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Winners & Losers

All Rashford touches is gold! Man Utd winners, losers and ratings as top-four charge gathers momentum vs Nottingham Forest

01:15 EAT 28/12/2022
Marcus Rashford celebrate Manchester United Forest 2022-23
The Red Devils are riding their star forward's revival as far as he can take them

Marcus Rashford is in the zone. Every touch he takes is golden.

He starred for England at the World Cup. He led the way last week in the Carabao Cup. In Tuesday's 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest, he was the driver of almost everything good for Manchester United.

Rashford spun a shot past Wayne Hennessey to open the scoring through a well-executed set piece routine before teeing up Anthony Martial three minutes later. Later, he split the Nottingham Forest defence with a long through ball that found its way to Antony for a clear-cut chance.

After enduring a lengthy slump dating back to at least Euro 2020, Rashford's latest performance pushed him to six goals and an assist since the start of November for club and country.

Behind Rashford, Casemiro was a key force for Manchester United and even registered a late assist following a dogged defensive midfield effort.

The Red Devils are now just a point behind Tottenham for fourth place with a game in hand, which is a best-case scenario for Erik ten Hag considering the club's putrid start to the season.

  • Casemiro Manchester United Forest 2022-23

    The Winners

    Marcus Rashford:

    The England forward now has more Premier League goals and assists this year than the last despite 10 fewer appearances. You can so easily see what that has done for his confidence. That pearly smile is back as he's working his way back to the 2019-20 form that vaulted him to global acclaim.

    Manchester United can't afford to let this talented young man leave anytime soon.

    Casemiro:

    Capped perhaps his best performance in a Manchester United shirt by winning possession in a dangerous area and then assisting compatriot Fred.

    Casemiro is of course much more than the stats could ever suggest, and that assist was just a feather in the cap after he had run around tirelessly all match breaking up Nottingham Forest play to keep the visitors from ever getting comfortable.

    Luke Shaw:

    It was a surprise to see the left-back lined up in the centre of defence, but his performance offered little hint he was playing out of his comfort zone. Erik ten Hag will keep Shaw's production in the role in the back of his head for future use whenever Raphael Varane or Lisandro Martinez are unavailable.

  • Jesse Lingard Nottingham Forest Manchester United 2022-23

    The Losers

    Jesse Lingard:

    Any illusions of ruining the festive period for his former club were quickly squashed as Manchester United completely bottled up the attacker before he left due to injury.

    The Red Devils ruined his career by preventing him from leaving last term after he had been so good on loan at West Ham in 2020-21. A shame.

    Harry Maguire:

    The Manchester United centre-back is battling illness and thus has barely trained since returning from international duty, but it will still feel frustrating to be on the bench as left-back Luke Shaw starts in central defence.

    Lisandro Martinez is sure to return soon from his Argentina World Cup celebrations, which will push Maguire even further down the pecking order.

    Wayne Hennessey:

    Nottingham Forest's goalkeeper needed to save Anthony Martial's goal in the first half. Once that went in, his team had little chance of staging a comeback.

  • David de Gea Manchester United 2022-23

    Man Utd Ratings: Defence

    David de Gea (7/10):

    Made a nice reflex save in the second half.

    Aaron Wan-Bissaka (7/10):

    With his Manchester United future in doubt, the right-back actually put in a great shift, with his much-maligned attacking abilities not as bad as advertised. Played some probing crosses and didn't do anything wrong tracking back. We'll see if it keeps him from being sold in January.

    Raphael Varane (7/10):

    No World Cup heartbreak hangover here.

    Luke Shaw (7/10):

    Out of position to fill in for Lisandro Martinez, he showed off versatility many fans didn't realise he possessed.

    Tyrell Malacia (6/10):

    At some fault for a disallowed first-half Nottingham Forest goal, but we're probably not allowed to assign blame for that! Otherwise solid.

  • Christian Eriksen Manchester United 2022-23

    Midfield

    Christian Eriksen (7/10):

    Assisted Rashford with a low, short corner - though Rashford was wide open, so not much skill was needed there. Completed two key passes and was over 90 per cent overall playing the ball.

    Casemiro (9/10):

    Made sure ex-Manchester United player Jesse Lingard couldn't pick up the ball in dangerous middle areas. Did everything he was bought to do.

  • Marcus Rashford Anthony Martial Manchester United 2022-23

    Attack

    Antony (6/10):

    Wore his invisibility cloak until a 56th-minute chance he really should have converted.

    Bruno Fernandes (6/10):

    Manchester United preferred to build through wide spaces, relegating Fernandes to a secondary role. Touched Rashford's brilliant long through ball onto Antony's path in the second half.

    Marcus Rashford (9/10):

    His confidence is through the roof. The assist for the second goal probably demonstrated better than anything else how far he's come since last season. On a counter-attack, he heel-chopped at the edge of the box to put his marker off-balance before feeding an accurate ball for Martial. Eight months ago he would have rushed a cut inside and shot miles over the bar. Those days are gone.

    Anthony Martial (6/10):

    The Frenchman's goal should have been saved, but it'll still give him confidence.

  • Erik ten Hag Manchester United Bournemouth 2022-23

    Subs & Manager

    Alejandro Garnacho (7/10):

    Looked like the real deal again. He'll be starting plenty of matches in 2023.

    Donny van de Beek (6/10):

    Life has been tough for him with the Red Devils, so the bar is low, but he had one of his most active cameos of the campaign on Tuesday.

    Fred (7/10):

    Got a late goal to mark a successful return.

    Harry Maguire (6/10):

    Varane couldn't go a full 90 minutes, so Maguire helped close out the game.

    Anthony Elanga (N/A):

    Not enough time to make an impact.

    Erik ten Hag (7/10):

    Kept Maguire on the bench in favour of an out-of-position Shaw, but it worked out. The rest of the team mostly picked itself.