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Nottingham Forest 0-2 Manchester United: Three talking points as the Red Devils take the lead in the top-four race

Manchester United boosted their chances to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League by beating Nottingham Forest 2-0 at City Ground today.

Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof started in defence with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez sidelined with injuries.

Diogo Dalot also came into the side in place of Tyrell Malacia, who missed out due to a sore knee.

Marcel Sabitzer was named in the starting XI but was forced to withdraw from the team just minutes before kick-off due to a groin injury. Christian Eriksen replaced him, marking his first start since January 2023.

Anthony Martial led the line with Jadon Sancho and Antony on either flank.

Antony opened the scoring for United after Keylor Navas spilt Martial’s shot on his path. The Brazilian turned provider in the second half, assisting Dalot to double United’s lead. 

Here are our three talking points from this clash.

Spectacular Bruno Fernandes continues to deliver 

Fernandes put on a world-class performance at City Ground. He played as a number 10 with Eriksen and Casemiro behind him. He created the most chances (five) and had the most passes in the final third (36).

United’s number eight could have bagged a hat-trick if not for the three wonderful saves by Navas. Fernandes rightly won the Man of the Match award ahead of Antony who bagged a goal and an assist.

The midfielder maestro is a leader at the club and deserves to be United’s permanent captain next season.

Antony and Dalot step up

The Brazilian ace produced another lively performance after his impressive display against Sevilla in midweek.

He broke the deadlock by tapping the ball past Navas for his first league goal since October. 

Antony also played a perfectly weighted pass to Dalot, who fired his shot into the net to extend United’s lead. 

Dalot played as an inverted left-back as Malacia and Shaw were out injured. Apart from one error on the stroke of half-time, he took up some intelligent positions and excelled as an attacking full-back.

Top-four finish is not too far for Manchester United now

Victory over Nottingham Forest takes the Red Devils to third place in the league table. 

They are six points ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur and also have a game in hand.

It turned out to be a great weekend for Man United overall as Newcastle United and Spurs lost their respective games. 

The gap between the third and the fifth spot is a significant one. With eight league games to go, United are hot favourites to secure Champions League football for next season.