A Bruno Fernandes hat-trick helped Manchester United get their Premier League campaign off to a dream start with a convincing 5-1 win over Leeds United.
Both Fernandes and Paul Pogba, who himself grabbed four assists this afternoon, more in 90 minutes than the entirety of last season, were absolutely sublime for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side as the Red Devils ran riot at Old Trafford.
Fernandes will likely take the lion’s share of the headlines but Pogba showed just how crucial he will be to Man United’s title challenge this season. It wasn’t just the quantity of assists he provided today, but it was the quality too. If they can get him playing like this all season, supplying the ever-deadly Fernandes, then only a fool would underestimate them.
The win also came hot on the heels of the signing of Real Madrid defender Raphaël Varane on a four-year contract and the Frenchman was officially unveiled on the pitch moments before kick-off.
Early in the first half, Pogba had a glorious opportunity to get his first Premier League goal at Old Trafford since April 2019. The Frenchman was released through on goal down the left with just Illan Meslier to beat but his lifted effort towards goal drifted inches wide. It was a spectacular miss but he redeemed himself and then some.
He played a pivotal role in the game’s opener, floating a sumptuous ball over the Leeds defence. Fernandes was there to bring it down with a sublime first touch and he promptly sent the ball through Meslier’s legs to break the deadlock. The Portuguese star has now been directly involved in more goals (48) than any other player since making his debut for the club in the Premier League.
The crowd are loving every single moment of this! 😍
The Red Devils have put on a show in front of the Old Trafford faithful 👌
Leeds had proved that they could be dangerous on the counter and they made the home side, who were caught napping, pay with a stunning strike from Luke Ayling to bring the scores level at the start of the second half. But any chance of a Leeds turnaround was dashed in an utterly bonkers ten minutes or so that saw Man United go 4-1 to the good.
First, Pogba played an inch-perfect pass in behind Ayling which Mason Greenwood latched onto to retake the lead. Then, just a minute later, Pogba was the creator again, releasing Fernandes into space down the left to fire through the Leeds defence. Fernandes sealed his hat-trick shortly after that, this time with Victor Lindelof as the provider, rifling in an unstoppable first-time effort.
Leeds will have been desperate to avoid a repeat of that 6-2 December hammering to Man United last season, but even the most optimistic of fans will have been forgiven for believing they were witnessing the same thing again when Fred made it five. Pogba, once again at the heart of things, picked up on a Greenwood flick before cutting a ball back to the edge of the box where the late-arriving Fred swept it into the back of the net.
A packed out Old Trafford, Varane’s arrival, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes at their absolute best and a 5-1 win over bitter rivals Leeds. It’s only the first game of the season, but Manchester United couldn’t have asked for a better start to a title-challenging campaign. This season is going to be fun.