Manchester United beat Aston Villa 4-2 in the third round of the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford. Ollie Watkins opened the scoring before Anthony Martial found an equaliser. Diogo Dalot’s own goal saw Villa lead against before Marcus Rashford equalised for United again. Bruno Fernandes put United ahead before Scott McTominay gave United a cushion.
United started the match brightly against Villa but in the fifth minute of the match Harry Maguire gave away a free-kick for a foul on Ollie Watkins. Nothing came of the set-piece though. United won two corners in the eighth and tenth minutes of the match, not getting anything from the set-pieces themselves. United just needed to push more to create chances to find goals.
In the 11th minute of the match Bruno Fernandes tried a through ball for Marcus Rashford but he was caught offside. A minute later, Villa did the same with Calum Chambers trying a through ball into Danny Ings but he was offside. Victor Lindelof played a though ball for Anthony Martial in the 14th minute of the match but the Frenchman was offside too.
Donny van de Beek gave away a free-kick for a foul on Ludwig Augustinsson but nothing came of it for the away side. United needed to learn to be onside as Rashford tried a through ball into Bruno Fernandes in the 17th minute and Fred tried one into Rashford a minute later, both players being offside in their bid to find the opening goal. United needed improvement here.
In the 24th minute of the match, Diogo Dalot had a change on goal, sending his final ball over the crossbar with the effort winning United the corner, which came to nothing. It was a good chance on goal for the Portuguese right-back though. ill won a corner in the 30th minute with Douglas Luiz taking it but Scott McTominay met it with a defensive header to clear the danger.
Rashford saw his shot on goal blocked in the 39th minute of the match with United still seeking that opening goal of the match. Fred tried a through ball a minute later for McTominay but the Scotland international was offside. McTominay was booked in the 40th minute of the match for a foul but Villa could not capitalise from it, which was lucky for United.
In the 43rd minute of the match Fernandes played a through ball into Martial but the Frenchman was caught offside. It seems terrible that these United players are finding offside positions so easily. It should not be like this – they need to be so much better. Maguire was booked in the 44th minute of the match for a foul – United’s second booking of the evening.
Towards the end of the half, United were still seeking that opening goal of the game but it was elusive to say the least. Villa had played a pretty good game too, although both manager’s would have been disgruntled in the dressing room during the break. United had a chance in the second minute of added time but Fernandes saw his effort saved by the Villa keeper.
At the start of the second half there were not substitutions for either team. Villa did start the half better though, scoring the opening goal of the match in the 48th minute through Jacob Ramsey, who scored against United on Sunday. Martin Dubravka was in his box but off his line and tried to avert the danger but Ramsey slipped past him and found the back of the net.
It was a short-lived lead though as United had the ball in the back of the net thorough Martial a minute later. Fernandes got the assist for the goal with the Frenchman scoring his fourth goal of the season and Fernandes getting his second assist so far. United needed to build on that goal and ensure that Villa could not breach their goal again.
Both Fernandes and Douglas Luiz were booked for challenges in the 52nd minute of the match and Ashley Young was booked in the 54th minute. Rashford did have an effort on goal in between the bookings, but the attempt was blocked. Donny van de Beek tried a through ball into Martial in the 58th minute but the Frenchman was offside again.
Villa made a triple substitution just before the hour with Emiliano Buendía, Leon Bailey and Tyrone Mings replacing Danny Ings, Ramsey and Ezri Konsa. Villa then scored their second goal with Bailey forcing an own goal off Diogo Dalot. It was not a good night for United and Villa are certainly a team not scared by United anymore and after this, who could blame them?
Erik ten Hag made a triple substitution of his own in the 62nd minute of the match with Alejandro Garnacho, Anthony Elanga and Christian Eriksen replacing Martial, van de Beek and Fred. Rashford hit the right post in the 64th minute as United sought to get back into the match after the Dalot own goal. He looked like a player possessed on that run, determined to get a goal.
Ollie Watkins had a chance on goal in the 66th minute of the match but he missed the target. A minute later, Rashford had United’s second goal with United levelling the score for the second time in the match. Eriksen played a part in the goal but does not get an assist as it was a Villa player who last touched the ball before Rashford buried it into the back of the net.
Garnacho was caught offside a minute after Rashford’s eighth goal of the season after Lindelof plated a through ball into him. It was a shame to see so many offsides in this match. Perhaps United need some training to keep onside as it will benefit the club in matches like this one. United could have had a few mote chances, even goals had there been fewer offsides.
Villa made a fourth substitution in the 74th minute with Matty Cash replacing Young. Fernandes saw a shot on goal saved in the 76th minute and then a flurry of attempts on goal for United came with Harry Maguire having one saved in the 76th minute, Fernandes having one blocked, also missing the target in the 77th and Garnacho seeing an effort blocked in the same minute.
United got their third goal of the game, leading for the first time in the 78th minute as Fernandes found the back of the net, assisted by Garnacho. It turned into a positive half for United after a frustrating first 45 minutes. To see five goals in the second half really changed the game. Lucas Digne replaced Ludwig Augustinsson – Villa’s fifth substitution – in the 80th minute of the match.
Garnacho saw his attempt on goal blocked in the 81st minute, which was a shame as this lad is really taking his chances this season. Casemiro replaced Rashford in the 82nd minute as ten Hag made his fourth substitution. Garnacho then seemed to be struggling but was fine to continue with United wanting to make a final substitution in the match.
That substitution came in the 87th minute of the match with Lisandro Martinez replacing Lindelof. Garnacho then got back onto the pitch after some treatment. Eriksen had a chance on goal in the 90th minute with a header but it was too high to threaten the Villa goalkeeper. McTominay his the crossbar a minute before which would have ended the match for Villa.
