Manchester United secure their spot in the next round of the FA Cup with a 6-0 battering of League One side Tranmere. It was a much-needed win for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side who were struggling after two defeats on the bounce to Liverpool and Burnley.
Although the outcome was one which was expected, it was important for United to win the game as a shock upset would have piled even more pressure onto the most scrutinised manager in the Premier League.
The finishing was clinical from the visitors and the back four never looked in too much trouble. Despite being expected to cruise to victory, there are some positives United fans can take from the cup tie.
Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot were given the nod on Sunday to operate as wing-backs in a 3-5-2 system and both performed well. Brandon Williams and Aaron Wan-Bissaka appear to be Solskjaer’s first choice options but United fans were given confidence on their strength in depth in the position.
Shaw and Dalot spent most of their time in the opposition’s third and were instrumental in United taking a 5-0 lead into the break. They provided constant width to United’s play and were key in stretching Tranmere’s defence to create holes for Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard to fill.
Shaw provided the assist for Martial’s goal and Dalot managed to grab one of his own to cap off a good performance. Although United were comfortable throughout and they weren’t required to do much defending, the full-backs proved they still have a lot to offer and will be pushing for starts in the league.
Leader’s performance from Maguire
United’s new club captain was very professional and led by example in the victory. You can only beat the team that’s in front of you and Harry Maguire led the charge.
He was solid defensively and did what little work he had to seemingly with ease. He maintained concentration throughout and marshalled United’s back three, starting attacks from the back.
He even managed to net his first goal in a red shirt, firing past a helpless Tranmere goalkeeper from the edge of the box. Maybe not where you would expect Maguire to be scoring from, but certainly one he won’t forget.
It was an important game for the Red Devils and breaking the losing rut was crucial. He did what was expected of him, grabbed his first goal and will gain some confidence from it.
Mason Greenwood doesn’t have a weak foot
The United youngster showed some confidence by stepping up to dispatch a penalty with his right foot, causing fans to question whether he has a weak foot.
He has often preferred cutting in onto his left foot to fire shots away but has scored plenty of goals on either side. Just a little bit of arrogance is something we see from all great players and Greenwood seems to have it.
Although it wasn’t the teenager’s best performance, he can add another goal to the season tally and will continue to grow in confidence. This could be hugely important with the injury to Marcus Rashford expected to keep him on the side-line for a few months.
Greenwood will find himself getting more and more chances and could cement his place in the first team if he continues scoring goals at his current rate.
Phil Jones isn’t completely hopeless
There aren’t many players that receive as much stick as Jones but the centre-half managed to salvage some pride with a headed goal to help his side to the win.
He had some shaky moments in the game which we have come to expect from the Englishman but he did his job and played his part in keeping a much needed clean sheet.
He may not be a fan-favourite at Old Trafford but he is a useful squad player if nothing else and proved he can still chip in when needed. The goal will give Jones some confidence after a tough few months for the defender.