Ratings: Rashford & Shaw inspired United to win against Leeds; Garnacho a class act; Martinez the steel the defence needs

United took advantage of teams around them dropping points

Manchester United beat Leeds United 2-0 at Elland Road in the Premier League. After a hard-fought match, Marcus Rashford scored his 21st goal of the season, firing in the 80th minute after Luke Shaw provided the assist. Alejandro Garnacho doubled United’s lead five minutes later after Wout Weghorst provided the assist. After the criticism he had received this week, he deserved that goal. Barcelona next for United.

It was a mixed start for United in their second match against Leeds this week. Leeds were the first team to get a chance on goal with Patrick Bamford having a shot on goal saved by David De Gea in the fourth minute of the match. Crysencio Summerville missed the target in the same minute. Summerville was caught offside in the tenth minute of the match after Luke Ayling tried to find him with a through ball. Junior Firpo was booked in the 18th minute.

United had a chance in the 20th minute of the match through Bruno Fernandes but he missed the target. Fred was booked in the 21st minute for a bad foul. Bamford had another shot on goal in the 21st minute, seeing United make the block to deny him a goal. It was a pretty poor match for both teams considering how they played on Wednesday evening in the 2-2 draw, despite United being 2-0 down early in the second half. There was a lack of quality here though.

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This was a match that United needed to win to take advantage of the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Newcastle United, Brighton and Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur, who all dropped points on Saturday. United had few chances from the half so far and needed to be a lot better to win this match. Fernandes had another chance to get something from this match in the 39th minute but saw his effort saved by Illan Meslier which stopped United from getting an advantage.

In the 41st minute of the match, Weston McKennie became the second Leeds player to be booked for a bad foul. It seemed that there was a lot of bad feeling in this match and Leeds had been showing why they have been branded ‘dirty Leeds’ in the past. It must be hard being so low in the Premier League table with relegation threatening their season once again. Summerville had a shot on goal in the 44th minute of the match with De Gea making the save again.

Four minutes were added at the end of the first half with United running out of chances to get a goal in the first half. Fernandes had another great chance on goal in the first minute of added time with Harry Maguire, who had a good first half playing the ball into him. The Portuguese midfielder was unable to add to his tally of seven goals so far this season as Meslier made the save to deny him. The first half ended at 0-0 with all to play for in the second half.

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There were no substitutions for either team at the start of the second half. Summerville got the first chance of the second half in the 47th minute after picking up the ball from McKennie and firing on goal. De Gea made the save. McKennie then had a chance in the 48th minute, missing the target. Ayling then had a shot blocked in the 51st minute of the match. Leeds made their first substitution in the 58th minute of the match with Georginio Rutter replacing Bamford.

United made a double substitution in the 61st minute of the match with Lisandro Martinez and Alejandro Garnacho replacing Tyrell Malacia and Jadon Sancho. United had a great chance in the 63rd minute of the match after Diogo Dalot ran forward with the ball and launched his shot on goal from just outside the box but he effort hit the crossbar after beating Meslier. Fred launched an effort on goal in the 65th minute, missing the target once again.

Wilfried Gnonto forced a save from De Gea in the 66th minute of the match with Leeds seeking an opening goal. Ayling forced another save from De Gea in the 70th minute of the match. United really needed to get something working on the attack as they have not really threatened on goal. United made a third substitution with Aaron Wan-Bissaka replacing Diogo Dalot in the 73rd minute of the match. United really needed to get on the end of something.

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Leeds made another substitution in the 74th minute as Brenden Aaronson replaced Jack Harrison. Summerville forced a save from De Gea four minutes later. United opened the scoring in the 80th minute through none other than Marcus Rashford, who scored his 21st goal of the season with a sublime finish from a Luke Shaw assist. VAR checked the goal and gave it, searching for an offside. It was an important goal for United as they needed three point from here.

In the 85th minute, United doubled their lead with Alejandro Garnacho getting his third goal of the season, just days after many so-called supporters of the club abused him for his performance against Leeds earlier in the week. Leeds made a substitution in the 86th minute with Sam Greenwood replacing Weston McKennie. Maximilian Wöber, Wilfried Gnonto and Brenden Aaronson all had efforts blocked in the 88th minute.

Wöber then missed the target in the 89th minute before Garnacho had a shot blocked and Fernandes had one saved. Rashford had the ball into the back of the net – it was offside and ruled out by VAR. Anthony Elanga replaces Rashford in the first minute. Elanga missed the target in the third minute of added time and Maguire was blocked in the same minute. Weghorst scored in the fourth minute of added time, against ruled out. United got the three point they needed.

