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Player ratings as awful Red Devils fall back into crisis


Manchester United tumbled right back into chaos on Saturday evening with an abysmal 2-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest.

With fans cautiously optimistic after the comeback win over Aston Villa, United put on an attacking disasterclass which saw them struggle to get shots on goal and they deservedly fell behind to a strike from Nicolas Dominguez after the break.

A mistake from Forest goalkeeper Matt Turner handed Marcus Rashford an equaliser but parity would not last long as Morgan Gibbs-White pounced on some poor defending to secure a well-earned three points for Nuno Espirito Santo’s men.

How the game unfolded

Dominguez saw a strike blocked inside the opening minute as Forest made a bright start to proceedings, while an uncomfortable clearance from Raphael Varane gave goalkeeper Andre Onana a huge scare when the ball ricocheted perilously across his goal line.

United’s first actual shot came in the 33rd minute as Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s strike from outside the box was blocked and comfortably rolled into the gloves of Turner.

The first 45 minutes were by no means entertaining for the neutral. United won the possession battle, 53% to 47%, but despite Forest managing six shots, Wan-Bissaka’s tame effort was the only strike on target from either team before the interval. Surely it couldn’t get worse?

Diogo Dalot fizzed an excellent long-range effort towards goal ten minutes into the second half, but the left-back could only watch on as his strike crashed back off Turner’s post and away from danger.

Just as United were threatening to do something of note, they were picking the ball out the back of the net. Dominguez was stood in acres of space in the box and easily steered home Gonzalo Montiel’s low cut-back.

United were soon handed a lifeline, however. Turner’s kicking had been atrocious throughout and a stunning error from the United States international gifted Rashford with a routine equaliser 12 minutes from time.

Just three minutes later and Forest were back in front. Turner made a nice save to kickstart a counter and it was finished off by Gibbs-White, who drifted towards the edge of the penalty area and curled a lovely effort into the bottom corner to re-establish the home side’s deserved lead.

Turner did well to tip a Bruno Fernandes strike over the bar late on, ending his nightmare evening on a high by securing all three points for Forest.

Morgan Gibbs-White

Gibbs-White netted the winner / Michael Regan/GettyImages

GK: Matt Turner – 4/10 – Barely tested with his hands but Turner was awful with his feet. Some huge mistakes early on and the stopper quickly abandoned all precision with his passing. One of many errors led to Rashford’s equaliser. Partly redeemed himself with a huge save to deny Fernandes late on.

RB: Gonzalo Montiel – 8/10 – Rarely looked scared by Garnacho and brought plenty of energy up and down the right. A smart pass for Dominguez’s goal.

CB: Moussa Niakhate – 7/10 – Stood firm and knocked United back whenever they tried to move forwards.

CB: Murillo – 6/10 – Some tidy passing from the youngster, who kept things ticking around the back for Forest.

LB: Ola Aina – 7/10 – Too much energy for Antony. Caused problems going forwards as well but was too isolated out on the left.

DM: Danilo – 7/10 – A classy showing. Hounded United’s midfielders to recover possession and did well with the ball at his feet.

DM: Ryan Yates – 7/10 – Seemed to get far too much pleasure out of doing the dirty work. Embraced his defensive work and ended up on the receiving end of several fouls, all while wearing a smile on his face.

RM: Anthony Elanga – 6/10 – Really impressive work rate to get up and down the pitch. As likely as anyone in a Forest shirt to make something happen.

AM: Morgan Gibbs-White – 7/10 – Man-marked Mainoo out of the first half before popping up with the all-important goal late on. A solid performance.

LM: Nicolas Dominguez – 7/10 – Asked to play in an inverted role which left Aina all alone out wide. Dominguez was active in the midfield battle and took his goal well.

ST: Chris Wood – 4/10 – Worked hard but barely got on the ball.

Substitutes

SUB: Neco Williams (74′ for Montiel) – 6/10

SUB: Callum Hudson-Odoi (79′ for Dominguez) – 5/10

SUB: Harry Toffolo (87′ for Aina) – N/A

SUB: Orel Mangala (87′ for Danilo) – N/A

SUB: Willy Boly (87′ for Elanga) – N/A

Subs not used: Odisseas Vlachodimos (GK), Nuno Tavares, Joe Worrall, Cheikhou Kouyate

Manager

Nuno Espirito Santo – 7/10 – Forest weren’t actually very good here but they were better than United, and that’s Nuno’s job at the end of the day.

Antony, Morgan Gibbs-White

Antony was particularly poor / DARREN STAPLES/GettyImages

GK: Andre Onana – 5/10 – A spectator for the most part. Couldn’t do a whole lot for either goal.

RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 4/10 – Offered so little in attack. United needed better movement to try and unlock Antony. Strolled away from Gibbs-White for the winner, for some reason.

CB: Raphael Varane – 6/10 – Clearly tried to make something happen in attack. Played several nice passes but was carrying the team’s attack for the majority of the game.

CB: Jonny Evans – 6/10 – A little too safe in possession. Legs appeared to disappear as the clock ticked on.

LB: Diogo Dalot – 6/10 – Given an inverted role. Got into all the right possessions, which is encouraging for the future, but his actual impact was a little all over the place.

DM: Kobbie Mainoo – 4/10 – Marked into oblivion by Gibbs-White before being hooked at the break for tactical reasons. A harsh rating but he simply couldn’t get involved.

DM: Christian Eriksen – 2/10 – Did not offer a lot at all. Played some really poor passes and looked to have run out of steam even before half-time.

RM: Antony – 2/10 – The drop-off compared to Garnacho on the right against Aston Villa was mental. Just absolutely no threat at all. Went off injured.

AM: Bruno Fernandes – 3/10 – Struggled to get involved and was far too wasteful when he did find space. Not a reliable passer.

LM: Alejandro Garnacho – 4/10 – Struggled up against Montiel and failed to replicate his heroic form from last week.

ST: Marcus Rashford – 5/10 – Found time on the ball incredibly hard to come by. Took his free handout well.

Substitutes

SUB: Scott McTominay (46′ for Mainoo) – 4/10

SUB: Amad Diallo (54′ for Antony) – 5/10

SUB: Sergio Reguilon (90′ for Wan-Bissaka) – N/A

Subs not used: Altay Bayindir (GK), Willy Kambwala, Hannibal Mejbri, Donny van de Beek, Dan Gore, Facundo Pellistri

Manager

Erik ten Hag – 3/10 – What was this? What was the plan here? Players must take some blame for this level of performance but it seemed like there wasn’t even an ounce of a game plan.

Player of the match: Gonzalo Montiel (Nottingham Forest)



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