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Manchester United 3-0 Nottingham Forest: Match report, player ratings, expert analysis, fan reaction and more

Marcus Rashford scored one and turned provider for another as the Red Devils climbed back within a point of league rivals Tottenham with a match in hand

Manchester United took their chance to close the gap to Premier League rivals Tottenham for the fourth spot in the table with a 3-0 win against visiting Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford tonight in the wake of Spurs’ 2-2 comeback draw yesterday against Brentford.

Goals from a particularly impressive Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Fred sealed a comfortable three points in front of home support for Erik ten Hag’s men who are now just one point adrift from Antonio Conte’s men while piling on historic pressure on a Forest side who has now surrendered over 30 goals against the Red Devils in the Premier League era.

The opening 19-odd-minutes of action at Old Trafford offered little by way of talking points as Steve Coopers Forest stoutly defended deep and well-organized, with the Red Devils struggling to make considerable gains on the pitch but a moment of magic from Marcus Rashford on a half-volley from 12-yards out bet Wayne Hennessey after Christian Eriksen’s direct corner found the England international in space to rip home his well-struck effort.

It was the goal that United needed to force the big-spending Forest out of their shell to chase a result that was now going to be even more difficult to find.

Ten Hag’s men made them pay just three minutes after their opener when Anthony Martial’s run at the top of the box was spotted by Rashford before his low effort could not be turned away by Hennessey’s poor attempt to parry, only for the Frenchman to watch his shot bounce into the far corner to double United’s advantage.

Forest nearly worked themselves back into proceedings when Ryan Yates headed home inside eight yards after getting away from Aaron Wan-Bissaka only for the goal to be reviewed by VAR and correctly judged to be offside after the header inadvertently deflected off defender Willy Bolly.

Both sides would go into the half-time interval with United relatively comfortable at two-nil up in what was an efficient first-half display, with the opening twenty minutes of the second-half largely being a quiet affair as both sides seemed certain of the outcome despite Cooper making four changes before the 65th-minute.

United continued to knock at the door passively but finally secured a third goal on the night at the Theatre of Dreams after Forest won the ball back in the defensive third but gave possession away cheaply to Casemiro before the Brazilian international found his compatriot with a delightful diagonal through ball for Fred to slot home past Hennessey to send the record English champions coasting to three points.

Manchester United Player Ratings

  • David de Gea (GK): 7
  • Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB): 7
  • Raphaël Varane (CB): 7
  • Luke Shaw (CB):
  • Tyrell Malacia (LB): 7
  • Casemiro (CM): 8.5
  • Christian Eriksen (CM): 7
  • Bruno Fernandes (CAM): 7
  • Antony (RW): 6
  • Marcus Rashford (LW): 8.5
  • Anthony Martial (CF): 7.5
  • Donny van de Beek (Sub): 6
  • Alejandro Garnacho (Sub): 6
  • Fred (Sub): 7
  • Harry Maguire (Sub): 6
  • Anthony Elanga (Sub): 6

Nottingham Forest Player Ratings

  • Wayne Hennessey (GK):
  • Serge Aurier (RB):
  • Joe Worrall (CB):
  • Willy Boly (CB):
  • Renan Lodi (LB): 6.5
  • Remo Freuler (DM):
  • Ryan Yates (CM):
  • Orel Mangala (CM): 6
  • Brennan Johnson (RW):
  • Jesse Lingard (LW): 6
  • Taiwo Awoniyi (CF): 6
  • Lewis O’Brien (Sub): 6
  • Sam Surridge (Sub): 6
  • Harry Toffolo (Sub): 6.5
  • Emmanuel Dennis (Sub): 6.5
  • Neco Williams (Sub): 6

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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