If the announcement of World Cup winning defender Raphael Varane didn’t generate enough buzz at Old Trafford, certainly the five-star performance from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s red devils would have been enough to give any United fan excitement for the season to come.
Here are five things, we learnt from United’s demolition of Yorkshire rivals Leeds.
1. United once again show their attacking prowess
Since Solskjaer took the Old Trafford hot-seat in March of 2019, United have scored five or more goals in 10 games, the free-scoring nature of the red devils is a joy to witness after the drab nature of the games under previous managers, once again it was on show at Old Trafford. Leeds were bamboozled by United’s attacking skill and fluidity.
After Luke Ayling’s stunner into the top corner from nearly 30-yards-out, United went from first to fourth gear, goals from Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Fred took the score from 1-1 to 5-1, the fluidity and movement from the United attack were superb.
Greenwood would often drop into the number 10 role and Fernandes would make the runs from deep which worked to great effect.
2.Bruno Fernandes once again shows his quality
Bruno Fernandes began his second full season at Old Trafford after an incredible Inaugural season in which he scored 28 goals and provided 17 assists, the Portuguese international was at it again with a fantastic hat-trick in United’s Old Trafford homecoming.
Fernandes opened the scoring after a beautiful ball into the space behind Leeds’ defence from Paul Pogba, Fernandes took it down and scored with his left foot despite Illian Meslier's best efforts.
Fernandes’ scored again after Pogba played in the talismanic number 10, he controlled it and spun after pressure from the Leeds defence before scoring. Despite the best efforts from Ayling who did his best to keep the ball out, but it wasn’t enough.
Fernandes’ third and his hattrick was the best of the bunch, after Sweden’s captain Victor Lindelof played a brilliant ball over the top into space, Fernandes controlled it and smashed the ball into the top corner, at the Stretford end in front of the adoring Old Trafford faithful.
3. Mason Greenwood shows his potential as a number nine
Throughout Greenwood’s young career, he has often been deployed as a winger mostly on the right due to Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani's presence in the number nine role. However, due to Cavani just arriving back in Manchester this week and Martial on the bench, Greenwood got his chance in the number 9 role.
It’s fair to say Greenwood took his chance. The 19-year-old forward’s ability with his back to goal, off the ball movement, and passing has improved hugely. The electric forward had 45 touches of the ball, with a passing accuracy of 88%. Greenwood also completed 5 dribbles out of the 9 attempted and scored a typically clinical finish from United’s number 11, after a beautiful through ball from Paul Pogba.
4. Scott Mctominay performs against Leeds once again
Scott Mctominay performing well against Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United is not foreign to United fans. The last time these two sides met at Old Trafford, it was another drubbing and Mctominay scored twice. Despite not scoring this time, Mctominay yet again performed superbly in the midfield.
Mctominay’s energy in the centre of the park and his strength in retaining the ball will be a valuable asset for United, his assets and his ability with and without the ball would make him a brilliant box to box midfielder. With an 83% passing accuracy, his distribution was brilliant and held his own alongside Fred in the midfield two.
5.United make a strong start to the season
United over the last few years, and indeed the previous two years under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have struggled in the opening few games of the season. Under the Norwegian’s tutelage, United have won just one game out of the three in both of their previous two seasons.
After United’s performance today, three wins out of three needs to be the aim. United travel to the south coast next weekend to face Southampton before facing Wolves at Molineux. Solskjaer will know that United will need to carry on their strong start to the season.