25-year-old has been linked with a potential move to French giants PSG over recent weeks.
Getting on the scoresheet as United claimed a 2-0 victory against Championship high-flyers Burnley in the EFL Cup last week, Rashford has only continued to prove that he can be ten Hag’s attacking MVP in their bid to clinch a Champions League return.
Cooper’s away day headache
Although Nottingham Forest might have extended on their own EFL Cup adventure last week as they claimed a 4-1 romp away at Blackburn, Steve Cooper’s side would have known that they faced a real test on Tuesday night.
While Willy Boly might have seen his first-half effort eventually ruled out by VAR following a lengthy check, the Premier League returners failed to lay much of a blow on the top-four contenders.
Despite heading into the World Cup’s winter break with a much-welcomed 1-0 victory at home against Crystal Palace, the former Swansea boss still finds his side at the heart of a relegation scrap.
Shocking many as they welcomed over 20 new arrivals to the City Ground during the summer, Forest are still yet to claim back-to-back Premier League victories since making their top-flight return.
Still sat way down in 19th and many feeling that they face an uphill struggle in 2023, Tuesday’s guests have also continued to show some rather glaring issues on the road.
In fact, including their 3-0 drumming here, Forest have collected just a pair of points from their eight Premier League away showdowns so far this season.
Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Shaw, Malacia, Casemiro, Eriksen, Antony, Fernandes, Rashford, Martial
Subs: Maguire, Fred, Garnacho, Elanga, van de Beek
Nottingham Forest: Hennessey, Aurier, Worrall, Boly, Lodi, Mangala, Freuler, Yates, Johnson, Lingard, Awoniyi
Subs: Dennis, Surridge, Toffolo, O’Brien, Williams
Goals: Rashford 19′, Martial 22′, Fred 87′
Yellow Cards: Manchester United: Malacia, Eriksen – Nottingham Forest: Mangala
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Anthony Taylor
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