Christmas Toffee in the League Cup

Manchester United defeated Everton in their midweek Carabao Cup quarter-final fixture. Late goals from Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial pushed United through to the semi-finals. Manchester United’s impressive away form continued with yet another road win before their trip to Leicester City. 

Starting XI

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer rotated the team fairly in order to give some of the regular players a rest while giving the second-string ones some playing time. Dean Henderson started in goal with Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly at center back. Axel Tuanzebe and Alex Telles were on the wings behind Matic and Pogba. The attack comprised of Bruno Fernandes, van de Beek, Greenwood, and Cavani. Rashford, Martial, Shaw, Fred, and Lingard were among those on the bench. 

First Half

Manchester United had a great start to the game as they immediately applied pressure on Everton in the opening minutes. In the 7th minute, Bruno Fernandes found Paul Pogba near the 6-yard box. The Frenchman backheeled the ball to van de Beek whose shot was deflected away. United came close yet again when Edinson Cavani closed down Everton’s goalkeeper but the ball somehow did not poke loose. 

Everton could not find a foothold in the game till the 34th minute. They combined well to find more passes in United’s half but failed to bother the United defense too much. United’s Nemanja Matic had a great outing intercepting and cutting out Everton’s passes and then playing the ball forward. Everton were able to get a couple of attempts on target including a curling free-kick but Henderson denied the Toffees their goal. United came close yet again in the dying minutes of the first half through a Fernandes free-kick. 

Second Half

After dominating in the opening minutes, Manchester United’s lack of quality on the finish allowed Everton to find their way back into the game. Both teams had a more cautious approach in the second half as they looked to maintain possession and slowly build the play. Eric Bailly had his acrobatic and often questionable defending on display as he leaped over Richarilson, injuring the Brazilian. Bruno Fernandes had a great chance on the edge of the box but was unable to get his first-time shot on target. The final 30 minutes from United were quite poor in their passing and crossing. As the players got tired, the off-the-ball movement withered away and the players began misplacing their passes.

Many of the crosses resulted in goal kicks giving the forwards little to no chance to get attempts on target. Ole brought on Martial and Rashford in place of Greenwood and van de Beek. United defended well whenever Everton were on the attack but somehow the visitors could not hang onto the ball in the middle of the park. Anthony Martial had a comically embarrassing moment when he tripped himself in the box while receiving a pass from Pogba. Soon after, Luke Shaw came on for Alex Telles in a head-scratching decision. With penalties looming, Telles may have been better off staying on the pitch since he is a set-piece specialist. However, Edinson Cavani decided to take things into his own hand and lashed a beautiful left-footed curler into the far corner to give United the lead. Soon after, in the last kick of the game, Anthony Martial finished past Olsen again to make it 2-0 at full time. Job done and dusted! 

Full-Time Thoughts

Manchester United reach yet another semi-final under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. With another Manchester derby in the semi-finals, Ole will hope to reach the finals and get his hands on some silverware. Edinson Cavani found the back of the net yet again, and in great fashion! Defensively, United were impressive against a strong Everton side- a clean sheet is something United fans have not seen for a while. Up next, a trip to Leicester City for an exciting Boxing Day fixture!  

About Deep Chadha 37 Articles
Hi, my name is Deep and I have been a Manchester United fan since I was 10 years old! This club means everything to me and I have spent many late nights and early mornings watching games, and then re-watching highlights. Hoping to see #21 in our trophy cabinet soon! GGMU

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