Okay so it was just Tranmere Rovers, but a 6-0 away victory provides a welcome distraction from United’s woes on and off the quagmire. A goal fest in the first half saw United surge into an unassailable lead, even for this set of under-performing prima donna’s. Tranmere had no answer to an unusually fearsome display from some of the team’s most unlikely sources.
As the media vultures circled overhead, Maguire, Lingard and Jones got in on the act as United scored stunner after stunner to progress to the 5th round of this year’s FA Cup.
Maybe there is a glimmer of hope going into Wednesday after all.
Sergio Romero – 7
This is a keeper that saves his car crash performances for off the pitch, whilst on it proves why he is one of the best keepers in English football. Another solid display that leaves you wondering why he continues to be content to play second fiddle to De Gea who, by contrast, has attracted some criticism of late. Never looked like being beaten as Rover’s strikers got stage fright in front of goal in the glare of the BT Sport cameras.
Diogo Dalot – 8
Flourished in an advanced role and with little threat behind him, Diogo was able to surge forward at will. Marked a good display with beautiful dribble into the box, ghosting beyond Ridehalgh and struck an unstoppable drive beyond keeper’s despairing dive. Despite launching a great early opening in the second half well above the bar, Dalot can look back very positively on a performance that was surely one of his best in a United shirt.
Victor Lindelof – 7
Was very comfortable in a game where the inferior opposition offered little by way of threat. Rare encroachments into the United box were well marshalled by Lindelof, who was not phased by the physicality of the EFL League One side.
Harry Maguire – 8
Harry had the freedom to drift forward in a game that was totally controlled by United and got on the score sheet to mark his first (overdue) go for the Reds. Cutting inside unchallenged to the edge of the box, he hit a swerving deflected strike that always looked like it was going in. He followed this up shortly afterwards following another marauding run, which set up a welcome goal from out-of-favour Jesse Lingard.
Phil Jones – 8
Despite giving away a cheap yellow card early on, Jones recovered from rolling in the mud to put in a solid shift adapting well in a back three formation that were never really troubled during a potential banana-skin fixture. In game where goals were coming from unlikely outlets, Jones obliged with an arching header following a set-piece in the middle of a goal rush spell for United.
Luke Shaw – 6
Difficult to be critical of Luke in a game where he was overshadowed by strong performances of others. He had a hand in Martial’s late first half goal and offered in patches in a team set up to attack against lowly opposition.
Nemanja Matic – 7
Owned the middle of the park, his dominant experienced display encouraged confidence from those around him. It was very telling that once the game was already won at half time, Ole wrapped Matic in cotton wool, bringing him off with Wednesday’s return derby semi-final very much in mind. Has done very well following McTominay’s injury.
Andreas Pereira – 7
Wayward shooting again from Andreas today although an assist for Jones helps mask his display in a game where United had more than enough to progress past their Merseyside opposition. It is evident that he is not the solution in a midfield that looks unable to compete in the Premier League.
Jesse Lingard – 7
A typically industrious performance from Lingard that was rewarded early in the first half with an impressive confidence building goal. Played in by Maguire, Jesse curled a long-range shot which to delight of the buoyant travelling fans, nestled in the corner of the net. Had a decent effort in the second half that was just wide but for a player under fire, this was positive step forward during an otherwise disappointing season for Lingard and United.
Anthony Martial – 7
Persistence from Anthony got its reward with a memorable goal at the end of first half. At times he looked to have trouble dealing with the physicality of the defence that otherwise completely lack guile to stop the United attack. Was involved in marginal penalty appeal where again he got out-muscled before he was substituted at half-time to protect him from a pitch that closer resembled a beach.
Mason Greenwood – 7
A quieter game for Mason compared with of late, but was still able to open his account in the FA Cup with a 57th minute penalty. Showed flashes of why many believe he has what it takes to reach the top echelon in the game. Showed an appetite to track back and put in the hard yards. Showed strength of character to take the ball and responsibility away from Lingard when the penalty was awarded.
Tahith Chong (for Martial) – 7
Looked sharp as soon as be came on, latching to an unconvincing back-pass he was unlucky not to sneak passed Davies. Unlucky when a raking drive rattled the bar, from which Tranmere were very lucky to escape.
Did well to earn a penalty as Davies lashed wildly to connect with the United prospect, from which Greenwood calmly slotted home from the deserved second half penalty.
Fred (for Matic) – 5
Game was already won by the time he came on but didn’t threaten in cameo role today.
Brandon Williams (for Maguire) – 5
Again, came on at a stage when there was no danger and was more than comfortable.
Fans – 11