Manchester United overcame a spirited Everton side by three goals to one in the FA Cup 3rd round on Friday night in a game that saw an astonishing David De Gea blunder and yet another goal from Marcus Rashford.
There had been a lot of speculation before the game that Frank Lampard needed a result at Old Trafford to prevent him from a sacking, and it did not look good for the Everton boss after Antony opened the scoring in the 4th minute. The Brazilian latched onto Rashford’s cross from the left-hand side of the area to poke The Reds into an early lead, and it looked like it could be a straightforward victory from then on.
The Merseyside outfit responded ten minutes later, however, when Conor Coady bundled the ball home after a bizarre error from De Gea in the United goal. Neal Maupay was practically on the byline on the right of the box when he fired the ball toward De Gea. The Spanish stopper’s body language suggested that he was expecting the ball to nestle into the side netting, but instead, the ball bobbled off both his legs and into the path of Coady who tapped home.
At half-time on ITV, Roy Keane said: “It’s almost as if he’s (De Gea’s) had a few drinks”.Embed from Getty Images
United had chances to restore the lead, often getting into good positions around the edge of the area, but often making the wrong choice too. Anthony Martial was slipped in by Rashford down the left but his effort was saved well by Jordan Pickford.
It was a moment to forget early in the second half for Everton’s scorer, though, when Coady poked the ball into his own net to give the home side the lead. Rashford was toying with Seamus Coleman on the left as he entered the area before firing a cross that Coady managed to convert in the 52nd minute, with United going 2-1 up.
Alex Iwobi was unfortunately stretchered off not long before the goal following a bad ankle twist.
The Toffees were unlucky not to be level halfway through the second half when substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s strike was chalked off after Demari Grey was proven by VAR to have been offside in the making of it.
The game became scrappy as Everton looked for an equaliser, but the threat was relatively minimal.Embed from Getty Images
Alejandro Garnacho came off the bench to win a penalty for his side in stoppage time after he was hacked down by Ben Godfrey on the left of the area. Rashford dispatched to carry on his good form and seal the victory for Erik ten Hag’s side.
Final Score: Manchester United 3-1 Everton (Antony 4’, Coady 52’ [og], Rashford 90+7 [pen]) (Coady 14’)
Man of the matchEmbed from Getty Images
Rashford would have been the one to go for even before his stoppage time penalty at the end of the game; the goal confirmed that he was the Man of the Match in the eyes of many supporters.
The 25-year-old had a campaign to forget in 2021/22, but he seems to be getting better and better as the 2022/23 season progresses. His recent coup of the December Player of the Month award exemplifies this.
The Englishman has now scored in each of the games following the resumption of club football after the World Cup. He is on absolute fire at the moment and it was nice to see him get that goal at the end following another good showing.
He should have had an assist at 1-1 when Pickford denied Martial, but was also a threat throughout the game with his pace and direct runs. He gave Abdoulaye Doucoure a hard time with his movement in particular. Also, he practically set up Coady’s own goal with good footwork and a cross.
The bigger pictureEmbed from Getty Images
Five games played; five games won for Ten Hag’s Reds since the restart of club football. The team are playing well at the moment. Whilst not completely blowing sides away, United are controlling the games for the large majority and are scoring goals in the process.
The form should continue next week against League One Charlton Athletic in the Carabao Cup quarter-final. The real tests will come against Manchester City and Arsenal afterwards, but the team have certainly put themselves in a good run of form ahead of the big clashes.
It was good to see Anthony get on the scoresheet with the pressure around his price tag starting to build.
Rashford getting another goal was great to see, too. Rashford is the first player to score in seven consecutive home appearances in all competitions since Wayne Rooney between February and April in 2012 [Opta].Embed from Getty Images
Ten Hag opted to go strong with his starting eleven. Luke Shaw was in at centre-back alongside Raphael Varane ahead of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, and it appears the writing could be on the wall for the latter two.
There is a sense of spirit and togetherness in the team that was not there last season. The response to Cristiano Ronaldo’s shocking departure has been professional.
Finally, The Reds are into the 4th round of the FA Cup. The club have not acquired silverware since 2017 and this, alongside the Carabao Cup and Europa League, is a great opportunity to do so.
What is next?
Next up for Ten Hag and United is Charlton Athletic on Tuesday 10th in a Carabao Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford at 20:00 (BST). Afterward, United face Manchester City in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Saturday 14th in the Premier League, kick-off being at 12:30 (BST).