Manchester United swamps Nottingham Forest, goes third despite Navas
Antony scored a goal and set up a Diogo Dalot marker as Manchester United navigated its injury list to go third with a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Sunday.
Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof played well in place of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez, though Maguire will count himself lucky to avoid a handball call that’s been given more times than not this season.
WATCH NOTTINGHAM FOREST vs MANCHESTER UNITED FULL MATCH REPLAY
Truthfully the game could’ve been over a lot earlier were it not for Forest goalkeeper Keylor Navas, whose saves and interventions left the game 1-0 until the final 15 minutes.
Man United pulls into third with 59 points, three more than Newcastle United. Spurs sit fifth with 53 points and Villa has 50 but the duo have played one more game than Man United and Newcastle. Seventh-place Brighton and eighth-place Liverpool are off the points pace but have two matches-in-hand on their third- and fourth-place targets.
Forest is now winless in 10-straight Premier League matches. The Tricky Trees stay 18th with 27 points, level with 17th-place Everton and two points back of Leeds United. Leeds has a match-in-hand.
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Maguire, Lindelof stand tall as Man Utd finally unravels Navas
It wasn’t quite “No Varane, no Lisandro, no problem” and it was against a less-than-dangerous opponent, but Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof backed up manager Erik ten Hag’s faith in their capabilities.
Maguire was fortunate to avoid a handball call early but it was on a cross into a mess of bodies, while Lindelof was essentially error free as the duo combined with 18 recoveries and nine clearances.
Throw-in a very comfortable David De Gea and United enjoyed their challenge before coming out scot-free. This would’ve been a 4-0 or 5-0 cruise on a day without Keylor Navas between the sticks at the other end.
Nottingham Forest vs Manchester United player ratings: Stars of the Show
Keylor Navas: Five saves in facing a collective 3.82 expected goals.
Antony: Busy in all the good ways, setting up a goal after scoring his marker.
Bruno Fernandes: Five shots and five chances created... could’ve had a rare header goal just before half.
Christian Eriksen: Not bad at all for a player who wasn’t supposed to start until Marcel Sabitzer was hurt in warm-ups.
Man United goes to Sevilla on Thursday before a weekend FA Cup semifinal date with Brighton.
Nottingham Forest gets nearly a week off before a trip to Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday.
Antony goal video: Rebound goal puts Red Devils in front
Diogo Dalot goal video: Antony turns provider
How to watch Nottingham Forest vs Manchester United live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 11:30 am ET, Sunday TV channel: USA Network Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
As if blowing a 2-0 lead in the final six minutes wasn’t bad enough, defenders Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez both suffered foot injuries that could keep each starting center back out for the rest of the season, in the Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday. As such, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof will likely form the starting duo for the majority of games the rest of the way. Luke Shaw remains a doubt for Sunday’s game after missing the last two games with a thigh injury.
Man United’s sudden injury crisis will give Nottingham Forest reason to believe they can cause an upset and snap their nine-game winless skid (0W-3D-6L). Of course, injuries remain an issue for the Reds, leaving Steve Cooper no choice but to be tactically flexible. It’ll be a tough road to survival, with United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Brentford all still on the fixture list.
Nottingham Forest team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Willy Boly (thigh), Dean Henderson (thigh/loan rules), Chris Wood (thigh), Giulian Biancone (knee), Omar Richards (calf), Serge Aurier (knock), Ryan Yates (shoulder), Gustavo Scarpa (knock), Cheikhou Kouyate (thigh).
Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Raphael Varane (foot), Lisandro Martinez (foot - out for season), Marcus Rashford (groin), Alejandro Garnacho (ankle), Donny van de Beek (knee), Mason Greenwood (suspension - MORE), Tom Heaton (ankle), Luke Shaw (thigh), Scott McTominay (knock)
Note: Marcel Sabitzer was injured in warm-ups and Christian Eriksen has taken his place in the below XI.