There’s going to be a final appearance in Erik ten Hag’s first season as they comfortably overcame Nottingham Forest 5-0 on aggregate. Winning 3-0 from the first-leg, second-half goals from Anthony Martial and Fred put the seal on the semi-final. The reds boss will be delighted by the professionalism showed, another clean sheet and the return of Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial.
It was always going to be an uphill task for the away side given their deficit going into the match. Requiring an early goal to stand any chance, they squandered what few chances came their way. They have bigger issues to contend with as they aim to retain their place in the top-flight.
Erik ten Hag made six changes from FA Cup win against Reading. Tom Heaton, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw, Fred, and Alejandro Garnacho all came into the side. Christian Eriksen was missing due to his injury as was Scott McTominay. Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial were deemed fit enough to start on the bench. Forest was dealt a blow in the warm-up as Jesse Lingard picked up an injury and missed out against his former side. Steve Cooper made four switches from the first-leg defeat other than that. Willy Boly, Neco Williams, Orel Mangala and Jonathon Dennis came in for Serge Aurier, Joe Worrall, Danilo and Morgan Gibbs-White.
United were in the ideal position going into this game and knew that an early goal would have put the game to bed. Bruno Fernandes spotted Luke Shaw in space out on left and flicked it over the top in his direction. He was unable to make much of it and it came to nothing. Alejandro Garnacho skipped past Willy Boly before going to ground. The faint appeals were ignored. Moments later Antony saw a effort straight at Hennessy.
The first real save from either keeper came when Shaw floated in a free kick after Garnacho was fouled. Varane got his head to it but Hennessy palmed it away. He was forced into action shortly after when Garnacho poked it past Remo Freuler before the keeper came out to intercept it. Brennan Johnson had the best chance at the other end when he suddenly found himself in space in the box. He only managed to shoot straight at Tom Heaton. Antony then saw a corner come out to him. His effort was well hit but just off target.
Forest had another chance as Jonathon Dennis found himself un-marked in the box. His volley looked to be on target but hit his own team-mate, Sam Sturridge, and cleared away. Wout Weghorst almost added to his goal from the City Ground on the stroke of half-time as he met a lovely ball from Casemiro. His header struck the outside of the post though.
The away side got fortunate with two decisions just after the break. Firstly, it looked like Scott McKenna made contact with Weghorst as he attempted to clear the ball. Johnson then got lucky with a possible red card as he appeared to have put his hand into the face of Garnacho. He almost got his revenge as he forced Hennessy into a smart save low down to his left.
Ten Hag chose to introduce some fresh faces and two combined to open the scoring. Casemiro won the ball and immediately played it forward in the direction of Anthony Martial. He played it wide to Marcus Rashford who’s shot was blocked by McKenna. It fell handily to Martial to tap home on his return to the side.
Shortly after the tie was done and dusted. The likes of Jadon Sancho, Martial and Fred combined before the ball was spread wide to Fernandes. He sent in a wonderful cross towards Rashford at the back post who squared it for Fred to net his second in two games.
Danilo had decent volley which forced Heaton into a diving save as Forest tried for a consolation. Sturridge skied over the rebound.
Job done upon the final whistle where there will be travelling to Wembley for the first time since 2018 and a chance to win their first silverware since 2017. Fans are already trying to secure their tickets for the final against Newcastle. Plenty of games in the meantime first though. They face Crystal Palace yet again on Saturday at 15.00. Forest, meanwhile, face into a massive relegation clash with Leeds at home on Sunday at 14.00.
Manchester Utd: Tom Heaton; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane (Harry Maguire 80), Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw, Carlos Casemiro (Victor Lindelof 80), Fred, Bruno Fernandes; Alejandro Garnacho (Marcus Rashford 63), Antony (Jadon Sancho 63), Wout Weghorst (Anthony Martial 63)
Subs not used: David De Gea, Tyrell Malacia, Facundo Pellistri,Kobee Mainoo
Booked: Fred (34), Carlos Casemiro (67)
Nottingham Forest: Wayne Hennessy; Neco Williams, Scott McKenna, Willy Boly, Renan Lodi (Serge Aurier 65), Brennan Johnson (Alex Mighten 65), Orel Mangala, Remo Freuler (Danilo 65); Gustavo Scarpo (Oliver Hammond 86), Jonathon Dennis, Sam Sturridge (Detlef Esapa Osong 86)
Subs not used: Steve Cook, Joe Worrall, Jonjo Shelvey
Booked: Sam Sturridge (45+2)
Referee: Peter Bankes