Player Ratings, Reaction and Highlights : Manchester United 5-0 FB Leipzig

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Marcus Rashford scored a hat-trick from the substitute’s bench to serve as the star billing in a resounding Manchester United win over RB Leipzig at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came up against another much higher rated contemporary of his and – as he has done with almost every top coach he has faced in his spell as United manager – came out on top with a game plan that emphatically proved triumphant.

Solskjaer recalled Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek whilst Mason Greenwood was also given a run up front, with Rashford and Bruno Fernandes given rests on the bench.

A positive start was rewarded in the 21st minute when Greenwood did well to get on to a Pogba pass; he turned the highly-rated Dayot Upamecano and finished with aplomb across the goalkeeper. For a moment it seemed as if the strike would be ruled out for offside, but Greenwood was deemed to be just on by the narrowest of margins.

United had a strong sense of control; Leipzig pushed high, but it always felt as if they were playing into the hands of hosts, and even though Upamecano looked comfortable and imposing on the ball, it was when he was forced to defend that he looked shaky.

That was never more so than when Solskjaer rang the changes with half an hour left. First of all Rashford and McTominay came on – Matic and Greenwood withdrawn. Matic had been booked and, with the game occasionally threatening to spill over into a messy affair due to a number of picky stoppages from the referee, it did sometimes appear as if the Serbian might pick up a second yellow and see the game swing against his team.

He needn’t have worried. In the 73rd minute Rashford was put through on the halfway line by Fernandes – who had just come on for Van De Beek – and coolly put the ball away.

He then made it three after a defensive slip – Rashford making Upamecano look poor before ruthlessly despatching the ball.

United then got a fourth when Martial was fouled in the box, and though a number of regular takers were on the field – Fernandes, Rashford on a hat-trick, not to mention Cavani now on the field looking for his first goal – Martial took the kick himself and scored.

There was still time for more. Rashford almost got a hat-trick when he dribbled around the defence but overplayed it – there was no danger of that when he got one final chance. 5-0, and United’s win was comprehensive and impressive.

In scoring the hat-trick, Rashford became the first since Solskjaer himself to do such a feat from the bench since 1999.

Selection

Solskjaer resisted the temptation to start Tuanzebe again. There were curious calls for Telles – who knows what’s happening there, but again, Shaw was given a chance to continue his form.

And the manager went with a diamond shape in midfield, another tactical approach for which he deserves much credit, especially considering the criticism he has faced of late. Will it be enough to earn him actual credit, or will this latest victory over a much more highly rated manager – we can make that at least half a dozen now – be disregarded and diluted? Well, what do you think?

Can there be a reservation after a 5-0 win? Well, only in that you can’t see Fernandes and Rashford starting Sunday on the bench, so it brings up the dilemma of how Ole approaches that game and if he can go with a diamond. One game at a time. Even when you win 5-0.

Ratings

De Gea 7

Wan-Bissaka 7

Lindelof 8

Maguire 7

Shaw 7

Matic 7

Fred 8

Pogba 7

Van de Beek 7

Martial 7

Greenwood 7

Subs :

Rashford 9

McTominay 6

Fernandes 7

Tuanzebe

Cavani

Wayne Barton

Wayne is a writer and producer. His numerous books on Manchester United include the authorised biography of Jimmy Murphy. He wrote and produced the BT Sport film 'Too Good To Go Down'. In 2015 he was described by the Independent as the 'leading writer on Manchester United' and former club chairman Martin Edwards has described him as 'the pre-eminent writer on the club'.

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