Manchester United marked their return to Premier League football in thumping fashion. The 5-1 win over Leeds United showed promise, hunger, and brilliance- all the things Ole Gunnar Solskjær will be eager for as he seeks that elusive piece of silverware.
An excellent Bruno Fernandes hattrick highlighted a goal-laden fixture before a full house Old Trafford crowd after 17 months of closed doors. Mason Greenwood and Fred likewise made their contributions to the scoreline while Marcelo Bielsa only had Luke Ayling’s goal as consolation.
Here’s what the triumphant Old Trafford crowd took back after the opening week fixture-
1. Back in Style, On Top in Style
Solskjær did not mince words when he stated his intent for silverware prior to the game. With this statement victory, the Red Devils have made their mark, even as title contenders Man City and Chelsea await their chances to make their impact after splurging big in the summer transfer window.
For the time being however, it is Manchester United atop the Premier League table. Having said that, no league has ever been decided on the opening week, and the Norwegian gaffer will have to be careful to not let this hype get to the side. Next stop- away to Southampton.
2. Victor Lindelof
Raphael Varane certainly got the first batch of applause of the afternoon as his official unveiling gave the Old Trafford faithful much joy.
It is apparent that Victor Lindelof took much inspiration from that and his performance in the game was telling. In particular, his assist to Fernandes’ third goal will be a statement on his part. Well-placed, well-found, and displaying something that Varane is yet to attempt at Old Trafford.
3. Pogba’s Super Hat-trick of Assists
Much was said about Paul Pogba’s previous season being lacklustre. As such, it comes as no surprise that the Frenchman hushed his critics in style, first equalling the number of assists he had registered in the entirety of last season in less than an hour and then going one ahead and stamping his authority with four supreme assists to his name.
The assist charts have his name atop as well, and it is fair to say that even Bruno Fernandes will be looking to get a bite out of that pie.
4. Jadon Sancho Debut
The sheer excitement of the flurry of goals ensured that the actual expected highlight of the game, namely Sancho’s debut, did not stand alone as the game’s talking point.
Regardless, the Theatre of Dreams gave the Mancunian lad a rousing welcome which he lent cadence to with his few minutes on the pitch. A debut goal to round up the day’s excellence was missing, but with only four training sessions under his name, it is fair to say that the 21-year-old will ease his way into regular football.
5. Same old Story with Leeds
After a season back in the top-flight, one would have assumed that Bielsa would have learned his lessons and returned to the tactical strategies with a different approach.
However, this game did not display any learning arc. Rather, Leeds were lacklustre once the Red Devils took charge of the game and yet again a failure to adapt to the dynamics of the fixture resulted in disappointment.
In particular, Solskjær, who by now must have become an expert at cracking Bielsa’s tactical codes after the 6-2 thumping from last year, once more encouraged his side to take advantage of the counter-attacking weakness of the opposition.
Other teams better be taking notes as an entertaining outfit seems eager to provide goalfests on a regular basis.