Manchester United moved up to third as they hammered rivals Leeds United 6-2 in a frantic and breathtaking game at Old Trafford.
Plenty has been made about Manchester United‘s diabolical record at Old Trafford, coming into the game with just one win and three goals in the league at their famous stadium this season, ahead of the visit of one of their biggest rivals.
However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side came out of the traps like a team possessed and found themselves 2-0 up within three minutes.
The hosts pressed Marcelo Bielsa’s side from the off, and after 67 seconds, Bruno Fernandes laid the ball off to Scott McTominay who thumped it into the bottom right corner from the edge of the area to leave Illan Meslier flat-footed.
McTominay quickly made Premier League history as he became the first player to score twice in the opening three minutes, the Scotland international bursting from midfield, receiving a lovely reverse pass from Anthony Martial, before slotting tidily past Meslier with his left.
Two became three in the 20th minute, Fred driving the ball forward before laying it off to Martial. The Frenchman couldn’t get his shot off and was challenged by Luke Ayling in the box, but the ball fell to Bruno Fernandes who drilled his effort low past the 20-year-old ‘keeper.
Bruno Fernandes’ game by numbers vs. Leeds United:
9 ball recoveries
5 shots (2 on target)
3 chances created
Ridiculous. ⚽️⚽️🅰️ pic.twitter.com/DH4zAIx8E2
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 20, 2020
Leeds, in their usual style, remained keen to attack, a gameplan which seemed to play into the hands of Solskjaer’s side who looked to strike on the counter, and in the 37th minute they extended their lead, Victor Lindelof poking home at the back post after Martial had flicked on a corner.
Minutes later though and Leeds’ attacking approach paid dividends, Liam Cooper pulling one back from a corner with three minutes of the first half still to play as his header nestled into the net off the foot of the post.
The game continued at a frantic pace after the interval, and 20 minutes into the second-half United re-established their four goal lead. Scott McTominay embarking on a surging run forward, playing the ball into Dan James who burst into the box and slotted through the legs of Meslier, who really should have done better.
Five became six as Bruno Fernandes netted his second, the Portugal international stroking home from the spot after Martial was adjudged to have been brought down.
Leeds were undeterred and pulled another back as Stuart Dallas sent a lovely curling effort beyond David de Gea from the edge of the box to round off the scoring in a game that really could have seen a boatload more goals being scored if some of the finishing from both sides would have been better.
Man Utd have scored 6+ goals in a Premier League game for the first time since Alex Ferguson departed the club.
The first time in nine years. 😳 pic.twitter.com/rJUfqUx1pt
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 20, 2020
It was the first time Manchester United have netted six times since 2011, and lifted the Red Devils up to third with a game in hand, but Solskjaer insists he is not looking at the league table, though said his side could have scored 12.
“That was fantastic from the first minute,” he told Sky Sports. “We had a plan to get after them, go forwards when we had the ball and Scott McTominay got two goals in the first three minutes!
“We found a way of getting them going, Just imagine if there were 75,000 people in, it would have gone down in history as one of the great performances against Leeds.
“We had to earn the right by running as much as them, that’s a challenge. It could have been 12-4! It’s that kind of game.
“I enjoyed it, it was frantic, hectic. No matter what the score is they have a certain attitude or style, if they are 5-0 up or down.
“We are not even at the halfway point, the league position is not something we look at. We look at the improvement of the team.
“Now we are getting fitter and stronger. Our fans needed that one.”
Next up for Solskjaer’s side is a Carabao Cup quarter-final against Everton in midweek, before taking on Leicester at the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day.