Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba starred in a scintillating squad display as Manchester United turned on style in their rout of a Leeds side that ended in shock and desperate for the referee, Paul Tierney, whistle.
Last season’s corresponding game had beaten Leeds 6-2, but it was a much finer display of United which was a study of effervescent and powerful football. Fernandes finished with a hat-trick and Pogba as conductor, his streak of assists illustrating precisely why Ole Gunnar Solskjær appreciates him so dearly.
“Impressive: Paul has this vision, he has this quality,” Solskjær said of Pogba, whose assists were four – a United record in the competition.
The Norwegian, however, has praised all of his players. “I know the headlines will probably be on Bruno or Paul, but it’s a team effort.
“The Mason space [Greenwood] creates for Bruno when the two open the channels has been worked on this week. I am also very impressed with Paul’s level of fitness. He looks fine, ready to go. I love to see Paul, Bruno, all these guys smile, enjoy their football.
“It was a perfect day in that regard. Love the 12:30 p.m. kickoff – just driving with the fans outside you step inside and feel the energy, absolutely awesome. It has been a very good day. It’s Manchester United – everyone together.
For the neutral, too, it was an enthusiastic throwback to a sold-out Old Trafford that featured two sides battling like cruising weights in front of a crowd whose volume level pushed the needle into the red throughout.
Fernandes’ skillful strike in the first half came at a fast pace that will delight Solskjær. Halfway through, Scott McTominay sent the ball to Pogba, whose instant throw saw Fernandes shoot the pass with a touch of a feather, then beat Illan Meslier with a finish that knocked down the keeper’s right leg.
United were set up in Solskjær’s usual 4-2-3-1, 17 months after the last full house at the stadium. Next, 73,288 saw Manchester City fall 2-0 in the derby which ended in raptures as McTominay scored the second from 40 yards in an empty goal.
This time around, the midfielder had Fred by his side to form a partnership that may lack flair and that has been lined up due to a reshuffle of the attack with Pogba pushed to the top, as Anthony’s condition Martial was only sufficient for a replacement role, where he was joined by Jadon Sancho, the summer signing of £ 73million.
An ever-present roar began with Raphael Varane’s pre-kickoff parade as his extended transfer was finally sealed (subject to international clearance) as Sancho would enter for his debut, alongside Martial, at the 74 minutes.
The United ascendant lacked the killer touch of new finishes when the interval arrived and that is how the second half started with all the results still possible. For this, Marcelo Bielsa presented the new signing, Junior Firpo, Rodrigo making way, and soon his team was up to speed.
It was an end to remember, as Luke Ayling, right-back, picked up Stuart Dallas, who stepped forward and let fly a peach that was still moving away from David de Gea, much to the fans’ delight. itinerant.
That same emotion was about to sweep over their counterpart as United embarked on an irresistible goal scramble. Their second strike was even nicer than the previous two in the game, a scintillating back-to-front streak that saw Luke Shaw find Pogba in traffic near the United zone. A sublime 40-meter balloon from No.6 slipped past Pascal Struijk into the Mason Greenwood galloping path along the left. The forward skated to an angle, then beat Meslier with a finish that hit the far post.
Seconds later, there were more. In this mood, Pogba is the world batsman he can be presented as, able to dictate when the goal is passed. So his next contribution was a disguised bullet that hit Fernandes. The No.10 performed a mix of shoes that left defenders fidgeting and allowed him to score with his left goal line technology confirming that Ayling’s clearance came too late.
While it was extremely enjoyable for the united congregation, they then entered Dreamland thanks, in part, to the unlikely figure of Victor Lindelöf. The Swede is seriously threatened by the arrival of Varane so the best response is to improve quality. The ball in Fernandes looked like that of a seasoned schemer as it took his team-mate clear and the talisman ball shattered the net for United’s second Premier League hat-trick since Robin van Persie won the title 2012-13 here.
He said: “The joy is really good – I’m going to call my wife and hear my kids say, ‘the ball is coming home’. It’s amazing, you can’t describe this feeling.
On a memorable opening day, the goals kept coming. Greenwood played an indirect pass into Pogba and he – again – was the supplier, passing the ball to Fred, who can be slandered but whose finish made it 5-1 and tied his last term total. .
In the end it was the perfect start for the home side and a total nightmare for Leeds. “The succession of three goals in such a short time [second half] time has overcome us, ”said Bielsa. “Losing the path we have lost cannot be described as a simple blow. “