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Winners & Losers

Are Man Utd suddenly in the title race? Winners, losers and ratings as Ten Hag's in-form side beat Bournemouth

00:40 SAST 2023/01/04
Christian Eriksen Casemiro Manchester United 2022-23
Nine points off the leaders and with the top two next on their Premier League schedule, the Red Devils could yet gatecrash the title race

Manchester United moved level on points with third-placed Newcastle in the Premier League table on Tuesday after a comfortable 3-0 win over Bournemouth at Old Trafford.

It's now six wins in a row for the Red Devils and manager Erik ten Hag, who can seemingly do no wrong at the moment. The Dutchman brought in outcasts such as Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Donny van de Beek against the Cherries and still saw his team cruise to victory.

Summer signing Casemiro brilliantly volleyed the hosts in front from a gorgeous Christian Eriksen cross, before they lost Van de Beek to injury before the half-time whistle.

Yet even that was no problem for Ten Hag. The United manager replaced the Dutchman with Alejandro Garnacho and saw the youngster grab his first Premier League assist within minutes of his arrival.

Luke Shaw instigated the move from the left-back but kept on running so he was in the right place at the right time to fire home Garnacho's cross to make it 2-0. Shaw then played a role in United's third, finding Bruno Fernandes who in turn squared for Marcus Rashford to grab his fourth goal in as many games since the World Cup.

The win continues United's strong form and sees them close to within a point of Manchester City in second place. Next up for Ten Hag's side in the Premier League is a visit from Pep Guardiola's champions.

GOAL breaks down all the winners and losers from the Theatre of Dreams...

  • Luke Shaw Manchester United 2022-23

    The Winners

    Casemiro

    Manchester United's defensive-midfielder popped up with the opening goal for his side, producing the sort of finish any striker would be proud of. Casemiro is hardly known for his goalscoring prowess but he won't forget his controlled volley from Eriksen's free-kick in a hurry. Yet he offered United so much more than his superb strike. The former Real Madrid man was all over the pitch, winning back possession, making key passes, even creating chances. This was only his 10th Premier League start but he's already become one of the first names on Ten Hag's teamsheet.

    Luke Shaw

    The England international has impressed recently at centre-back, earning himself praise from Ten Hag, but showed he's even better at left-back here. Shaw was solid all night defensively and made it 2-0 to give the Red Devils some breathing space at the start of the second half. Shaw started the move at left-back too, swapping passes with Rashford and then sweeping upfield and finding Fernandes. He continued his run into the box to fire home Garnacho's cross for his first Premier League goal of the season. There was more to come too from the defender, as he sprayed out a superb ball for Fernandes to tee up Rashford for United's third late on.

    Marcus Rashford

    Rashford was back in the starting XI after being benched last time against Wolves, even though he still came on to net the winner at Molineux. Ten Hag's desire to bring in a new striker in January is well-known, but in the meantime Rashford continues to do the business in attack. The England international scored for the fourth game in a row here to seal the win and has now has more goals this season than he managed throughout the whole of the last campaign.

    Man Utd's title dreams

    Surely not? Well, United are currently nine points behind Arsenal following the Gunners' draw against Newcastle, but with 21 matches still to play, there is plenty of time to bridge that gap.

    The fact is, though, that the gap could be much tighter in a couple of weeks' time. United face Manchester City at home and Arsenal away in their next two Premier League games, and while the prospect of winning both might seem fanciful, the way Ten Hag has his team playing means that they should be confident of earning positive results.

    Factor in that City have to travel to Chelsea and host Tottenham, while Arsenal have visit Spurs for the North London Derby in that same time frame, and the top of the table could have a very different feel to it by the end of January.

  • Donny van de Beek Manchester United 2022-23

    The Losers

    Donny van de Beek

    It's hard not to feel sorry for Van de Beek who doesn't seem to be able to catch a break. The midfielder was making just his second Premier League start of the season and had enjoyed a solid outing in the opening exchanges. However,he didn't even make it to half-time after being hit by an ugly challenge from Marcos Senesi that forced him off the pitch in the first half. The Dutchman's desire to continue was plain to see, but he was clearly in agony and had to be helped down the tunnel. Van de Beek will be hoping it's not to serious a problem, but right now it's difficult to see when he might play for United again.

    Anthony Martial

    The Frenchman had another quiet game in the United attack and made a mess of the only real chance he did have to score. Casemiro planted a fine cross on Martial's head in the second half, only to see the forward nod the chance wide. It was little surprise to see a disconsolate looking Martial depart the game shortly afterwards and head straight down the tunnel, which did not look a good sign either.

    Liverpool

    United fans will surely have enjoyed seeing Liverpool get demolished by Brentford on Monday, and Tuesday's victory over Bournemouth will have poured more misery on the Reds. Ten Hag's side are now seven points clear of the Merseysiders and will be growing in confidence that they, and not Liverpool, will be playing Champions League football again next season.

  • David de Gea Manchester United 2022-23

    Man Utd Ratings: Defence

    David de Gea (8/10):

    A quiet first half but then made important stops from Billing and Anthony after the break to prevent Bournemouth getting back in the game.

    Aaron Wan-Bissaka (7/10):

    Solid again at right-back and seems to be growing in confidence.

    Victor Lindelof (6/10):

    Coped well enough at what little was thrown at him.

    Harry Maguire (5/10):

    Guilty of some clumsy moments on his return to the side. Also carelessly conceded a corner with an awful pass that went straight out of play.

    Luke Shaw (8/10):

    Returned to his usual left-back position and scored a fine second goal. Also involved in the third in an effective showing.

  • Casemiro Manchester United 2022-23

    Midfield

    Christian Eriksen (7/10):

    Put Casemiro's goal on a plate with a lovely free-kick.

    Casemiro (8/10):

    Seemed to be everywhere and got United up and running with a great finish on the volley.

    Donny van de Beek (6/10):

    Was having a decent game until injury forced him off.

  • Marcus Rashford Manchester United 2022-23

    Attack

    Bruno Fernandes (8/10):

    A quiet first half but was moved inside and became influential. Involved in Shaw's goal and then unselfishly set up Rashford.

    Marcus Rashford (8/10):

    Livelier in the second half and scored yet again to continue his great form.

    Anthony Martial (5/10):

    Didn't offer too much and when he did have a sight of goal he missed, heading a great Casemiro cross wide when it seemed easier to score.

  • Alejandro Garnacho Manchester United 2022-23

    Manager and Subs

    Alejandro Garnacho (7/10):

    Came on in the first half for Van de Beek. Teed up Shaw to make it 2-0 just after half-time and hit the post late on in a bright showing.

    Anthony Elanga (5/10):

    Made a mess of the only shot he had.

    Diogo Dalot (6/10):

    Looked lively in his short time on the pitch.

    Lisandro Martinez (N/A):

    Came on late and receive a huge welcome from the Old Trafford faithful following his World Cup triumph.

    Erik ten Hag (8/10):

    Freshened up his squad by bringing in Maguire, Lindelof, and Van de Beek and saw his team ease to a comfortable win. Suffered a blow when Van de Beek went on off but saw his substitute Garnacho set up United's second goal.