Led by Bruno Fernandes once again, a dazzling United were able to cruise past Club Brugge 5-0 tonight at Old Trafford. It was the best performance in years from a United side, especially in the first half which could have easily ended 5-0. Goals from Fernandes, Ighalo, McTominay & Fred put us through to the next round of the UEFA Europa League.
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – 10
Ole picked a predictably stronger side than the away leg and had the players in the right mentality to get out on the front foot. We had our foot on the gas from the kickoff and never let up. 28 shots (10 on target), 67% possession, chances galore and fantastic, hard organized team pressing. Took Bruno off around the 65’ mark to rest him for Everton; a perfect day for Ole and United.
RB: Aaron Wan Bissaka – 7
I thought it was a relatively quiet game for AWB. Club Brugge were pinned back from the jump and after the red card the defense had little to do. He worked tremendously hard to press and cover ground behind the slower Mata. Offensively he definitely found it hard to shake his defender and get a cross off on his right leg and is showing good chemistry with Bruno – but who isn’t?
CB: Eric Bailly – 8
Bailly has all of the physical tools to be a world class center back, but what he lacks is health and composure. Today he showed his class with his reading of the game and composure on and off the ball. A few of his injuries have been because of his over-aggression at time. If he can manage to play with a bit more composure he will start to gain the consistency necessary to be a top level CB.
CB: Harry Maguire – 9
Defensively, Maguire read almost the entire game to perfection; granted it was an easy game for the back four. On the ball, he played almost as a defensive midfielder and made it clear that he loves bringing the ball out of the back in full flow. He sprayed countless passes out to Daniel James, Bruno and Luke Shaw that started dangerous attacks. Another great performance from the Captain.
LB: Luke Shaw – 9
Deservedly held onto his starting position tonight and paid back the faith his manager put in him. Had little to do defensively but handled everything thrown at him. On the left side of the field the team of Bruno, Shaw, Fred and Daniel James were able to produce great interplay together and terrorize Club Brugge.
RCM: Scott McTominay – 8
So good to see McSauce back! Definitely seemed rusty to me and at the 30’ mark he shook it off and United took off. Played in several good balls – one to particular put James in 12 yards out 1v1 that was wasted. Scored an absolute class goal, the type we’ve been missing from midfield all season.
LCM: Fred – 9
What a game from Fred. Continuing to be a beast in midfield and has been our best player in 2020 (maybe more). Had a silky assist and two goals, one of which was the exact goal he missed against Chelsea. Good to see he buried this one.
CAM: Bruno Fernandes – 10
Man of the Match – Just another day at the office for Bruno Fernandes. Was at the center of everything good for United tonight. Scored his PK and was the pass before the assist on two other goals. Drifted around the field with complete freedom and delivered dangerous passes from all over the field. Beautiful cross into Mata for the Ighalo set-up, a flick to McTominay to start his goal sequence, hit the post, tracked back. Pulled the strings. Club Brugge will be having Bruno nightmares.
RAM: Juan Mata – 9
The definition of a “turn back the clock” performance tonight from the little magician. Moved with similar freedom to Bruno and there was a visible connection between the two of them. His movement and passing with Bruno had Club Brugge chasing shadows.
LAM: Daniel James – 7
Thought James struggled in the first 20 minutes or so. He picked out some great passes tonight and created chances but had a hard time beating defenders and missed a golden chance from twelve yards out. He is becoming too reliant on his pace to beat defenders. Rashford struggled with the same problem last year of just trying to knock it past defenders. Rashford made the adjustment and his form took a leap; hopefully James does as well.
ST: Odion Ighalo – 9
The Nigerian Haland! Finally gets his first United goal and looked like the backup striker that we’ve been looking for, holding up play phenomenally well and running the channels. Combined with the midfielders and tucked away a beautifully worked goal from Bruno and Mata.
SUB: Jesse Lingard – 7
Came on and got involved instantly showing the desire to gain back his spot in the fans hearts after the worst spell of his United career. Picked up where Bruno left off by pressing well and continuing with the interplay. Set up Fred’s second goal and could have scored himself late on. A very positive performance from Jesse.
SUB: Mason Greenwood – 7
Also made his presence felt when he came on for McTominay working himself into a few shots and continuing the free flowing football that United were playing. He is captivating because of his unpredictability and at 18 years old you can’t help but be excited for the future.
SUB: Tahith Chong – 6
Had flashes of the patience, vision and pace that makes him so attractive to clubs around Europe. Also displayed the lack of certainty between where he is and what he might be. He is so far from a finished product that you have to understand United’s reluctance in extending his contract.