Manchester United enter the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 4-2 victory over Newport County.
Erik ten Hag opted to start a strong side as Manchester United travelled to face Newport County in the fourth round of the FA Cup, with Casemiro, Lisandro Martínez, and Luke Shaw all starting on Sunday afternoon.
United got off to a fantastic start as Bruno Fernandes fired the club into the lead just six minutes in with a lovely low shot past the goalkeeper, with Kobbie Mainoo added to eight minutes later to score his first ever senior goal.
With United totally dominant, Ben Morris appeared out of nowhere for Newport to grab a goal back with a beautiful half-volley, although a slight deflection from Lisandro Martínez saw the ball fly over Altay Bayındır.
The beginning of the second half saw Newport grab an incredibly unexpected equaliser, and it took United until the 68th minute to regain their lead through Antony, who slotted in a shot rebounding off the post. Rasmus Højlund then rounded the game off in extra time.
#1 – Taking no chances
Erik ten Hag’s strong line-up shows that he is taking no chances in the FA Cup. On Friday afternoon, the manager admitted that the competition represents United’s last chance of silverware this season.
Ten Hag will also have in mind that many of his players are in need of match fitness as the likes of Casemiro, Shaw, and Martínez have not played much football in recent months – and beyond this, no United players have played any competitive football in two weeks.
#2 – Multiple firsts for the evening
Both Antony and Kobbie Mainoo registered firsts against Newport County.
Antony was able to grab his first goal and first assist of the campaign, assisting Fernandes for the opening goal of the tie, while Mainoo grabbed his first-ever senior goal with a lovely, slotted finish.
While Mainoo’s goal is just another part of his rising story this season, Antony’s assist will hopefully boost his confidence.
#3 – Bayındır’s first game
Bayındır’s display was one that made the keeper look mostly composed, calm, and adjusted to life in a United shirt.
However, it cannot be ignored that Newport County, who are 16th in League Two, were able to score two goals against Manchester United’s first-choice defence, bar the goalkeeper.
Bayındır will likely occupy the bench role once again after Cameroon exited AFCON, with André Onana set to return to United in the coming days.
#4 – No service to Højlund, AGAIN
Rasmus Højlund did not register a single shot in the first 75 minutes of the tie, which is a dismal statistic.
This is the type of game where Højlund should be being fed chance after chance, with the two sides separated by four tiers of the English league system, but United failed to create for him, and it must be questioned whether it’s a quality or a tactical issue at this point.
It took Højlund until the 90+3′ minute to get his chance, where he slotted in the club’s fourth goal of the game… it’s not a good look.
#5 – Made it hard
United made the game so much harder for themselves than it needed to be. Poor decisions and missed chances allowed Newport to climb back into a game where they would otherwise have had no right to.
Although the club got over the line this time, United’s sloppy play has punished them many times already this season and will continue to do so in future if something isn’t changed.
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