Manchester United 4-2 Aston Villa: Four Things We Learned

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Manchester United are in the fourth round of the League Cup, but not without trouble, beating Aston Villa 4-2 at Old Trafford. After a 3-1 loss in the league last weekend against the same oppposition, Erik Ten Hag’s team now managed to put a great second half performance, managing to get back from behind on two occasions.

Ollie Watkins gave Villa the lead early into second half, before Anthony Martial equalised in the next minute. When Diogo Dalot scored an own goal to put Villa back in lead, this time United needed mere six minutes to get back on track thanks to Marcus Rashford’s strike. Bruno Fernandes put United ahead, while Scott McTominay only confirmed the victory in stoppage time after a wonderful Alejandro Garnacho assist.

Rashford Shows Why He Goes To World Cup

Thursday was the day when Gareth Southgate named the 26 players set to represent England at the World Cup and among them were three Man United players – Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford. It was the latter of the three that immediately showed why deserves the call-up. Rashford has not played for England since the Euro final 16 months ago, but he has scored eight goals this season, getting United back in the game, scoring for 2-2. Considering how well he has been doing under Ten Hag, he might even get a chance to be among starters in Qatar.

Fernandes Proves His Worth Next To Van De Beek

Another game against Villa and another time we see how valuable Bruno Fernandes can be for United when he is in form. The Portuguese scored the winning goal in this match, which was his sixth against Aston Villa in his career. His performances against this team in the past two matches have been in stark difference to Donny van de Beek’s struggles. The Dutchman was not even getting the ball, failing to influence the game, while Fernandes’ performance further highlighted this team currently has only one player who can be so influential in the number 10 role.

Without Martinez, Similar Defensive Troubles Arise

Ten Hag decided to give Lisandro Martinez more rest during midweek, which meant Lindelof and Maguire started as the two centre-backs. With McTominay and Fred in midfield, we got to see this central defensive quartet once again, which was regular occurence last season. And some similar issues reappeared on the night, with United giving away too much to the visitors. Their performances highlighted how combative Martinez was missed, but also how Casemiro has managed to improve United’s defensive structure.

One More Match Before The Break

Man United defeated Villa and will play Burnley in the fourth round match, in what is expected to be the team’s first competitive match post-World Cup. For now, it is scheduled to be played just two days after the World Cup final, but with Villa match behind us, the Devils only have one more match before the Qatar tournameng commences. Ten Hag’s side will travel to Fulham’s Craven Cottage and three points on that trip could put United in a really good position for when the season resumes. Getting in and around the top four at this early stage of the campaign is something that will give Ten Hag optimism that things are going in the right direction.

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