Manchester United kept the festive feeling alive with a convincing 3-0 victory over strugglers Nottingham Forest.
A scintillating six weeks of international football had come to an end, but Eric Ten Hag’s men weren’t done with the fireworks just yet.
Having beaten on-form Burnley the week prior, United would be raring to go in the Premier League again with confidence oozing.
However, Forest weren’t push overs. Despite sitting in the bottom three, Steve Cooper’s men hadn’t lost since October, having put up impressive victories against Tottenham Blackburn and Crystal Palace in the process.
Fortune favoured the hosts, having won 48 of their previous 105 meetings with Forest only winning 33. The Reds had won against Forest in their previous six meetings including an 8-1 thrashing in their last matchup.
Martial and Wan Bissaka
Antony Martial led the line for Manchester United, representing the fabled names of Berbatov, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Andy Cole who held down the centre forward position before him.
This was a key game for the French international looking to prove his value after an injury plagued season and the loss of key striker Cristiano Ronaldo.
Similarly, Aaron Wan Bissaka, a player seemingly out of Ten Hag’s prosperous plans had an opportunity to pave his way back into the side after Diogo Dalot’s injury with Portugal.
Both Martial and Wan Bissaka proved their value, providing performances destined to keep them in the team a little while longer.
Bissaka’s attacking output was particularly good whipping in excellent deliveries for United’s front men to pounce.
Martial came back firing, scoring with a low finish after a delicious Rashford flick and lay-off.
Although United were comfortably on top throughout, it was Marcus Rashford and eventual man of the match winner Casemiro who cemented United’s superiority.
Rashford was electric, pouncing on any opportunity that came his way. Driven, eyes pierced, he terrified the Forest defenders.
The English international scored and assisted.
A clever set piece routine set him free before he opened the scoring with a well-placed finish.
He assisted the second after a terrific chop left the defender for dust creating the space to find Martial who fired home.
Casemiro’s continued form
Casemiro oozed quality. From start to finish, Casemiro was all over the pitch winning everything. His full stretched tackle in the left back position was pivotal in setting United free to score their second. The third goal epitomised everything good about Casemiro, as his defensive awareness saw him pounce in and intercept the ball before crafting the perfect pass for Fred to fire in the killer blow.
It wasn’t completely one sided though, as Forest put the ball in the back of the net from a sublime delivery. However, VAR saved United’s blessings deeming Wilfried Boly to be offside from Ryan Yates header.
Forest never came close again, with United slowly waring out Coopers men.
This convincing victory stapled home a splendid Christmas for the Old Trafford faithful’s, whilst putting a major dampener on the travelling fans’ spirit.
Ten Hag’s men next face Wolves in the early kick off on Saturday, hoping to build upon this game, and increase their chances in the top four fight.
Forest will be looking to bounce back against Chelsea on New Year’s Day to avoid increasing their chances of facing the drop.