After surviving an early flurry of chances, Manchester United were able to qualify for the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup this evening with a 3-0 win over Derby County. The win sends us to Carrow Road to face Norwich later this month in what adds to a tricky run of March fixtures.
Playing ‘host’ to United this evening was Derby captain, and United Legend, Wayne Rooney. Good to see the traveling support show their love to Wazza serenading him several times with “The White Pele”.
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – 8
Rotated the squad well once again making six changes to the XI that featured against Everton last weekend. Early on it looked as if United were going to have a performance we have been used to the last few years but thankfully a professional team handled business tonight and cruised to the Quarter-Finals. Once again the team pressed well, led by Ighalo and Bruno Fernandes. while also moving the ball quickly between the midfield and attack. Ole made the correct call taking Bruno off at the 65’ minute mark but considering we have the Derby this weekend, I would have liked to see him off at half-time – not a big deal.
GK: Sergio Romero – 8
The world’s best backup had himself a game today making several good saves. Stopped both of Wayne Rooney’s free kicks from going in the second, of which one was a world class save. Also made a very solid finger tip save low down to his right on Marriott late in the game. Commanded his box well coming out when needed and communicating with his back line to secure United’s seventh clean sheet in nine games.
RB: Diogo Dalot – 7
This was the perfect type of game script for Dalot. We already know that his offensive game is much stronger than his defense and in this game he had little to do defensively. Got up the pitch into good areas all game providing passing options for his teammates and stretching the Derby backline with width. Could definitely see him become more of a winger in the future.
RCB: Eric Bailly – 7
Little to do on defense after the 20th minute or so but handled what was thrown at him very calmly. Took a yellow card for a mistimed tackle on Sibley. Would love to see him pair with Maguire instead of Lindelof due to his pace and calmness on the ball. Maguire and Lindelof leave us void of the true athleticism that Bailly can provide.
LCB: Victor Lindelof – 6
Had a decent game dealing with his headed clearances but did little else. Certainly did not build out from the back on the left side like Maguire has been doing. Just looks nervous in too many situations for my liking.
LB: Luke Shaw – 9
Man of the Match for me. Like Dalot, this game was right up Luke Shaw’s alley. Had little to do defensively and bombed forward constantly. Scored a goal with a bouncing effort, provided a fantastic ball into Ighalo for his first goal. He was always in the passing triangles with Bruno Fernandes and whoever wanted to join the party wreaking havoc on the left wing.
RCM: Scott McTominay – 7
Thought it took McTominay too long to get into the game as he continues to struggle to put a solid 90 minute performance in since his injury. Had a chance at goal in the first half but could not sort his feet in the box. Did have a great spell for about 30 minutes, the best of which was a 40-50 yard switch of play to Bruno Fernandes which started the move for Ighalo’s first goal.
LCM: Fred – 7
Once again controlled the midfield and you have to think that after Bruno, and maybe Maguire, he is the next name on the team-sheet at the moment. Credit to Solskjaer here because Fred has always had the talent but his confidence on the pitch at the moment is night and day from what it was under Mourinho. He is much calmer on the ball and is making much better decisions off it. The left side of the pitch continues to be a success even without Maguire.
RAM: Juan Mata – 6
Really quiet game from Mata but did the job we needed him to do. Linked play well albeit with safe passes and played the full 90 at his pace. Was a body that we needed to eat up minutes and he did so professionally.
CAM: Bruno Fernandes – 6
We are seven games unbeaten now into the Bruno Fernandes era notching four wins and three draws. Unfortunately, today was not Bruno’s best game in a United shirt as not much of what he tried never came off. His passing seemed off the mark today but did widen the field brilliantly before receiving McTominay’s switch of play, creating Ighalo’s first goal. Having said that, his motor and confidence, like Thanos, is undeniable. In possession, he is all over the pitch commanding the ball and moving his teammates like chess pieces; off the ball he is relentless in his pressing. All of this breeds confidence in himself which is having a clear trickle down effect to his teammates. Portuguese Magnífico!
LAM: Jesse Lingard – 7
I actually think Lingard looked fairly decent if we use his last 12 months as a barometer. Sharper than he has been recently and looks to be regaining some confidence. Playing off the left side of midfield with Fred, Bruno and Shaw he was able to be involved in several nice sequences of play and was heavily involved around the box all game.
ST: Odion Ighalo – 9
Viva Ighalo! Three goals now in two starts for Ighalo and both tonight were goals that his manager would be proud of, but could have easily had a hattrick tonight. For the first goal he was able to control a brilliant pass from Shaw, sort his feet, hold off the defenders and tuck the ball away. The second he showed great positional awareness in the box and hammered home the rebound off of his original attempt. Two great striker goals! Jury is still out but what a signing he’s been so far.
SUB: Andreas Pereira – 6
Came on for Bruno Fernandes around the 65’ mark and clearly showed that he was more nervous on the ball than usual. Played everything safe, did not try any of his shots that he hits into row Z, and did not try to dribble anyone. It was a safe, reserved showing from Pereira and honestly it was the best he’s looked all season.
SUB: Anthony Martial – 5
Did not have much of an impact.
SUB: Brandon Williams – 5
On for Luke Shaw very late. No time to make an impact