Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba were nothing short of phenomenal as Manchester United cruised to a 5-1 win over Leeds United on Saturday.
Manchester United were on the money right from the early exchanges, with Scott McTominay nearly doing a repeat of the corresponding fixture last season when sent through on goal by Bruno Fernandes. The Red Devils ought to have taken the lead in the first quarter of an hour but instead had to wait till the half-hour mark to break the deadlock, through a peach of a strike.
It was Bruno Fernandes who gave Manchester United the lead after receiving a first-time pass from Paul Pogba before rifling the ball into the Leeds goal. Leeds did pose some threat but were safely negotiated for the most part, apart from the moment when Luke Ayling pulled the Whites back on level term with a brilliant long-range effort.
However, that was as good as it got for Leeds, who were comprehensively beaten by the time the full-time whistle blew. It was the Paul Pogba show, as the Frenchman delivered three more assists to set up Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Fred, while Fernandes completed his hat-trick with another sumptuous goal, with Victor Lindelof providing the assist.
The result has seen Manchester United lay down the gauntlet at the onset of a season that has seen them being regarded as one of the favourites to win the Premier League title. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men following a top-notch performance by the entire team.
David de Gea: 7/10
Not the busiest of outings for de Gea, who is completing a decade at Manchester United. The Spaniard, though, did make a couple of solid stops, although he could not have really done much to deny Luke Ayling for his wondrous strike. Surprisingly efficient with his distribution, completing 85 percent of his attempted passes.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 7.5/10
A solid start to the season for Wan-Bissaka, who was hardly troubled by a dangerous Jack Harrison. The 23-year-old also showed a lot of desire to charge forward and join in the attacking moves while also showing some decent touches. Job well done.
Victor Lindelof: 8/10
In the wake of the completion of Raphael Varane’s move, this was Lindelof’s chance to show that he still has a lot to offer to Manchester United. And the Swede grabbed his opportunity with both hands, keeping a check on Patrick Bamford superbly while also delivering the assist for one of Bruno Fernandes’s goals on the day. Top effort.
Victor Lindelöf’s game by numbers vs. Leeds United:
100% aerials won
80% pass accuracy
4 ball recoveries
3 passes into the box
Excellent distribution from deep. 🇸🇪 pic.twitter.com/wXARTM5a9v
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) August 14, 2021
Harry Maguire: 8/10
Maguire was back in the Manchester United starting lineup after missing the last month of action in 2020/21. And the Manchester United captain showed exactly what he brings to the table for his side, keeping the backline organised while making a number of crucial clearances. Superb work.
Luke Shaw: 7/10
Shaw was not quite at his best against Leeds and he really should have been more proactive in stopping Ayling in his tracks for the Leeds goal. Having said that, the English international did link up well with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in the final third, showing some fine chemistry with the duo.
Scott McTominay: 8/10
McTominay got the nod over Nemanja Matic in the midfield double pivot and the Scot was simply a level above his counterpart in the Leeds midfield. The 24-year-old kept a check on Rodrigo and Mateusz Klich while also nearly scoring a couple of minutes into the game, just like he has in the corresponding fixture last term. There no looking past him just yet.
Combining with a familiar partner in the midfield double pivot, Fred partnered McTominay superbly. There were a few wasteful touches at times, but defensively, he was nothing short of solid. The icing on top was the goal the Brazilian scored midway through the second half, making a top notch ghosting run before meeting Pogba’s low cut-back smartly.
Daniel James: 7/10
James might not have done much from the creative sense of the game. Neither did he score a goal despite latching on to a couple of half-chances. James, though, put in the hard yards and supported Wan-Bissaka marvelously, which then meant Leeds cheaply lost possession numerous times.
Bruno Fernandes: 10/10
Since Bruno Fernandes made his Premier League debut, he has scored 29 goals in the competition. Only Harry Kane has scored more in that time .
Insanely consistent output. 🇵🇹 pic.twitter.com/up7ImMFwnn
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) August 14, 2021
Manchester United made quite a statement with this performances against Leeds and Bruno Fernandes was one of the catalysts of the trouncing. The finishes for his goals were right out of the top drawer, while he also pulled the strings effortlessly, playing as many as three key passes. What a start to the season.
Paul Pogba: 10/10
Amid uncertainty surrounding his future, this was Pogba showing that he will let his game do the talking. The assists were all nothing short of phenomenal work from the Frenchman, with the first-time pass to Bruno Fernandes for the opening goal standing out. Had the chance to score a goal himself early on, only to shoot wide from close range. That was only a rare blip in a perfect outing.
Paul Pogba is the first Manchester United player to provide 4+ assists in a single Premier League game.
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 14, 2021
Mason Greenwood: 8/10
The Player to Watch in our preview, Greenwood was a bundle of energy all through his outing on Saturday, even coming close to scoring on a couple of occasions before finding the back of the net in the second half. In what ought to be a key season for the teenage prodigy, he has started off well and will hope to continue his fine run of form.
Nemanja Matic: 7/10
On for McTominay, Matic ensured Manchester United did not lose control of the proceedings in the final 20 minutes or so. Completed all but one passes while also winning each of the two duels he contested. A handy backup option.
Jadon Sancho: N/A
Sent on with 15 minutes left, Sancho made his Manchester United debut and showed a lot of desire to make things happen. However, he did not have a lot of time to make an impact, with Manchester United in cruise control mode.
Anthony Martial: N/A
A late introduction, Martial hardly touched the ball in the final 15 minutes or so, as Manchester United saw the game out efficiently.