Seeking to set a record at Old Trafford on their return to the Premier League, Manchester United headed for a 3-0 win against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.
Firmly aiming for a return to the Champions League this season, Erik ten Hag’s men have put on a brilliant display on home soil, with goals from Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Fred to secure all three points.
Now with just one point to go in the top four, United really couldn’t ask for a better performance as they marked their comeback from the World Cup holiday break.
Continuing to impress after a disturbing start to the 2022/23 campaign, the former Ajax boss has now seen his team suffer just one Premier League defeat since 2 October.
By putting more pressure on the Nottingham Forest team, which is at the center of the relegation quarrel, we have covered the main topics for discussion.
Are United gearing up for a 2023 blockbuster?
While Manchester United may have started ten Hag’s career with a dismal start as they suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats, the English heavyweights have bounced back in a way.
Heading into the holiday break in the World Cup with a recent 2-1 win over Fulham, Tuesday’s hosts have amassed nine points in their last four top-level matches.
Having felt defeated in the Premier League just once since the start of October, and truly drawing attention with their free goal, Old Trafford fans are demanding a top-four finish in the New Year.
The mood in their camp seems to have been at its highest level, and the Red Devils also continue to build a reputation for their extended purple spot on home soil.
Including a 3-0 draw on Tuesday, United have amassed 16 points in just their last six Premier League games at Old Trafford, a streak that began on 7 August.
Watching Tottenham have to settle for a 2-2 draw away to Brentford on Boxing Day, ten Hag must feel they are in a winning position to win the Champions League.
Rashford expands its purple lot
When it was announced during the World Cup break that Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo had finally finalized their nasty divorce, Old Trafford fans wondered who would be the top ten hag player in the second half of the season.
While the former Premier League champions may still be looking to get some attacking reinforcements during the January transfer window, the ex-Ajax boss will be very excited about Rashford’s extended purple spot on both sides of the break.
Having won plenty of praise while away with England in Qatar after scoring three goals in the World Cup, the homegrown United star appears to be back to his best and caused a string of problems for Forest’s holey defense on Tuesday night.
The scoring was opened just 19 minutes later and a few minutes later he scored a superb assist on Martial’s second goal. Unsurprisingly, the 25-year-old has been linked with a potential move to French giants PSG in recent weeks.
Having been on the scoresheet with United’s 2-0 victory over champions Burnley in the EFL Cup last week, Rashford only continues to prove he can be attacking MVP ten Hag in their quest to bring back the Champions League.
Cooper’s headache on the road
While Nottingham Forest may have extended their own EFL Cup adventure last week by claiming they won 4-1 away at Blackburn, Steve Cooper’s side should have known they were in for the real test on Tuesday night.
While Willy Boly may have seen VAR eventually rule out his first-half try after a lengthy test, the returnees from the Premier League failed to land a big hit against the top four opponents.
Despite a long-awaited 1-0 home win over Crystal Palace at the World Cup winter break, the former Swansea manager is still at the center of a relegation battle.
Shocking many as they welcomed over 20 newcomers to the City Ground over the summer, Forest has yet to win back-to-back Premier League wins since their return to the top flight.
Still sitting in 19th place and many feel they have a tough fight ahead of them in 2023, Tuesday’s visitors also continue to show some pretty egregious problems on the road.
In fact, including a 3-0 draw, Forest have only scored a couple of points in eight Premier League away games this season.
Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Varan, Shaw, Malasia, Casemiro, Eriksen, Anthony, Fernandes, Rashford, Martial
Subscriptions: Maguire, Fred, Garnacho, Elanga, van de Beek
Nottingham Forest: Hennessy, Aurier, Worrall, Pain, Lodi, Mangala, Freuler, Yates, Johnson, Lingard, Avoni
Subscriptions: Dennis, Surridge, Toffolo, O’Brien, Williams
Goals: Rashford 19′, Martial 22′, Fred 87′
Yellow cards: Manchester United: Malasia, Eriksen – Nottingham Forest: Mangala
Red cards: N/A
Judge: Anthony Taylor