Football Features

“A warning shot for the Premier League” – Player ratings as Manchester United massacre Leeds 5-1

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 14:44, 14 August 2021

In a breathtaking afternoon of football, Manchester United lacerated Leeds, winning 5-1 at Old Trafford.

It was 1-0 at half-time and Leeds even equalised early into the second frame, but the Red Devils blew Leeds away with three goals in eight second-half minutes to hand themselves a historic opening day Premier League win.

Here’s how the players rated at Old Trafford:

Manchester United

David de Gea – 6 – Had very little to do. No chance with the Ayling strike.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 7 – Locked down the right-flank as always. Wasn’t asked to do too much more.

Victor Lindelof – 8 – Really impressive. With Raphael Varane being presented pre-match, Lindelof knew he had to ball out and did just that. Made more clearances than anyone else and played a lovely pass to set-up Fernandes’ hat-trick goal.

Harry Maguire – 8 – Rock solid at the back. Passed the ball superbly to keep United on the front-foot.

Luke Shaw – 8 – Won the ball back more than any other United player and used it really intelligently too. Played a really crucial pass in the build-up to United’s second.

Scott McTominay – 7 – Rampaging. Constantly closing down spaces and covering for his team-mates.

Fred – 8 – Did really well sweeping up after team-mates, constantly hustling. Even managed to get forward and scored the fifth goal.

Daniel James – 6 – In a match where every United player was at least great, James conspired to be just sort of alright. He pressed well and moved off the ball so smartly but he execution on the ball was awful.

Bruno Fernandes – 9 – At the hub of everything United did and so of course it was him that scored the opening goal, running onto a Pogba pass and, after a delirious first-touch, buried the ball underneath Meslier. Scored the second with a great turn and neat left-footed shot and his hat-trick effort saw him race beyond the Leeds back-line and thunder the ball home. Dread it, run from it, Bruno Fernandes arrives all the same. He is inevitable.

Paul Pogba – 9 – Massive early miss but redeemed himself with not one, not two, not three but FOUR assists. Each one a delightful bit of passing skill. The first a deft lifted, the second an outrageous 50 yard through-ball, the third a perceptive effort to split the defenders and the fourth a well-placed cutback. Already got more assists than he did in the whole of 2020/21 and this performance (from him as an individual and United as a team) was a warning shot for the Premier League.

Mason Greenwood – 8 – Liquid movement, fantastic dribbling and some perceptive passing. Greenwood was playing really well even before he raced behind the Leeds defence and lasered a pass low into the far corner to return the lead to United.


Nemanja Matic (for McTominay 69′) – 6 – Solid enough.

Anthony Martial (for Pogba 75′) – 5 – Couldn’t really get it going.

Jadon Sancho (for James 75′) – 6 – Some delightful touches and ambitious passes on his debut.

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Ilan Meslier – 5 – Really impressive early on. Some quality saves (one in particular to deny Greenwood) and dominated his area by coming to collect crosses. The temptation to blame him for United’s second-half barrage is high but honestly it was just three excellent finishes from Greenwood and Fernandes. He didn’t look great on Fred’s goal but by that point who was still counting?

Luke Ayling – 7 – Won the ball back well and scored a stunner to briefly draw Leeds level in the second-half.

Pascal Struijk – 4 – Couldn’t live with the rapid movement of the United forwards.

Liam Cooper – 6 – Really got stuck in but couldn’t keep United out.

Stuart Dallas – 5 – Struggled in the first-half as a left-back, switched to central midfield at half-time.

Robin Koch – 5 – Just nowhere near enough of a presence.

Mateusz Klich – 6 – Great early runs off the ball and looked like Leeds’ most dangerous player.

Rodrigo – 5 – Didn’t manage to impose himself in the first-half and was lost in the shuffle. Subbed off at half-time.

Raphinha – 6 – A dodgy backpass almost gave United an opening goal, but besides that he had some quality touches and really looked to drive Leeds forward.

Jack Harrison – 5 – Bottled up by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Patrick Bamford – 5 – Ran his heart out but was starved of service.


Junior Firpo (for Rodrigo 46′) – 6 – Looked lively. Not to blame for United’s assault.

Helder Costa (for Harrison 69′) – n/a – Couldn’t turn the tide of the game.

Tyler Roberts (for Bamford 77′) – n/a – Came on late.