Manchester United finished at the top of their Europa League group following a convincing 4-0 triumph over AZ Alkmaar at Old Trafford in the final matchday.
The Red Devils appeared second best to the Dutch outfit for most of the opening half but they managed to turn things around after the break with four goals scored in the space of 12 minutes.
Mason Greenwood was among the pick of the players with two goals and an assist but the likes of Juan Mata and Ashley Young also bagged their first goals of the season in the 4-0 rout of Alkmaar.
Three things we learned:
Greenwood showcases his quality: The 18-year-old has been one of the most talked about players within the United setup and he produced a sublime second-half display against Alkmaar. The teenager bagged two goals with strong left-footed shots and in between, he won a penalty which allowed Mata to score his first goal of the campaign. Greenwood’s style of play has seen many United fans comparing him to former star Robin van Persie due to his two-footed ability and shooting prowess. His performance on Thursday should enhance his prospects of earning more playing time in the Premier League, where he has mostly made cameo appearances off the bench.
Andreas Pereira produces an improved display: The Brazil international has come for regular criticism from the supporters in the past few months where he has been disappointing with his distribution in the final third while being regularly dispossessed. However, he came up with a much improved display against Alkmaar as he managed more tackles (3) than any other United player while he was hugely influential towards the opening goal as a dainty backheel bamboozled two Alkmaar defenders near the corner flag before Juan Mata provided the assist for Young’s strike. He also had five shots but there were a couple of instances where he should have passed the ball forward instead of going for goal.
Manchester United picking up form: The beginning of December undoubtedly provided United with their biggest test of the season as they came up against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in successive league games. The Red Devils faithful would have been pleased to avoid defeats against both sides but the club have done much better with convincing 2-1 victories. The Mancunian giants have carried on the momentum with a 4-0 rout of Alkmaar and they are now facing a winnable round of fixtures which should aid their top-four prospects. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are currently within five points off Chelsea, who are occupying the final spot for next season’s Champions League group stage.
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