Manchester United reach the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup for the second successive season in a row after beating Everton 2-0. We started the game with intent as we pressed the opposition back. A number of chances were created in the first half as both Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood, and Paul Pogba had chances.
The second half saw a bit of tiredness creep in, as at times both sides were sloppy in possession and passing. As the game approached the final whistle, there would be one key moment that decided the match, and this came through the brilliant strike from Edinson Cavani. As Everton chased the game, we countered and Anthony Martial sealed the win at the end as we now go on to face Manchester City in the semi-finals.
Here are five things we learned from the match:
1. Cavani to the rescue
A game that ticked down towards the final whistle seemed to be heading towards penalties. Edison Cavani had a number of chances in the first half but was denied by the Everton goalkeeper. He never gave up and kept going with his movement in and around the box, getting back to defend as well.
The chance he had scored from could not be more tougher but certainly made up for it from the easy chances before it. The goal from him came at a key point in the match. Cavani may have been sent off if VAR had been involved as he appeared to grab the throat of Everton’s Yerry Mina during an off the ball incident in the fifty minute. On a different day, with VAR and another referee, Cavani could have been the villain of the game.
2. United were intent from the start
Ole Gunnar Solskjær was clearly taking this game seriously from the start as he looks to earn his first trophy as United manager. He named influential player Bruno Fernandes in the starting eleven when he could have easily given him a rest or put him on the bench only using him if needed.
From the start of the game, United had the intent and were dominating in the first thirty minutes or so, even though we did not score an early goal as we did on Sunday against Leeds. Our recent form had seen us start badly, concede a goal, and then begin to play properly and come back for the victory. In the last couple of games, we have seemed to correct this issue, and confidence is running high at the moment.
It is refreshing to see United showing this quality of attacking football and opponents have to work out how to stop us. The old adage is that if you don’t take your chances the match becomes harder to score in. Then the opposition will begin to grow in confidence and create chances for themselves. United was ruthless against Leeds but just lacked this despite the dominant period in the first half.
3. Pogba with another solid performance
Paul Pogba has put in some good performances recently. Though he did not feature in the win against Leeds, his performance on Wednesday evening was solid. The midfielder had made three key passes, had completed 4 accurate long balls. In addition, he won the majority of the duels whilst creating three chances, making three interceptions and two tackles.
4. Tuanzebe fills in at right-back
It had been decided by Ole before this game that Aaron Wan-Bissaka would be given a rest. With Brandon Williams falling ill, it presented the question of who would fill the right-back position and upstep Axel Tuanzebe.
He looked very good in the role in a position he had made his United debut in. Tuanzebe was getting forward when United was on the attack. He nearly created a chance earlier on with his pass into the opposition penalty area. He showed his versatility tonight and reminding everyone why he needs to get more game time for us.
5. Tiredness crept in the second half
The second half just lacked the quality of the first half as both sides were sloppy in possession and passing. United was struggling to create chances even among the substitutes before Cavani struck late on. The tiredness is a by-product of the players playing a lot of football recently. The fixture schedule gets even busier during the Christmas period. We go away to Leicester City on Boxing Day, followed by Wolves and Aston Villa at home. You do wonder what advantage these teams will have over us as they have had a longer rest period.