Football Features

“His attitude never wavers” – Man Utd player ratings as Solskjaer’s side ease past Tranmere

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 17:06, 26 January 2020

In a one-sided afternoon of football, Manchester United thrashed Tranmere 0-6 in the FA Cup.

Tranmere started fast but United soon put their foot down, took the lead and never let up. After two  consecutive defeats to Liverpool and Burnley it was important the Red Devils bounced back and they did just that. Here’s how the United players rated at Prenton Park:

Manchester United

Sergio Romero – 7 – Made some solid stops and dominated his penalty area from start to finish. Comfortably the best goalkeeper available to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer right now. You wonder what it will take for him to start in the league.

Victor Lindelof – 7 – Rampaged forward with glee as Solskjaer’s system gave him license to push United forward. Defended well too, although you can’t help but want to see Aaron Wan-Bissaka play this role.

Phil Jones – 8 – For the second game in a row, Jones has been reliable at the back for United. Given his unfortunate history you can’t help but feel that an injury is coming, but for now he’s playing very well. Scored a towering back-post header to make it 4-0.

Harry Maguire – 9 – This was the Maguire that Manchester United fans wanted to see. The United captain definitely understood what kind of game this was and drove into the Tranmere half from the start. He defended well too, but he really seized the initiative.

It was from one of these raids forward that Maguire rocketed United into the lead with one hell of a strike and another one led to Jesse Lingard adding a third. Maguire needs to do better, and perhaps this 3-5-2 shape will allow him to thrive as he once did for England.

Diogo Dalot – 8 – Whilst Wan-Bissaka is an elite defender he isn’t the best attacker. With Ethan Laird also desperate for minutes, this was a timely display from Dalot, who reminded everyone of his qualities. Dalot has an insistence about him that serves him well. Was United’s width all afternoon and scored a frankly brilliant goal to double United’s early lead and really get the Red Devils on their way.

Andreas Pereira- 7 – Worked the middle of the field well, manoeuvring the ball into position for his team-mates. Not good enough for the Premier League but too good for League One.

Nemanja Matic – 7 – Defended well in the early going as United faced pressure. After that he helped push the ball forward. A solid display that saw him subbed at half-time to preserve him for the wars to come. Until United sign a defensive midfielder (which doesn’t look likely) or Scott McTominay returns, Matic is precious to Solskjaer’s side.

Luke Shaw – 7 – United’s width on the left all night long. Never looked in trouble defensively and whilst he did blow a couple of chances to pick up an assist in the first-half, he did eventually bag one after a simple lateral pass to Anthony Martial.

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Jesse Lingard – 9 – The best player on the park for the Red Devils. Made light of the terrible pitch and thrived against the lower league opposition, buzzing all around the pitch and playing in his team-mates with solid passes. His dribbling and pressing set the tempo for United and he bagged a nice goal to start 2020 in a positive manner after an absolutely horrible 2019 on a personal level.

Throughout the difficulties, Lingard’s attitude never wavered and today he showed that if United can find creativity from elsewhere, his off-the-ball movement and pressing could be of massive use to the team going forward. A goalscorer and tempo-setter, could 2020 be his year?

Anthony Martial – 7 – Often lackadaisical and misfires as much as he hits. However, his movement and intelligent is so important for United in the final third. Has even more pressure on his shoulders now Marcus Rashford is out injured, but if he can stay as ruthless as he was today then perhaps it’s not all doom and gloom for Solskjaer’s side.

Mason Greenwood – 8 – The young sharpshooter was fluid despite the tricky conditions. Greenwood floated about the pitch, always getting involved. Effortlessly stroked home a penalty for United’s sixth (with his right-foot, which is baffling as if you have watched him this season you’d have sworn he was left-footed) and could have had more but for some promising blocks. Still, 10 goals for the season as a teenager and the fastest Red Devil to reach double figures since Norman Whiteside is not to be sniffed at. An immensely promising talent.

Substitutes:

Tahith Chong (for Martial 46′) – 6 – Worked hard, won the penalty for United’s sixth.

Fred (for Matic 46′) – 7 – Absolutely class in the 45 minutes he had on the pitch. Sprayed the ball around with ease and kept United constantly looking forward.

Brandon Williams (for Maguire 64′) – 6 – Defended well.

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