Player Ratings, Reaction and Highlights : Everton 0-2 Manchester United

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Manchester United are through to the semi-final of the League Cup after a late show against Everton gave them a victory they fully deserved.

United’s start was promising and enterprising; the movement of their front players caused the home defence plenty of problems. Van De Beek saw an effort in the 7th minute blocked out, and Cavani had a few openings he could have been more clinical with, while Greenwood had a good effort in the 25th minute which clipped the outside of the post.

Despite all the changes being a normal state of affairs for a League Cup game, it does still feel as if there are plenty of places up for grabs in the United team, and so Pogba and Matic’s decent showing should have impressed – though Tuanzebe at right-back was arguably only outshone by Fernandes’ ever-present effervescent enterprise. Eric Bailly, too, should the sort of composure all too often missing from Solskjaer’s defence.

After riding that early storm, Everton settled into the game and had a couple of decent openings themselves – Sigurdsson coming closest when he tested Henderson from a free-kick.

For all their positivity, the first half ended goalless with United unable to find a break through.

After being unable to find that crucial goal, the second half was a flat affair as Everton tried to force the matter themselves. With United failing to reach the heights of those early first half minutes, Martial and Rashford were brought on for Van De Beek and Greenwood. Cavani was left on but might have been removed if the referee had seen his hands-to-throat action – and most certainly would have if VAR had been in use.

But Cavani remained on the pitch until the end and with less than 3 minutes left had the big impact; Martial played him in from the right, but there was an awful lot to do – the Uruguay International showed the benefit of all that experience he was brought in to provide with an expert finish from the edge of the box.

United were inspired, and Everton deflated. In truth the hosts never really did enough to deserve qualification and the visitors looked to rub salt in the wound with a security goal in injury time. Fernandes hit the bar. Rashford should have done better with a one-on-one. But Rashford made amends by putting Martial clear to make it two, a simple goal that played like it was straight from the training pitch.

Solskjaer is now through to his third consecutive domestic cup semi-final, and fourth overall taking European football into account from last season.

Selection

More changes from Solskjaer but, as stated above, in a climate where it does feel as if changes could influence the first team selection. If this is the second string, then wow – what a statement.

Henderson was fantastic in his composure after last week. Tuanzebe was immaculate. Telles could be better defensive-wise but still feels like a good buy. And there is the feeling that there is a good handle on the blend of midfield and attack – famous last words, I know, let’s see how Christmas pans out. But after the European exit this has been a very good week or so for Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Goals

Ratings

Henderson 7

Tuanzebe 8

Bailly 7

Maguire 7

Telles 6

Matic 7

Pogba 7

Van De Beek 6

Fernandes 8

Greenwood 6

Cavani 7

Subs:

Rashford 6

Martial 7

Shaw

Wayne Barton

Wayne is a writer and producer. His numerous books on Manchester United include the authorised biography of Jimmy Murphy. He wrote and produced the BT Sport film 'Too Good To Go Down'. In 2015 he was described by the Independent as the 'leading writer on Manchester United' and former club chairman Martin Edwards has described him as 'the pre-eminent writer on the club'.

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