Manchester United have started well enough in the FA Cup this season, beating Aston Villa 1-0 in the third round match at Old Trafford. The scoreline was resolved by an early Scott McTominay strike, following Fred’s assist after just eight minutes of play.
An eventful start did not give the impression that will be the final score, but ultimately, Ralf Rangnick’s side managed to knock-out Steven Gerrard and his team out of the competition on his arrival back at Old Trafford, as a former rival in Liverpool’s jersey. Here is what we learned from United’s progress to the fourth round.
Rangnick Switches The System Back
FA Cup is the competition where it was expected to see some changes in the starting lineup. Ralf Rangnick likes doing that nad he loves giving a rest to certain players. This time, that player was ultimately just Cristiano Ronaldo, as United switched back to a 4-2-3-1 system.
The Portuguese star was not in the matchday squad as Rangnick decided to get back into the old system that the likes of Bruno Fernandes prefer. However, that system change did not bring an ideal performance and that is especially the case for one player.
Rashford’s Performances Far From Enough
Marcus Rashford’s recent performances are becoming worse and worse. The Englishman has very poor throughout his 86 minutes spent on the pitch. He did not record a single shot playing on the left wing, he barely had time on the ball and when he did, it was better for United when he did not. He even had completed just 68 per cent of his passes.
Which brings us to the question of what Rashford has to do to return to his old form. Recently, there is a clear view that he is not bringing enough to the team and that he underdeveloped in many areas of his game, ultimately not offering much. That was the case recently in a new 4-2-2-2 system, but this reversal to his favourite left wing position did not bring anything to the Red Devils.
Van De Beek Does Not Start
If there was a match that felt like a good opportunity for Rangnick to give the chance to Donny van de Beek in the starting lineup, then it was this cup game. But that did not happen. The German manager left the Dutch midfielder on the bench until the final 20 minutes, when he came on instead of Edinson Cavani. When he was on the pitch, Van de Beek was energetic in possession, showing eagerness to prove himself. However, it still seems that Van de Beek is not getting enough opportunities in the starting lineup, despite Rangnick’s clear instructions in the media that he will not let the midfielder go in this transfer window.
Man United Get A Good Draw
We could have said that Man United had a tricky draw for the third round, but their fourth round rival will be an easier one, at least on paper. Man United have drawn Middlesbrough in the next round of the FA Cup, as they will face the Championship side for the place in the last 16.
That could be a good opportunity for Rangnick to further rotate his team, as United will host Boro on 5 February.