Manchester United’s woes deepen as they suffer defeat against Nottingham Forest

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Man Utd’s woes continued as they suffered a defeat at the hands of Nottingham Forest, a team they had not lost to since 1994. The loss left them in seventh place in the Premier League, nine points behind the top four. Forest, on the other hand, moved five points clear of the relegation zone, securing their second successive high-profile victory under Nuno Espirito Santo’s management.

The game saw Manchester United put on a dismal display, resulting in a 2-1 defeat. Morgan Gibbs-White scored the winning goal for Forest late into the match, after Nicolas Dominguez had put them ahead in the second half. Marcus Rashford managed to equalize for United, but it was only his third goal in what has been a disappointing season for him.

United had shown a glimmer of hope in their previous match against Aston Villa, where they came back from being two goals down to win 3-2. The victory had created optimism among fans, especially after billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s investment in the club. Ratcliffe’s INEOS Group acquired a 25 percent stake in United, with plans to take control of the football operations from the unpopular Glazer family. However, the defeat against Forest raised questions about whether the new regime would consider removing manager Erik ten Hag.

INEOS’s head of sport, Dave Brailsford, watched the match alongside former United boss Alex Ferguson. It was a disappointing sight for both as United succumbed to their first defeat against Forest in almost three decades. Forest’s win propelled them further away from the relegation zone and added to Nuno Espirito Santo’s successful start as their manager.

During the game, United struggled to find their rhythm, with passes going astray frequently. Despite Forest having the worst defensive record in the Premier League in 2023, it took United 32 minutes to register their first shot on goal, which was easily saved by Forest keeper Matt Turner. The performance of young winger Anthony Elanga stood out, while summer signing Antony from Ajax failed to make an impact and was substituted after 53 minutes.

Rashford, who played as the central striker in the absence of Rasmus Hojlund, did not make much of an impact and struggled to assert himself in the role. Forest took the lead in the 64th minute when Gonzalo Montiel found Dominguez, who calmly finished past United’s goalkeeper Andre Onana. United managed to equalize in the 78th minute when Turner made a costly mistake, allowing Alejandro Garnacho to set up Rashford for the goal. However, United’s defensive shortcomings were exposed once again in the 82nd minute when Gibbs-White scored the winner for Forest.

The defeat added to United’s troubles as they continue to underperform this season. Turner’s late save from Bruno Fernandes prevented United from salvaging a draw.

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