Manchester United clipped the wings of the Seagulls for the second time in four days, this time in much more comfortable fashion, to secure a place in the Carabao Cup quarter final.
Scott McTominay headed the Reds in front by half-time, and further goals from the excellent Juan Mata and substitute Paul Pogba sealed United’s spot in the last eight. Here is what we learned from the trip to the Amex.
Manchester United into Fizzy Pop quarter-finals
After Saturday’s dramatic, chaotic, at-the-death victory over the same opponents on the same ground, United will be pleased to dispatch Brighton with a lot less fuss this time. United will play in the League Cup quarter finals for the fourth time in five seasons and will be looking to go one better than last season’s narrow semi final loss to City by lifting the trophy at Wembley for the first time since 2017. They will join the likes of Spurs, Manchester City, Everton, and Arsenal or Liverpool in the latter stages.
The Reds looked noticeably sharper and fitter and the scratch side did what they were asked to do – keep United in with a shout of a first trophy in four seasons. It may only be what I call the Fizzy Pop cup but I suppose a trophy is a trophy. The Reds will discover their quarter-final opponents tomorrow evening when the draw is done after the Liverpool vs Arsenal match.
Henderson continues impressive audition
Dean Henderson has played two games for Manchester United – both coming in this competition and both against so called lesser lights. The returning loanee had little to do in either game as you would possibly expect, but that doesn’t mean his contribution was any less crucial. Henderson produced a stunning late stop at Kenilworth Road with the tie still in the balance at 1-0, the Reds going on to win 3-0. It was a case of deja vu here, as Brighton sub Leandro Trossard – the man who simply cannot score – was kept out by a breathtaking one handed save from the United stopper. The mark of a good goalkeeper is to keep your concentration and focus even when not called into action often. Henderson did that here and showed why he is so highly rated. David de Gea watch out!
Mixed night for Reds fringe boys
Off the back of Saturday’s last gasp win and with this weekend’s showdown with new look Spurs looming, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was always going to rotate his Reds. Indeed he did, making ten changes with only the much-maligned Victor Lindelof keeping his place. It was a largely second string side, but the Reds still had too much for a similarly understrength Seagulls. Several of United’s fringe players were given a chance to prove their worth and it was a mixed night. Juan Mata provided a worldie assist for McTominay’s header, and then made the game safe with a brilliant goal after an equally filthy touch from Donny van de Beek.
Mata may lack pace and an “up and at em” approach, but he can still turn a game with his vision, link play and ability to find space. I wish we could clone this wonderful man. Odion Ighalo struggled again and Dan James was almost conspicuous by his absence. Eric Bailly did his long term prospects no harm with a colossal performance, McTominay played well but Fred flattered to deceive again.