Manchester United will return to Premier League action later when they welcome newly-promoted Nottingham Forest to Old Trafford, with a victory set to move the club within touching distance of the top-four.
Now the distinguished outfit must build upon the win and make a resounding return to their divisional exploits, having scored a last-gasp winner against Fulham in the match preceding the international break.
It was prodigious 18-year-old Alejandro Garnacho to have earned the plaudits for his definitive strike in the dying embers, and against Forest, who are slowly acclimatising to life in the top-flight after a severely lacklustre start, it may require a sprinkling of magic from one of the offensive demons within boss Erik Ten Hag‘s clutch of talent to break away and climb further up the table.
Marcus Rashford has stolen the headlines with regularity this term, scoring nine goals and plundering three assists before enjoying a fruitful World Cup campaign with England, but it is £85m summer signing Antony, following Ten Hag from AFC Ajax, who could leave pundits waxing lyrical with sights set on breaking into prominence on English soil.
Since departing the Netherlands earlier this year, 22-year-old Antony has made an impressive start to life within the Theatre of Dreams, captivating supporters with his deft footwork and quintessential Brazilian guile, while terrorising defenders with his devastating wand of a left foot.
Scoring three goals from his first six Premier League appearances, including a wonderful finessed curler on his debut against high-flying Arsenal, the Brazilian has quickly asserted himself as a dangerous presence on the right flank, cutting inside and wreaking havoc.
Antony was regarded as an “incredible talent” by Ten Hag, prior to the official confirmation of his move to Old Trafford, and it is clear to see that despite the hefty price tag, United boast a player that has that ‘wow’ factor, the ability to turn the tap and the key to unlock the defences erected in front of the opposing goal.
This is evidenced by his endeavours with Ajax, where he scored 24 goals and 22 assists from 84 displays, nurturing his abundant talent over the maiden period of his professional career.
And as per FBref, Antony ranks within the top 11% for total shots when compared to attacking midfielders and wingers across Europe’s big five leagues this past year – evidencing the direct threat he will bring to the table, no matter the opposition.
Forest will indeed be resolute, compact, and candidly they might find success against a United team that will look to utilise their creativity and pace, flooding the flanks and attempting to take their relegation-threatened foe apart at the seams.
Antony will be crucial in finding success, and should the Red Devils struggle, his moment of brilliance, his gliding gait from the touchline – cutting inside to the edge of the box – might just reap rewards, with his driving shot capable of slotting in the top corner of Dean Henderson’s goal, unleashing a cacophony of cheer throughout the Old Trafford faithful.