The first 80 minutes of this tie was painful to watch with United missing chance after chance. However, the deadlock was broken by (yes, you guessed it), Messi Lingard. Then Romelu Lukaku put the nail in the coffin for Derby with a late goal to secure qualification to the 4th round of the FA Cup.
We started the first half well, dominating possession of the ball and spending most of the time in Derby’s half. The first chance of the game came to Lingard after some delightful footwork from Pogba, but the England international fired over the crossbar.
In the 21st minute, Juan Mata drew a brilliant save from Carson who managed to get a hand to Mata’s goal-bound free kick.
Our clearest chance of the half came to Marcus Rashford, who is in desperate need of a goal. Mkhitaryan crossed the ball into the box but Rashford was unable to get the desired contact and hit the post. There is no doubt that he should have put us 1-0 up in the 35th minute. Moments later came a similar chance to the same player, but this time his header was on target, but straight at Carson.
Near the end of the first half, we came close again with another free kick, this time Paul Pogba was unable to get the better of Carson.
The first half finished 0-0 and it’s fair to say that we should have been at least 2-0 up. Once again, poor finishing was an issue in and around the box with our players having a tendency to blast the ball way over the crossbar.
Mkhitaryan was replaced by Romelu Lukaku at half time. Things aren’t looking good for Mkhi as today was possibly his last chance to impress Mourinho, but again he failed to perform.
We started the second half just as we ended the first. This time it was Juan Mata who’s long range effort was saved by Carson. The ball then fell kindly to Pogba who curled the ball just past the far post.
After lots more frustrating attacks and long-shots, Marcus Rashford was unlucky to see his shot strike the post again from a tight angle in the 71st minute.
Minutes later, the post proved to be a nuisance once again, this time with Lukaku being denied by it after a delightful cross from Anthony Martial. However, the offside flag was raised.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 84th minute by our (recently crowned) December Player of the Month. With a similar finish to his goal against Everton a few days ago, Jesse Lingard managed to find the top corner once again today. There is no stopping this man at the moment! He just can’t stop scoring!
In the 90th minute Romelu Lukaku sealed the win for Manchester United after some brilliant link-up play with Martial. On the counter attack, Lukaku surged forwards with Martial and after a neat one-two, slotted the ball past Carson to send us through to the 4th round of the FA Cup.
Overall, this was a frustrating game to watch with us failing to convert our chances. However, our persistence paid off when Lingard’s moment of magic lifted Old Trafford. The main thing is that we are through to the next round of the FA Cup. After our disastrous exit in the Carabao Cup, it is clear that the FA Cup is our best chance of silverware this season.
Our next fixture is at home to Stoke City on Monday the 15th. The reverse fixture saw us drop points, but hopefully we have learned from our mistakes and can take the full 3 points this time.