Football UK

Brighton 0-3 Man Utd: 5 talking points as Red Devils cruise into quarter-finals


Man Utd eased to a comfortable victory over Brighton to seal their passage to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.

While on paper it was a repeat of Saturday’s Premier League fixture, in reality it was very different as United swept The Seagulls aside without reply.

Scott McTominay put United into the lead on the stroke of half-time, powering home a header from Juan Mata’s cross.

United’s second then came from man of the match contender Mata himself, aided superbly by a clever backheel from Donny van de Beek for his teammate to slot into the corner.

Substitute Paul Pogba then added the icing on the cake with a goal from a free-kick – which got a big slice of luck off a defender on the way in.

Here are the talking points from the Amex Stadium.

Paul Pogba's deflected free-kick rounded off the win
Paul Pogba’s deflected free-kick rounded off the win

1. Bailly stakes his claim

Eric Bailly served his boss a timely reminder of his talents
Eric Bailly served his boss a timely reminder of his talents

All this talk of Man Utd needing a centre-back and you almost forget they have a decent option currently serving as back-up.

While Bailly’s injury problems have often left him sidelined, the 26-year-old is fit again, and Solskjaer must surely be considering selecting him over struggling teammate Victor Lindelof.

Bailly’s performance against Brighton was convincingly assured with some standout tackles included.

He’s as comfortable on the ball as Lindelof, is quicker than both him and Harry Maguire, and is rarely out-muscled or beaten in the air.

Either sign a new defender or get Bailly in the side.

2. Van de versatile

Van de Beek was operating in a no.10 role and showed glimpses of his quality
Van de Beek was operating in a no.10 role and showed glimpses of his quality

United’s new signing Donny van de Beek was handed his first start for the club in a week where his agent has slammed his prior role as a substitute.

And the Dutchman took up a position many would have perhaps considered to be unfamiliar for him as no.10 behind striker Odion Ighalo.

Fans will probably have been more accustomed to seeing van de Beek operating in the no.6 or no.8 positions as part of a three-man midfield.

But his ability to create chances and score goals is well known, and this formation freed him up to get in the areas United want him.

That was where the second goal from, as he found a pocket of space before his superb backheel teed up Mata to score.

And it was perhaps an indication of how Solskjaer could use his new recruit going forward – potentially with Messrs Pogba and Fernandes behind him.

3. Henderson passes test

Henderson produced a solid display with another clean sheet
Henderson produced a solid display with another clean sheet

Dean Henderson answered a few more questions over whether he could one day take up the no.1 jersey at United with another clean sheet.

After keeping Luton at bay last week, there was no getting past Henderson again at the Amex.

United’s back-up stopper had little to do, admittedly, but when he did he dealt with it well.

He got down low to keep out a curling shot from the edge of the box in the first half, but his one-handed close-range stop from Leandro Trossard later on was right out of the top drawer.


4. Dalot’s last chance

Diogo Dalot was given a rare start but is on his last chance to impress
Diogo Dalot was given a rare start but is on his last chance to impress

Whether United threw Diogo Dalot in for a final flirt with the shop window or a second chance is something only the coming days may tell us.

Either way, this is surely last chance saloon for the right-back.

Dalot has failed to force his way into regular first-team reckoning and is now firmly behind Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the pecking order, while Brandon Williams is also preferred when selection allows.

After costing a cool £19million two years ago, there is still some significant sell-on value in Dalot.

But on this ineffectual display he’s done little to convince Solskjaer, or any prospective buyers, that he’d be a chance worth taking.

5. Mixed night for fringe men

Odion Ighalo didn't produce his best performance for United
Odion Ighalo didn’t produce his best performance for United

Daniel James will be disappointed with his performance after once again failing to prove his worth despite being switched to the left-hand side where he has shown good form for Wales.

At times United didn’t perhaps use him when he was free in space, but he struggled to get into the game in general and was sloppy in possession when he was picked out.

Same can be said for Odion Ighalo, for whom the gloss seems to have faded and the goals dried up.

Ighalo put one chance into the side netting which he should have buried, and his overall hold-up play was below par.

Both players were dragged off and United unsurprisingly looked a lot more dangerous when the likes of Pogba and Rashford entered the fray.

It was a somewhat better evening for some of the other fringe men, notably the lively Mata and the sturdy, dependable McTominay – who combined for the opener before the Spaniard doubled United’s tally.

But it will be the contributions of those aforementioned which will be of more concern to Solskjaer.

Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *