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Report: Five star Manchester United turn back the time and bring back attacking football against Cardiff

Manchester United beat Cardiff City 5-1 in the Premier League on Saturday evening. Marcus Rashford opened up the scoring with Ander Herrera doubling the lead. Cardiff then won a penalty, which was short-lived as Anthony Martial put United two goals clear again. Jesse Lingard then finished the game with a brace, one from the spot. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be happy with what he has seen. Scoring goals galore.

The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era has started for Manchester United. The Red Devils started with plenty of pace on the attack. United spent more time going forward with the ball, which was refreshing to see. Paul Pogba was fouled by Harry Arter giving United a free-kick 30-yards from goal. Marcus Rashford took the set-piece with Pogba running into the box. Rashford’s effort was a powerful one which beat Neil Etheridge. The first goal of another new era.

Cardiff won a free-kick in the sixth minute after trying to stage a rally. The set-piece was against from 30-yards out, a similar position to Rashford’s. It was taken by Josh Murphy but the power was not in the shot to cause any problems for David De Gea. Anthony Martial looked to be in the mood in the tenth minute as he took on defenders. He got the better of Sol Bamba on the left, winning a corner for United. The corner was aimed at Pogba but Sean Morrison cleared the danger.

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There was a stoppage in the game close to the 15-minute mark after a clash of heads between Luke Shaw and Callum Patterson. Aron Gunnarsson launched a long throw into the box and Shaw rose to clear the danger, clattering heads with Patterson. Both players were able to continue after a momentary pause in the game. In the 21st minute of the game, Bamba drove forward with the ball and had Murphy screaming for it. The wrong pass was made and United immediately went on the counter.

Martial had the ball on the left, found Rashford inside the area, who struck from 10-yards but Morrison did enough to divert the ball away from danger. Cardiff started to struggle around the 27th minute-mark, failing to create momentum against United. Arter did try to hook the ball down the line for Murphy but it went out of play. United went on to double their lead in the 29th minute through Herrera, assisted by Pogba and beating the keeper with his spectacular effort. 2-0 in the Solskjaer era.

Shaw was the first player to be booked in this game, receiving a yellow card in the 35th minute after a late tackle on Murphy. Three minutes later, a penalty was awarded against United after it was adjudged that Rashford handled the ball in the box. He controlled the ball with his shoulder so it was a fair decision by the assistant. Victor Camarasa stepped up to take the penalty, sailing his effort into the top left-hand corner.

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Cardiff seemed to be back in the game, still trailing to United though. It was a short-lived feeling for the home side after United scored their third goal of the game in the 41st minute. Martial, assisted by Jesse Lingard gave United a two-goal cushion once again. It was a great goal for the Frenchman, one to boost his and the team’s confidence. United looked to be a different team to what we have seen so far this season. The confidence was there and the goals were raining down in this new era.

There were three minutes added at the end of the half. The United side was enjoying themselves once again but Cardiff will not be enjoying this game. It seems to be very different from the days Jose Mourinho was in the dugout. The attacking flair of this team is what should be what United throw into their games. The love of football is starting to come back. This is how United need to be playing. It seems like the past two and a half years of this style of football has been a punishment.

There were no changes for either team at the start of the second half. With United still 3-1 ahead, they needed to keep it in their minds that coming back into the game was Cardiff’s thing in the Premier League. Arter signalled intent with a strong tackle on Herrera in the 48th minute. Camarasa then slid one behind for Murphy but he was not on the same wavelength. United saw a lot more of the ball, based on previous matches this season. Ashley Young, despite being the right-back was playing so far forward.

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Rashford saw an attempt saved in the 51st minute of the match with Etheridge getting his hand on the ball to tip it around the post. United were then camped in the Cardiff half with Pogba starting to boss the game with Martial and Rashford always looking to break behind Cardiff’s defensive line. United won a penalty in the 55th minute, the second penalty of the game. Lingard was fouled in the box by both Morrison and Bamba, both were arguing with the referee.

Lingard stepped up to take the penalty, after having a discussion with Pogba. The Academy graduate then thundered the ball confidently into the back of the net, putting United 4-1 up in this game, the second time four goals have been scored in a single game this season. This is not a good day for Cardiff, who seem to be beaten with around half an hour still to play. It is great to see United bounce back from such a poor showing this season. There will be many reds like myself who are satisfied, so far anyway.

United had another shot in the 61st minute after Martial skipped down the left-wing with the ball dropping to Shaw around 18-yards out. He then hit a low ball towards goal but it was deflected behind. Three minutes later, United had another chance, this time with Victor Lindelof breaking forward, releasing Rashford. The 20-year-old only had the goalkeeper to beat but his low drive was just off target, which was a shame. This United side were in the mood to punish the poorer teams in the league.

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Cardiff tried to get themselves back into the game, forcing a save from De Gea in the 65th minute after Kenneth Zohore, who replaced Arter in the 61st minute, pulled out of the left and found Camarasa on the edge of the box. He aimed for the far corner and De Gea read it well and pushed the ball out for a corner, which came to nothing for the home side. United had a chance in the 70th minute with Pogba dropping into space 22-yards out and curling a sensational effort, which was just saved by Etheridge.

Cardiff made a second substitution in the 73rd minute with Junior Hoilet being replaced by Kadeem Harris. Cardiff then had a chance in the 75th minute after Camarasa sent in another brilliant ball in from the left which was heading towards the back post. Bamba charged in but ended up heading his effort wide of the target. In the 77th minute, Cardiff had another chance with Zahore giving the home side some confidence. De Gea kept the shot out of the back of the net.

Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 79th minute of the match with Fred replacing Rashford. Rashford put in a fantastic performance in the game and received applause as he left the pitch. Cardiff then made their final substitution with Gunnarsson being replaced by Joe Ralls. Gunnarsson was outclassed by his United opposition in this game, which is probably one of few players that this could be said about this season. This is a game of confidence for United. Huddersfield Town may need to ready themselves.

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It was nice to see Fred get an opportunity and in the 85th minute, that seemed to pay off as he played a good ball into Pogba in the left, who then drove it into the box. Martial was waiting to fire another shot on goal by Bamba booted clear. Solskjaer then made a double substitution with Marouane Fellaini replacing Nemanja Matic and Andreas Pereira replacing Martial. United were not finished though.

Lingard scored United’s fifth goal of the game, the first time United have scored five goals in a Premier League game since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson. Pogba was pulling the strings in midfield, slotting a wonderful ball in behind Morrison, who could not deal with the pace of Lingard. He then got around Etheridge and rolled the ball into an empty net. It was a great game for United and an even better start for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. I wonder if the media will find critics for this Manchester United?

Goals: Victor Camarasa 38 (p); Marcus Rashford 3′, Ander Herrera 29′, Anthony Martial 41′, Jesse Lingard 56′, 90′

Assists: Paul Pogba 29′, Jesse Lingard 41′

Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Jones, Lindelof, Shaw; Herrera, Matic (Fellaini 87′), Pogba; Lingard, Rashford (Fred 79′), Martial (Pereira 87′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Bailly, Dalot; Mata

Bookings: Aron Gunnarsson 58′, Greg Cunningham 79′; Luke Shaw 35′

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