Manchester United are through to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, thanks to a 0-3 win against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday evening. United made 10 changes from their opening day defeat against Crystal Palace. It was another scrappy display by United, who will have been once again disappointed with the overall team performance. It took Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men 43 minutes to break the deadlock, Brandon Williams fouled inside the area, a penalty rightly awarded by the referee. Juan Mata stepped up to to cooly slot home from the spot.
In a game that offered very little goal mouth action, it took until the 88th minute for United to wrap the game. Substitute Marcus Rashford finishing low and hard after combining well with fellow substitutes, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood. All this just moments after Dean Henderson had made a brilliant save to keep United in front. In the 90th minute Mason Greenwood added the finishing touches with a trademark finish to secure United’s place in the next round.
United are through! Here are the 5 things we learned:
1. United’s squad depth is just not good enough.
Many of the the players on the fringe of the first team didn’t really do themselves any favours tonight. You could argue that a lot of these players haven’t played that many games since lockdown. However, I think that’s little excuse for some of the performances on show tonight. It took the triple substitution of Fernandes, Greenwood and Rashford to kill the game off late on. After Saturday’s match and again tonight, the recruitment team must complete some transfer business before the window closes on the 5th of October.
2. United need a better attacking option at left back.
News in the last 24 hours has suggested that United are in advanced negotiations with FC Porto for Alex Telles. Both Brandon Williams and Luke Shaw lack the ability to be a real threat when going forward. Coupled with Wan-Bissaka’s limitations as a more defensive fullback, it’s vital that United find a quality attacking outlet at left back. There’s every chance that this could also help Rashford too. It would free up more space for him and giving him a genuine attacking option link up with.
3. Eric Bailly a better partner for Harry Maguire than Victor Lindelof
If Eric Bailly stays fit and manages this busy schedule then he partners Harry Maguire as the starting centre back. Provided no new central defender comes in before the end of the window. The Ivorian defender showed he has the pace to cover dangerous situations which is what United captain, Maguire desperately needs since joining the club. Lindelof seems to all too often lack the pace and physicality to complement the captain at the back.
4. United need another forward.
The lack of quality in the attacking third during the first half especially was alarming. There was no natural width created by the starting front 3 and Odion Ighalo offered nothing as an attacking presence. He wasn’t able to control the ball or link up with the players around him. Two weeks left of the window and United board will need to provide Solskjaer with a quality attacking option if they’re to rotate their forwards effectively this season.
5. United to playBrighton & Hove Albion in round five...again!
As a result of the win last night United will play Brighton & Hove Albion away next week in round five. United also play Brighton at the Amex in a crucial league game and it will be a dress rehearsal for a cup tie next week. However United’s main aim will be to no doubt get their first league win of the campaign at the weekend.