Manchester United put their midweek woes behind with a comfortable 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town, while Alexis Sanchez got his first goal in a Red Devils shirt.
The Red Devils looked to bounce back to winning ways after their disappointing defeat at the hands of Tottenham on Wednesday. An unconvincing performance in the capital left the gap between United and rivals City at 15 points.
Mourinho’s men would also have been keen to exact revenge on the Terriers after David Wagner’s side picked up three points against United at the John Smith’s stadium in a famous victory for the West Yorkshire side.
But all eyes were on Alexis Sanchez today as he made his Old Trafford debut; the Chilean looked to prove his worth after an uninspiring display against Spurs.
A somewhat subdued first half with Huddersfield set a precedent for the nature of the match: attack versus defence. And after weathering the storm in the first half, the Terriers kept United at bay, with both sides going in at the interval goalless.
The second half proved to be a more lively affair with Lukaku getting on the scoresheet after finishing from a perfectly placed Juan Mata cross. Sanchez then doubled United’s lead in scrappy fashion, not that he will mind. After Lossl saved his penalty, he fired in the rebound to score his first goal for his new club.
Those were the major events of the game but what about the individual performances? Here’s how we feel each Manchester United player fared.
David De Gea – 6 – A quiet day for the Spaniard, such was United’s dominance on this game. With Huddersfield failing to register a shot on target, United’s number one did not have much to do.
Key stat: De Gea made his 300th Man Utd appearance against Huddersfield.
Antonio Valencia – 6 – A solid performance from the ever-reliable Ecuadorian. After being exposed in midweek, the wing-back bounced back with one of his trademark displays. Advantageous going forward, and defensively resolute, his manager will have no complaints.
Chris Smalling – 7 – After capitulating against Spurs in midweek, this was a much better performance from the England international. In truth, United’s defence were not called on often, but when The Terriers asked questions, Mourinho’s back line had the answers.
Marcus Rojo – 6 – Coming in for Phil Jones, the Argentine looked a lot more comfortable at the back than the England international. Forming a solid partnership with Smalling, the two never looked like being penetrated by Huddersfield today.
Luke Shaw – 6 – Coming into the side to replace Ashley Young, Shaw did an admirable job at left-back. The 22-year-old has struggled at Old Trafford since his big money move from Southampton, but if he can replicate the performance he showed today in other matches, then he could still have a bright future at United. Always willing to get forward, and looked ruthless defensively.
Scott McTominay – 7 – A big day for the young Scot being placed alongside Matic in a very physical central midfield. The youngster formed a formidable partnership with the Serb, and he flourished alongside him. Looked comfortable and in command.
Nemanja Matic – 7 – Calm and assured in possession, the former Chelsea midfielder gave a more assured account of himself to what we saw at Wembley. Lining up alongside McTominay instead of Pogba, the two provided excellent support for the forward players, and a calming screen for the defence.
Juan Mata – 8 – It’s a mystery how the little magician does not get more game time, but he certainly delivered today. Played a fantastic ball in to set up Lukaku’s first goal; a delivery the striker had been crying out for all game. The Spaniard produced a typical Mata display, deceptive jinks and inch-perfect passes.
Alexis Sanchez – 8 – A quiet first half, and perhaps glimmers of frustration were creeping in for the Chilean on his Old Trafford debut. But the second half witnessed the Sanchez of old, mazy runs and brilliant trickery, he deserved his second-half goal, even if it was one scored in a very un-Sanchez manner.
Key stat: Alexis Sanchez lost possession of the ball more times against Huddersfield (32) than any other Man United player has in a single Premier League game this season.
Key stat: No player has been fouled more times in a single Premier League match this season than Alexis Sanchez was against Huddersfield (7).
Alexis Sanchez’s game by number’s vs. Huddersfield:
57 (74%) passes completed
9 take-ons completed
5 tackles won
3 shots on target
3 chances created
First goal for United. pic.twitter.com/1va03Qrh6N
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 3, 2018
Jesse Lingard – 7 – The England international is thriving under the tutelage of Mourinho, becoming one of United’s more consistent and reliable players. Today was no different. It was an assured performance from Lingard, who is really cementing his place in the Portuguese manager’s first team plans. Comfortable on the ball, instinctively accurate with his passing, and always making himself available for his teammates.
Romelu Lukaku – 8 – A much better performance from the Belgium. After seeing Harry Kane produce a blistering performance and demonstrating all the key attributes a lone striker needs in midweek, Lukaku looked more assertive in this fixture. Better hold-up play, and more of an understanding between himself and Sanchez; a partnership could yet flourish there. A tidy finish today as well after slotting home in the 55th minute.
Romelu Lukaku has now been directly involved in 6 goals in his last 6 games for Man United in all competitions:
4 goals ⚽️
2 assists ️
Deadlock broken. pic.twitter.com/2QVkBwRKIS
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 3, 2018
Paul Pogba – 6 – Looked lively when he came on, the Frenchman certainly wanted to put his performance midweek behind him, but did not have enough time to stamp his dominance on this game.
Marcus Rashford – 6 – Again, looked lively enough when he came on, but did not have enough time to impose his quality on the match.
Anthony Martial – N/A – Only came on with 13 minutes left on the clock, but there were certainly glimmers of the Frenchman’s innate talent.
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