Manchester United made it three wins in a row under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as they cruised to a 4-1 win over Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Manchester United dominated the proceedings pretty much from the get-go and took the lead just five minutes in, with Paul Pogba having to score the simplest of tap-ins following some brilliant work by Marcus Rashford on the right flank. Pogba then went on to double his and United’s tally just past the half hour mark.
This time, he was supplied by Ander Herrera, who hit a dangerous first time cross, that was converted by a thumping header from the Frenchman. 12 minutes later, the match was nearly beyond Bournemouth, as Rashford got his name on the scoresheet, stretching in to convert Anthony Martial’s cross from the right flank.
But, the visitors pulled a goal back at the stroke of half-time, as Nathan Ake evaded his marker to deny David de Gea another clean sheet, heading in from David Brooks’ cross. The second half was a much more settled affair, but Manchester United rounded off the win in the 72nd minute, as Romelu Lukaku got in on the act upon replacing Rashford.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 30, 2018
The Belgian latched on to a through pass by Pogba, before beating Asmir Begovic to make it 4-1. The win though, was dampened by Eric Bailly’s dismissal, with the Ivorian rightly sent off for a dangerous tackle on Ryan Fraser. Manchester United though, made it three wins in three under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule on his charges.
David de Gea: 6/10
Once again, de Gea had barely anything to do, doing more work with his feet than with his gloves. The Spaniard’s distribution was once again quite impressive, showing a lot of composure with the ball at his feet. Could not have done much for Ake’s goal. Another clean sheet lost, much to his frustration.
Ashley Young: 7/10
The most typical Ashley Young performance that one can expect these days. The veteran was the most open outlet for Manchester United on the right flank and won his personal battle with Diego Rico, keeping the Spaniard in check at the back as well. Made one crucial block in the second half as well, but can be called lucky for escaping an instant red for a rash challenge.
Eric Bailly: 5/10
Bailly did well enough in most of the game, putting his body on the line whenever Bournemouth crossed the ball. There were signs of rust here and there, but the Ivorian was solid for the most part, until his unnecessary lunging tackle on Ryan Fraser, which rightly ended with him seeing red. Needs to curb this side of his game.
Victor Lindelof: 7/10
Given the task to mark Callum Wilson, Lindelof excelled in his job, with the English international having no joy whatsoever in the final third. Kept a check on King at the same time as well, but was partly at fault for the goal Manchester United conceded, leaving Ake unmarked. The only blot on an otherwise solid outing.
Luke Shaw: 7/10
Jordon Ibe was a factor in only one or two moments on Sunday, with Shaw winning his personal battle on the left flank. Was an outlet for large parts of the game when moving forward, but he wasn’t involved a great deal in the attacking output. Showed a lot of urgency to win the second balls in the final third, one of his most impressive qualities.
Ander Herrera: 8/10
Herrera displayed impeccable work rate on Sunday as he was regularly involved on both ends of the pitch, making crucial interventions at the back while linking up well while moving forward. Got himself a brilliant assist with a superb first-time cross that was converted by Pogba. The Spaniard also made some enterprising runs in the final third, and is starting to come into his own.
Nemanja Matic: 8/10
The popular belief would have been that Matic would struggle to nail down a spot under Solskjaer. But, he is only improving under the tutelage of the Norwegian. The Serb was creative in his forward movement, producing some delicate chipped passes and one beautiful ball that cut right through the Bournemouth defence.
Off the ball, he is barely being overrun now, and he kept a check on Bournemouth’s danger man David Brooks with aplomb. Promising signs early on.
Paul Pogba: 10/10
Paul Pogba's game by numbers vs. Bournemouth:
100% tackles won
99 passes attempted
86 passes completed
4 shots on target
3 chances created
Another dazzling display. 💫 pic.twitter.com/sl9iR4hUqc
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 30, 2018
Mourinho’s departure and Solskjaer’s appointment has positively affected Pogba the most, with the Frenchman quite clearly enjoying his football once again. Creative passing, dribbling, defensive work rate, goals – the Manchester United talisman is doing it all and more, which is making him a fan favourite once again.
A fantastic ghosting run ended with his first goal before he rose emphatically to head in his second. He then capped off another strong performance with the assist for Lukaku’s goal, before Begovic denied him a well earned hat-trick. A player reborn and truly “unlocked”.
Jesse Lingard: 7/10
At first glance, it would look like Lingard did not do much during the game, with Pogba and Rashford getting most work done. But, it was the Englishman, whose runs into central areas and half spaces left the likes of Herrera and Young with acres of space, and time, to get the precise balls into the box. Starting to become a Raumdeuter of sorts.
Marcus Rashford: 9/10
Marcus Rashford has set a personal best for number of assists within a single Premier League campaign:
2015-16: 2 assists
2016-17: 1 assists
2017-18: 3 assists
2018-19: 6 assists
Already as many this season as in his last three campaigns combined. 🙃 pic.twitter.com/kB2Bly0k4a
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 30, 2018
Rashford has quite easily been the player of the month for Manchester United, despite Pogba’s late exploits. In the mood pretty much from the get-go, a moment of brilliance saw him get past Ake and Rico in a flash before he laid the ball for Pogba on a platter. He then got in on the act by getting his outstretched foot on to Martial’s cross.
Always looked like a big threat whenever he made his darting runs, although he was also caught offside multiple times, something he needs to address. Seemed to have picked up a groin injury, which fans would hope is only a minor one.
Marcus Rashford under Ole Gunnar Solskjær:
239 minutes played
84% pass accuracy
11 shots taken
7 fouls suffered
6 dribbles completed
5 chances created
Learning from the best. 🎓🎓🎓 pic.twitter.com/LX1guuTFkm
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 30, 2018
Anthony Martial: 7/10
With most of the attack flowing through the right flank, Martial wasn’t involved much, particularly in the first half when he had to move infield to see some action. But, he did make a telling impact by producing a beautiful outside of the boot cross for Rashford’s goal. Sacrificed for Phil Jones after Bailly’s dismissal.
Romelu Lukaku: 7/10
Just two minutes after replacing Rashford, Lukaku got his name on the scoresheet as well, latching on to Pogba’s pass, almost timing his run to perfection – he should have been pulled back for offside. But, the finish was superb, which would provide him a great deal of confidence after the kind of season he has had so far.
Andreas Pereira: N/A
On for the final 15 minutes, Pereira hoped to make an impression on Solskjaer, and was tidy on the ball.
Phil Jones: N/A
Forced into action courtesy Bailly’s foolish dismissal.