The departure of Aitor Karanka couldn’t change Middlesbrough’s fortunes as they were defeated 3-1 by Manchester United. United have moved up to the fifth spot dethroning Arsenal, who subsequently fell to the sixth position. This is the first time in the past 19 weeks that the Red Devils have moved out from the sixth place.
Fellaini’s first goal in the Premier League this season opened the scoring for the Red Devils. Ashley Young delivered an inch-perfect cross into the Boro penalty box and the Belgian midfielder headed home at the far post. Jesse Lingard then scored a bullet strike to double their lead. Boro came into the game after Rudy Gestede capitalised on a Chris Smalling mistake and pulled one back. But Antonio Valencia scored the third grasping on a gift by Valdes. The Ecuador international latched on to the ball after Victor Valdes had slipped while collecting a ball and tapped in to seal United’s 600th top flight win.
The best attacking player probably for United in the much-needed win. Boro are known for their solid defending and marking players. Mourinho’s decision of including Lingard in the starting lineup took the fans by surprise but he silenced his critics with a brilliant performance.
His constant movement and intent to find space in the Boro backline created opportunities for Rashford and Mata to move forward. His one-two and exchange of passes with Marcus Rashford was a delight to watch. His goal was also the result of his individual brilliance. He surged with the ball from his own half and took a shot from almost 30 yards which swerved away from Boro keeper Valdes and plunged into the goal.
As Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera were missing, he was deployed in the midfield alongside Michael Carrick. The Belgian midfielder isn’t a very popular figure among the United supporters after his atrocious foul in the box against Everton had cost United two valuable points. But he was one of the good players for United. He used his height to win the aerial balls in the midfield as well as to give United the lead.
Mourinho relied on the veteran midfielder once again and he repaid his faith with an absolutely top notch performance. The midfield general played the anchorman role beautifully and didn’t try to do anything out of the box. He gave the much-needed stability so that the attacking players could surge forward without any risks.
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