Manchester United beat Partizan Belgrade 3-0 at Old Trafford in the fourth group stage match of the UEFA Europa League. Goals from Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford saw United reign supreme leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side two points clear at the top of the group with two matches remaining.
United started well and could have scored at least twice before they finally found the net. After lacking composure in the early stages, United started to take their chances. Mason Greenwood opened up the scoring in the 22nd minute of the match, assisted by Marcus Rashford, scoring his second goal in the competition this season.
Just 11 minutes later, after peppering the Partizan goal a few times, United doubled their lead through Anthony Martial, who scored his fifth goal of the season, his third in five matches since returning from injury. Greenwood charged down a clearance with Martial receiving the ball putting his finish underneath the goalkeeper for a 2-0 lead.
Just four minutes into the second half, United scored their third goal of the evening, the third time they had scored this many goals in a match this season. Rashford, assisted by Ashley Young fired his rasping drive with his left foot which was not going to be stopped by the Partizan goalkeeper. United cruised to victory at Old Trafford.
Anthony Martial looked clinical against Partizan Belgrade, which could be the start of him heading back into a period of form.
Anthony Martial was a big miss to the club during his injury spell which lasted eight matches. Playing in the last six matches, including a six-minute cameo against Liverpool, the Frenchman has scored three times which is great to see. Martial played his best game for United this season and perhaps during his career at the club, leading the line and doing what was needed to ensure United took the spoils and qualified for the round of 32 stage in the Europa League this season.
Marcus Rashford can produce the goods for United when playing on the left-wing much better than he can when leading the line.
Marcus Rashford has scored eight goals for the club this season, assisting three more meaning he has been involved in 11 goals in the 16 matches he has played in this season. Rashford reached the 50 goal milestone for the club at the end of last month, which was a big achievement for lad, who turned 22 four days later. Rashford has led the line in the absence of Martial but seemingly struggled in that position and plays much better on the left-wing, which is where he scored from this evening and for England at the start of October.
Mason Greenwood is starting to fit into this United squad and showing his class in various positions.
The 18-year-old has risen to the occasion this season and is starting to raise his game for this club. Scoring his third goal for the club this season, his second in the Europa League, Greenwood is going to be some player when he finally reaches his level, which is showing signs of being predatory in front of goal and also handy with his passing. Greenwood might be a striker, but he’s not going to dislodge Martial from the team, unless he is injured. Playing on the right-wing is best for him now and as he develops as a player, he can play in his favoured role, which could shock his opposition is he develops as many think he might.
Scott McTominay has been a model professional for United this season, becoming the first name on the team sheet – if his injury is a serious one he will be a big loss.
Scott McTominay has been a model professional for the club ever since he first played football. He was a late developer in the academy but slowly made his way into the first team, Jose Mourinho gave him his first opportunity in his second season at the club. He has been a mainstay since last season and despite the criticism he has received from the all-knowing supporters on social media, he has proved them wrong. I don’t think he’s world class but he gets on with his job and puts his all in for this team, which cannot be faulted. Against Partizan, he came off injured in the 75th minute and if that stops his from playing for a prolonged period of time, it could be a massive blow for Solskjaer and United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might face a lot of criticism on social media, but inside Old Trafford and beyond, there is nothing but patience for the manager, not incessant moaning.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been disrespected by many this season because of the results this team has had. Some would think this team was great before Solskjaer came in but true to form, the fans, mainly on social media, have no patience and just call for a manager to be sacked when everything does not fall into place when they expect it to. We have seen this mentality see the end of three managers of the club already and if it does not stop, United will never venture any further than being a year or two into a rebuild, starting again under a new manager.
Patience is a virtue and something that the social media ‘fans’ need to adopt otherwise the toxicity will start to turn against them. On social media after a poor draw or a defeat, you always tend to see #OleOut trending, which in effect means nothing other than a moment of pleasure for toxic ‘fans’ who think they are the ones who make decisions. However, at Old Trafford and in other stadiums, the same discontent is not visible against Solskjaer which suggests the fans are patient – as despite what some say on Twitter, they have seen much worse things at this club in the last six years.
I saw one ‘fan’ on Twitter suggest that the players Solskjaer has brought to the club during the summer transfer window, the only transfer window so far that he has brought players to the club, were the players that were responsible for poor performances this season. Harry Maguire has largely been a rock in the centre of defence this season. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been a massive need for the right-back position, doing more good things than bad and Daniel James has had a better influence on this team in just over three months than Alexis Sanchez in more than 18 months. If that is bad, I would hate to see the ones this whopper thought were good.