However, United did get a fourth goal through McTominay in the first minute of added time with Garnacho getting his second assist of the match. It was a great finish for McTominay though. United really pushed the buttons in the second half to reach the fourth round of the Carabao Cup this season. What a result it was for United. Fulham lie in wait on Sunday now.
Martin Dubravka: Made his United debut and despite conceding two goals, he was more comfortable with his hands than his feet and seems to offer a different goalkeeping method than that of David De Gea. He could not have done anything for either goal but seemed to dominate in his box more than not. ★★★★★★
Diogo Dalot: He has started every match this season and that will end on Sunday with his suspension. He was a bit rusty in the first half but much better in the second. He played the long-ball that led to Anthony Martial’s equaliser. Got an own goal which aided Villa but these things happen in football. ★★★★★
Victor Lindelof: He made an improvement based on Sunday’s match. He was nowhere near Ollie Watkins or Leon Bailey (Dalot own goal) which should be something he looks at to better himself in the future. He was competent in the back four though but Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez are the preferred duo in the middle of the defence. ★★★★★★
Harry Maguire: He was booked in the first half and Jacob Ramsey exposed him in terms of passing, which led to Ollie Watkin’s opening goal of the match. He is a decent defender but this season, Varane and Martinez are the first-choice duo in the centre of the defence. He could win his place back with some good form though. ★★★★★
Tyrell Malacia: Played a good game in both attack and defence. Found Marcus Rashford for one of his opportunities on goal. He was lively in his first start since the 6-3 defeat to Manchester City. Luke Shaw is the left-back that will start based on form but the Dutchman has something to offer in the right matches – but has a strong future. ★★★★★★
Scott McTominay: He was on to a bad performance in the first half, missing Marcus Rashford with that short pass. But in the second half, he grew into the match. He cleared that goal bound Douglas Luiz effort off the line. Worked a lot better with Christian Eriksen than he did with Fred. Scored the last goal of the match after hitting the crossbar. ★★★★★★★
Fred: After not starting a match for almost a month, I expected better from him. He was a liability at times. His passing and possession seemed to be sloppy and United were not getting positive chances with him on the pitch. After Christian Eriksen came on, United were so much better. Fred is out of his depth at United given the competition. ★★★★
Bruno Fernandes: Pushed out on the right-wing again, which will probably stop when Antony is back in the squad. Got the assist for Anthony Martial’s equaliser. He also forced a save from Robin Olsen before scoring a goal himself. It turned into a good game for both United and Fernandes, who had many efforts on goal. ★★★★★★★
Donny van de Beek: I wonder what the Dutchman does on the pitch at times. He was like a passenger in the match with ten players in the game. It is not good for him. He started as the number ten and had around 11 touches of the ball in the first half. United did not get the good deal when buying him. I don’t know what his strengths are. ★★★
Marcus Rashford: He was named the Man of the Match for his second-half performance. He has a subdued first half. Missed a good chance in the second half, but scored minutes later making it 2-2. It is good to see him in fine form and finding the goals again. That is eight for him this season, plus three assists. ★★★★★★★
Anthony Martial: Made his first start in just over a month and scored his fourth goal of the season. He will be important for United this season, as long as he can stay fit. He came off around the hour mark, presumably to keep him fresh for Sunday’s match against Fulham. He has four goals and two assists to his name this season so far. ★★★★★★
Alejandro Garnacho: Replaced Martial 62′. The young lad is really taking the chance that he has been given. He has already scored his first goal for United and got two assists this evening. He was a real problem for Villa at times. The assist that he provided for Bruno Fernandes’ goal was top notch, the Scott McTominay one was good too. ★★★★★★★★
Anthony Elanga: Replaced van de Beek 62′. Offered energy for the last half hour of the match. I don’t see what else he does as in terms of creating goals, assisting or scoring them, there is none of that on offer here. Erik ten Hag sees something in him though but I think United could do a lot better. He needs to have an output. ★★★★★★
Christian Eriksen: Replaced Fred 62′. What a signing he has been this season. Came on and did more than Fred in 30 minutes or so. Chased down the ball which resulted in Marcus Rashford’s equaliser – the second equaliser of the match. He was a massive improvement over Fred. It is good that he got a bit of a rest ahead of Sunday. ★★★★★★★★
Casemiro: Replaced Rashford 82′. The Brazilian saw out the game coming on late, adding some energy and a set of fresh legs onto the pitch. It worked for United too. In the last few minutes of the match, United were all over Villa. That should have been the case on Sunday too, but we move on from those defeats. ★★★★★★
Lisandro Martinez: Replaced Lindelof 87′. Came on with three minutes of normal time remaining, plus a few add on minutes. It was not enough time for hims to really get involved. He did what was asked of him by the manager and that is enough. It was great that he got a bit of a rest ahead of the Fulham match, which is an important match ahead of the World Cup. ★★★★★★
Goals: Anthony Martial 49′, Marcus Rashford 67′, Bruno Fernandes 78′, Scott McTominay 90+1′; Ollie Watkins 48′, Diogo Dalot o/g 61′
Assists: Bruno Fernandes 49′, Alejandro Garnacho 78′, 90+1′; Jacob Ramsey 48′
Manchester United: Dubravka; Dalot, Lindelof (Martinez 87′), Maguire, Malacia; Fred (Eriksen 62′), McTominay; Fernandes, van de Beek (Elanga 62′), Rashford (Casemiro 82′); Martial (Garnacho 62′)
Substitutes Not Used: De Gea; Shaw; Pellistri; Shoretire
Bookings: Scott McTomionay 40′, Harry Maguire 44′, Bruno Fernandes 52′; Douglas Luiz 52′, Ashley Young 54′, Leon Bailey 90+3′
Written by John Walker