Manchester United secured their place in the FA Cup fourth round with a 3-1 win over Everton under the Old Trafford lights.
Goals from Antony and Rashford – either side of a Conor Coady own goal – sealed Manchester United’s seventh straight win in all competitions.
In a closely contested match that saw Marcus Rashford have a hand in all three goals, David de Gea become the 10th most capped United player, and Luke Shaw start another game at centre-back, there were plenty of pros and cons to dissect from Friday night’s game.
Pro: Antony scores United’s fastest goal of the season – with his right foot!
It took just 4 minutes for United to make an impact in their third-round FA Cup tie as Antony latched on to a low cross from Rashford with his right foot to slide the ball past Jordan Pickford. Prior to Friday’s game, United’s fastest goal was clocked at 14 minutes in November’s 2-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Con: De Gea’s calamity on 511th appearance ends clean sheet run
A memorable evening almost became a night to forget for United’s record-breaking goalkeeper. In his 511th appearance for the club – moving him to 10th on the all-time appearance list – De Gea was at fault for Everton’s equaliser, which ended United’s momentum-building run of four consecutive clean sheets.
Pro: Rashford’s rich vein of form continues
An assist for Antony, a low cross that forced an own goal, and a cooly dispatched penalty ensured Rashford’s purple patch continued. Throughout the night, United’s number 10 was the most dangerous player on the pitch going forward. He lead the attacks with direct runs at the Everton defence and created the most chances of anyone (3), sealing United’s victory with his 17th and 18th goal involvements of the season and scooping Player of the Match in the process.
Con: An apparent lack of attacking depth
While Erik ten Hag had an abundance of first-team defenders on the bench to choose from, his attacking options were sparse. With Jadon Sancho still missing and no replacement yet sourced for Cristiano Ronaldo, Ten Hag could only turn to youngsters Alejandro Garnacho (18) and Anthony Elanga (20). United face the possibility of playing 14 games in the coming 8 weeks, meaning squad rotation and subsequent depth will be a priority for ten Hag.
Pro: Dalot returns to the starting line-up
Although at times it was a nervy performance from the 23-year-old, which included an awkward exchange with De Gea and a tough first half against the lively Demarai Gray, Diogo Dalot reclaimed the right-back spot in the starting 11 for the first time since leaving for Qatar in November.
Con: Shaw preferred to Maguire and Lindelof again
Luke Shaw’s albeit temporary shift to centre-back can be seen as both a pro and a con. On the upside, it’s incredible to see how ten Hag can transform an attacking wing-back into a comfortable ball-playing defender alongside Raphael Varane. However, his preference for using Shaw as a backup for Lisandro Martinez over team-mate Victor Lindelof and club captain Harry Maguire may spell the end for one or both of United’s stars under the Dutchman’s reign.