Manchester United proving they mean business?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have displayed their ability to grind out points at Old Trafford in recent weeks, as evidenced in 1-0 home wins over both West Bromwich Albion and Wolves.
But they have also shown a willingness to go toe-to-toe with teams who are happy to open up the game and, while this was not quite the shootout of the 6-2 win over Leeds, it was just as easy on the eye.
A number of fluid first-half moves produced chances before Martial’s opener as the France forward saw a curler tipped over by Martinez, while Fernandes and Wan-Bissaka were narrowly off target with similar efforts.
Martial stole between Mings and Ezri Konsa to nod the Red Devils ahead from Wan-Bissaka’s inviting cross for only his second league goal of the season on his return to Solskjaer’s starting line-up.
While Luiz was unfortunate to be penalised for what might have been an accidental clip on Pogba, there was enough contact for the penalty to be given and Fernandes continued his excellent record from the spot.
United were nine points behind Liverpool after a 1-0 defeat by Arsenal at Old Trafford on 1 November but have made up that gap in just two months to set an intriguing title race into motion.
And while talk of foiling a second successive Liverpool title might be premature, moving alongside them at the Premier League’s summit will give Solskjaer’s side even more confidence as they eye up a trip to Anfield on 17 January.
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Reaction from the Manchester United boss
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told BBC Sport: “You are always delighted with three points. The performance was good and we created chances.
“It was maybe a little too open and we wasted chances. We tried to play the Hollywood pass instead of securing the first one and using the space that was there.
“We are happy with what we are doing. We have shown we have improved a lot in a year. We lost to Arsenal away last New Year’s Day. We have improved immensely.”