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Player Ratings

David De Gea: The Spanish goalkeeper had a quiet first half. Had two efforts to deal with at the start and end of the first half. It was busier for him in the second half and he produced a few good saved to keep his 179th clean sheet for United on the day his made his 400th Premier League appearance. He will pleased with his performance and that of his defence in this match, especially after the reverse at Old Trafford earlier in the week. ★★★★★★★

Diogo Dalot: He was not at his best, especially when Crysencio Summerville’s caught him for his early chance on goal. He did not really get much done in an attacking sense, seemingly staying back in a defensive position. However, after sitting out a number of weeks with an injury, it may take him time to get back up to speed. Hit the crossbar with a great shot in the second half. That was really it for him. Replaced by Aaron Wan-Bissaka. ★★★★★

Harry Maguire: Made his first start in over a month in the Premier League. Helped keep a clean sheet. Made a mistake in the first half but tracked back and won the ball, dealing with the danger quite well. It was not the best return to the starting XI for him and it is clear to see that Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez are considered as the main starters in the defence this season. He will get more minutes as the season continued though. ★★★★★

Luke Shaw: Played in the centre of the defence, presumably getting him ready to face Barcelona in the position on Thursday in the UEFA Europa League. He was a cool head in the back found read the game well. He played at left-back when Lisandro Martinez replaced Tyrell Malacia. He played in a great cross for Marcus Rashford to open the scoring in the 80th minute of the match. It is great to see him in good form once again. ★★★★★★★

Tyrell Malacia: The Dutchman put himself about against Leeds and did not fall to the pressures of the environment at Elland Road. He played well and got forward a few times. He had a good hour on the pitch, presumably getting him ready to start at left-back against Barcelona on Thursday evening at the Camp Nou. He was replaced by Lisandro Martinez which saw Shaw revert back to his favoured left-back role. ★★★★★★

Fred: The Brazilian was the only United played to be booked against Leeds in this match. He was awarded the Man of the Match by Sky, which was quite puzzling – but they obviously saw something more than I did from him. It was not the best performance from him but not the worst either. He drifted further a few times with Malacia coming into midfield to protect his position, but that was brief. He dug deep to help United but could not score again. ★★★★★

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Marcel Sabitzer: Provided something in midfield but it will take him a few more appearances to gel into this team. His positioning was something that Erik ten Hag was unhappy about at times and his passing was sometimes rash. That said, I have faith in him settling in at United and playing well for the remainder of the season. We are yet to see him play alongside Casemiro, which will provide the best of his game – Thursday could see that. ★★★★★★

Jadon Sancho: His first start for United in around 113 days. Provided the first chance of the match, giving the ball to Bruno Fernandes – who was unable to score. Played some good football but will need the time to settle in the team now that he is back. Played for an hour before he was replaced by Alejandro Garnacho, who doubled United’s lead late in the second half. Sancho will be a big player this season and has something to achieve. ★★★★★★

Bruno Fernandes: Had a few shots on goal against Leeds – three in the first half. The one-on-one with Illan Meslier should him as being uncomfortable and not really capitalising from the effort on goal. He dug in for United and helped create chances, which were scarce in the second half. I am sure he will be up for the challenge of Barcelona on Thursday in the UEFA Europa League but he will need some kind of a rest in the coming weeks. ★★★★★★

Marcus Rashford: Scored his 21st goal of the season, leaving it late against Leeds to open the scoring. He struggled for large spells in the match with Luke Ayling being quite solid against him so switched flanks to go against Junior Firpo. Later in the second half he was the main striker with Wout Weghorst playing behind him – that was where United got their first goal from, which was a great finish from the England forward. What a season for him. ★★★★★★★

Wout Weghorst: The Dutch striker made his eighth successive start for United, completing the game for just the second time since he signed for United in January. It was not a great performance form him and there is still quite a bit of work needed to make this system work for him. He did get an assist for Alejandro Garnacho’s goal, which will be something to inspire him for future matches but more is needed from his this season. ★★★★★

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Substitutes

Lisandro Martinez: Replaced Malacia 61′. Came on just after the hour to add some steel to the defensive line which saw Luke Shaw take up his favoured left-back role, which helped to create the opening goal just under twenty minutes later. He was unfazed by the atmosphere at Elland Road and his opposition did not grind him down. He was an instigator in United winning with his mentality to win a great attribute to have. United have a great player here. ★★★★★★★

Alejandro Garnacho: Replaced Sancho 61′. Score his third goal of the season with a fine finish and could have had another minutes later. He has seven goal contributions to his name with his four assists added to his tally this season. After the criticism he has received in the last few days, it really is fitting that he shows his best form now to redden the faces of his critics, not that some of them will be sorry. What a talented player he is. ★★★★★★★

Aaron Wan-Bissaka: Replaced Dalot 73′. The former Crystal Palace right-back came on late in the game to strengthen the defence with United still searching for the opening goal of the match. He was largely solid in defence and did what he needed to do to help his club find something. I think he could start against Barcelona on Thursday but the worry will be how he fared against Arsenal a few weeks ago. Ten Hag will have the answers though. ★★★★★★

Anthony Elanga: Replaced Rashford 90+1′. Came on very late in the game to waste a little time and stutter Leeds from gathering steam. I’m not sure that he’s going to be a great player for United because other than his pace, there is nothing else on the table for him. If injuries were lower in January, he could have gone out on loan for the remainder of the season – which would have been good for him. Next season, he could be out of the picture completely. ★★★★★

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Match Information

Goals: Marcus Rashford 80′, Alejandro Garnacho 85′

Assists: Luke Shaw 80’, Wout Weghorst 85′

Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot (Wan-Bissaka 73′), Maguire, Shaw, Malacia (Martinez 61′); Fred, Sabitzer; Rashford (Elanga 90+1′), Fernandes, Sancho (Garnacho 61′); Weghorst

Substitutes Not Used: Heaton; Lindelof, Varane; Pellistri, Iqbal

Bookings: Junior Firpo 18′, Weston McKennie 41′; Fred 19′

Written by John Walker

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.