Man United vs Nottingham Forest key battles

Manchester United entertain Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford on Tuesday as the two sides resume Premier League action following the World Cup break.

The Red Devils headed into the mid-season break on the back of a last-gasp 2-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage thanks to substitute Alejandro Garnacho’s winner. They are fifth in the table and will want to continue their good home form.

Nottingham Forest, on the other hand, are in big trouble as they find themselves 18th in the table. Steve Cooper’s side had beaten Crystal Palace 1-0 in their last game before the break and returned to competitive action last week with a 4-1 routing of Blackburn Rovers in the EFL Cup, so they will head to Old Trafford with some confidence.

On that note, let us take a look at the key battles that could play a vital role in determining the outcome of the game.

Jesse Lingard vs Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Jesse Lingard returns to his former club for the first time after he was released by Man United at the end of last season.

The English midfielder has not made as much of an impact for Nottingham Forest as he would’ve liked to, failing to assist or score a goal in 13 Premier League outings so far. But having netted in the 4-1 win over Blackburn Rovers in the EFL Cup fourth round, Lingard will head to Old Trafford with some confidence as he looks to prove a point to his ex-employers.

As Lingard is expected to start on the left of a front three, Aaron Wan-Bissaka could be the man he comes up against. As Diogo Dalot is injured, Wan-Bissaka should deputise him at right-back having impressed in Man United’s 2-0 success over Burnley in the EFL Cup last week.

The United full-back has barely played this season and might be a bit rusty on his first league start, so Lingard could look to take advantage.

Bruno Fernandes vs Ryan Yates

Bruno Fernandes has been a mainstay in Erik ten Hag’s side, and his energy, creativity and vision make Man United tick in midfield. He has quickly developed a nice understanding with Christian Eriksen, whose presence in a deeper role has helped the Portuguese playmaker have more of an influence in the final third.

Fernandes is a certainty to start in his preferred no.10 role against Forest. Wary of Fernandes’ threat, Forest coach Steve Cooper could instruct Ryan Yates to keep a close watch on him. Yates has been Forest’s standout player this season, bringing a lot of energy, intensity and physicality to the side.

If the 25-year-old midfielder can somehow disrupt the Eriksen-Fernandes partnership and limit their influence in the final third, Forest’s chances of causing an upset at Old Trafford will become higher.

#Marcus Rashford vs Neco Williams

Marcus Rashford seems to have found his mojo under Ten Hag after a poor last campaign. He is Man United’s top scorer with nine goals in all competitions, and scored a brilliant solo goal in the 2-0 win over Burnley in the EFL Cup.

In form and raring to go, Rashford could pose the biggest threat to Forest. With Rashford expected to start on the left flank, Neco Williams will be tasked to deal with the Man United star. Williams is naturally an enterprising full-back but he will have to curb his attacking instincts to contain Rashford.

Rashford is direct and likes to exploit spaces behind the defence, so Williams has to be aggressive and snappy in tackles whenever he comes 1v1 with the United forward.

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