|Image from Manchester Evening News|
Venue Old Trafford
Result Manchester United 1 Rochdale 1
Man Utd won Penalties 5-3
Manchester United were looking to forget the lacklustre performance against West Ham on the weekend losing 2-0 and fans were looking forward to seeing the Red Devils bounce back against their Carabao Cup League One opponents Rochdale. The only previous meeting between the teams was 33 years ago with Manchester United winning 2-0. Rochdale being 10 miles away from their illustrious neighbours were enthusiastically supported by the travelling 6,000 fans and looked to spoil the Red Devils evening and cause a huge upset. Solskjaer made 9 changes to the side who played at West Ham and once again gave his youth an opportunity to start in first team action. Notable talking point was decision to captain to make 21-year-old centre back Axel Tuanzebe captain for the evening. Tuanzebe has been at the club since the age of eight, but grew up in Rochdale. The decision to hand him the armband means he has now captained the Red Devils at every age level. Paul Pogba returned from an absence of 3 games due to injury but was unable to inspire his team to the victory.
The first half was dominated with Manchester United possession but despite have 15 shots only two hit the target. Pereira with an opening whipping shot well stopped by Rochdale keeper Sanchez. Rojo had an excellent opportunity to put the Red Devils ahead but his close range header was saved by Sanchez. The team seemed to lack ideas and creativity and struggled to create clear chances against a less fancied opposition. The second half was played at a much faster pace, with both sides looking more attack minded. It was the away side who had the first real chance – Callum Camps’ shot from three yards out being blocked acrobatically by Aaron Wan-Bissaka. United did finally break the deadlock halfway through the second half through Greenwood. The forward collected a Jesse Lingard pass inside the area, before quickly shifting it and firing home. United were looking to consolidate and defend their lead when poor defending allowed Rochdale to find a way past Sergio Romero. 16-year-old Luke Matheson the man to latch onto a floating cross and fire home.
The matched ended even and penalties were set to decide the match. Juan Mata, Andreas, Fred, Greenwood and Daniel James all scored to ensure a lacklustre United went through. This was not at all the result Solskjaer was looking for from his team. Their next opponents in Carabao Cup are Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea marched to victory with an emphatic 7-1 victory against Grimsby Town
Sergio Romero – 6/10 Had a fairly quiet evening saved Rochdale penalty, not much he could have done for Rochdale equaliser.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka- 6/10 Made a fantastic goal line clearance when score was 0-0, don’t think he got forward enough.
Axel Tuanzebe (C) – 6/10 Tried to lead by example was a special occasion as he has now captained the team at every age level.
Phil Jones – 4/10 Came off injured at half time was not his best half of football.
Marcos Rojo – 5/10 Should have converted a few of the chances that came his way.
Fred – 4/10 Lacked creativity was sloppy with passes and did not impose himself on opposition.
Paul Pogba 5/10 – Missed an absolute clear cut chance with a header seemed very rusty and expected him to control the game and be the playmaker
Jesse Lingard 5/10 – Struggling to find form did provide the assist for the goal.
Andreas Pereira 4/10 – Crosses over hit and not creating enough in the midfield. Started well but faded thereafter, losing possession cheaply and lacking influence on the ball
Tahith Chong 5/10 – Wasteful in attack but tracked back well to dispossess Matheson inside his own area the first-half.
Mason Greenwood 7/10 – Scored his second goal in as many games with low finish. Was the best attacking forward created clear cut chance for Pogba.
Daniel James on for Chong (60 min) 6/10 – Made an impact and contributed with build up to goal.
Juan Mata 5/10 – on for Lingaard (85 min) Very late Cameo and scored his penalty.