Football News

Man Utd 3-2 Nottingham Forest: Player ratings as the Red Devils stage another Premier League comeback

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 17:00, 26 August 2023

Manchester United dramatically returned to successful ways in the Premier League when they ran out 3-2 winners over Nottingham Forest this afternoon.

Erik ten Hag’s men have looked unconvincing heading into matchday three. A fortunate home win at Wolves’ expense papered the cracks that Tottenham exposed in their comfortable 2-0 win against the record 20-time English champions last weekend.

Forest, meanwhile, put a disappointing opening round loss at title contenders Arsenal with a slender 2-1 win at the expense of newcomers Sheffield United, and with United reeling Gary O’Neil fancied his side’s chances of returning home with a result.

In a game that had no right to be exhilarating, the hosts found themselves 2-0 down before five minutes had been played, Taiwo Awoniyi and Willy Boly with the goals. But with enough time United netted three goals — through Christian Eriksen, Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes — without reply. Forest also finished the encounter with 10 men after captain Joe Worrall saw red.

Here’s how the players rated at Old Trafford:

Manchester United

André Onana – 5 – A nightmarish start in only his second Old Trafford appearance. It took just 3 minutes and 47 seconds for Forest to go 2-0 up against Man Utd, the earliest the Red Devils have ever trailed by two goals in a Premier League game.

Diogo Dalot – 4.5 – The loss of Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia opened the door for Dalot to start at left-back. Made a vital interception seconds into the second half. 

Lisandro Martínez – 6.5 – The other side to his game shone this afternoon with Martínez completing 75 of his 79 attempted passes.

Raphaël Varane – 5.5 – His wealth of experience showed in crucial stages of the opening half. 

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 5 – Easily bullied in the air by Morgan Gibbs-White during the build-up to Forest’s opener. Wan-Bissaka, with 10 minutes remaining before half-time, saw a cross deflected goalwards and nearing beating Turner, the USA international just about made the save to keep Forest’s lead intact.

Christian Eriksen – 6 – Back in United’s starting lineup and halved the deficit with a neat touch.

Casemiro – 7.5 – Somehow missed an open goal from around six yards out. “Maybe it skips off the surface… I’m trying to find an excuse for him but he won’t sleep tonight if they don’t win this game,” came Tim Sherwood’s response on Soccer Saturday. However, you can’t keep a good man down, and Casemiro equalised from an even closer range.

Marcus Rashford – 7 – He was unable to close Awoniyi down but the England forward quickly made amends. His strong wing play resulted in Eriksen pulling one back and Fernandes ultimately securing all three points from 12 yards.

Bruno Fernandes – 8 – Earlier in the week Kevin De Bruyne described him as a ‘creative machine’, Fernandes lived up to his epithet with a nice cushioned header for Casemiro’s equalising goal. Ended with the winning goal after converting a 76th-minute spot kick.

Antony – 5.5 – A far more energetic performance from the much-maligned Brazilian forward who created three chances in this game, more than any other player on either team.

Anthony Martial – 4 – Another frustrating outing for Martial whose days at the club seemed numbered only a few months ago.

Substitutes:

Victor Lindelöf (for Varane 46) – 4 – Mere seconds after his introduction nearly put his teammates in danger. “Lindelof nearly cost them. I’m guessing the pace of Varane would have cleared that up,” Sherwood quipped.

Jadon Sancho (for Martial 60) – 3.5 – Even with 30 minutes to play the former Borussia Dortmund forward couldn’t impose himself into this game.

Scott McTominay (for Antony 85) – N/A – A late sub.


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Nottingham Forest

Matt Turner – 7 – Ended up being the busier of the goalkeepers having made no fewer than seven saves including a stunning effort to deny Antony.

Scott McKenna – 5.5 – No one was in possession more times from the visiting than McKenna when he was on the pitch. He finished with 24 accurate passes and 36 touches of the ball.

Joe Worrall – 3 – His flick on at the near post saw the ball hit Boly in the face and rebounded in to put Forest into an incredible 2-0 lead. He wouldn’t last the game after being sent off for bringing Fernandes down.

Willy Boly – 6.5 – There were two minutes and 18 seconds between the two Forest goals. He didn’t know too much about Forest’s second but ended up making a game-high eight clearances as well as attempting five tackles.

Ola Aina – 5 – The wing-back completed the most successful take-ons in a Forest jersey as well winning possession two fewer times than Danilo.

Ryan Yates – 5 – A resolute performance from the Forest midfielder, who succeded winning three of his four attempted tackles.

Danilo – 4 – The more defensive of Forest’s central midfield duo. Danilo came up with some pivotal interceptions as United started to get in the ascendancy but conceded a clumsy penalty.

Sèrge Aurier – 4 – First player into Stuart Attwell’s book after bringing Antony down to stop a counter-attack.

Morgan Gibbs-White – 5.5 – Won a key header inside his own half that set Awoniyi on his way to put the visitors in front.

Brennan Johnson – 4.5 – Despite his side’s fast start Brennan Johnson was unable to get anywhere near troubling Onana in United’s goal.

Taiwo Awoniyi – 6 – Became the first Forest player to score in seven consecutive Premier League games. “Unbelievable! He’s run the whole length of the field. Out-muscled, out-paced and then he slides it past Onana. What a brilliant finish that was,” said Sherwood.

Substitutes:

Moussa Niakhaté (for McKenna 56) – 4 – Seldom featured once introduced.

Cheikhou Kouyaté (for Johnson 70) – 4 – Came on following Worrall’s dismissal with the instruction of keeping things solid and defending the 2-2 scoreline, but it wasn’t to be.

Chris Wood (for Awoniyi 81) – N/A – A late sub.

Anthony Elanga (for Danilo 81) – N/A – A late sub.

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