Talking points: Everton 0 United 2
Manchester United left it late to book a place in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup with a 2-0 win over Everton.
Having dominated the early stages, the Reds were frustrated by the Toffees until Edinson Cavani’s 88th-minute strike gave us a priceless advantage.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team tried to fight back in stoppage time and send the match to a penalty shootout, but were rebuffed by a resolute United defence. Anthony Martial then put the match beyond doubt with a goal on the break.
What did we find out about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team during a positive evening on Merseyside? Here are the essential talking points...
Into the last four, again
Victory means United will now contest their 16th League Cup semi-final, having reached the same stage last season. The Reds will face their local rivals and our most recent final-four opponents: Manchester City. The other semi is between Tottenham v Brentford.
Cavani fires us through
Striking hard from the edge of the penalty area, our Uruguayan frontman’s goal helped send us into the semis and, although it came with just two minutes to go, it still wasn’t as late as his first strike in a United shirt – which came in the fifth minute of added time of our league match at Everton last month. It was perhaps no surprise that Edinson got the goal, as he was a handful all night and unlucky not to have robbed the ball from home keeper Robin Olsen during the first half.
Having had a notable number of difficult starts to games this season, the Reds were close to their best from the first whistle. Creating nine chances in the first half an hour, the only difference between tonight and our blistering opening against Leeds on Sunday was a decisive finish. But with two such positive performances from the get-go in succession, it is perhaps a sign that we’ve put that particular demon behind us.
Keeping it clean
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are still yet to concede in this year’s Carabao Cup, having kept their third consecutive clean sheet in the competition by shutting out Everton over 90 minutes. While Dean Henderson can probably think of busier days between the sticks, he stood firm in defence of his goal – and produced a fine save from a Gylfi Sigurdsson free-kick in the first half.
Not as quiet as usual
Due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions, the sight of fans inside UK stadiums has been rare since March, but United – who were facing the Toffees for the 100th time at Goodison – got a reminder of the the blue half of Merseyside's passionate support, as 2,000 home fans tried their best to inspire their players towards a result. Thankfully for us, their efforts were in vain.
Ivorian defender Eric Bailly hadn't featured for the team since the harrowing 6-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in early October, but returned to great effect in this League Cup quarter-final, in which he made his 90th appearance for the club. Bailly was typically committed throughout, and strode forward confidently with the ball at certain moments, as the Reds searched for a goal to break the long deadlock before Cavani's opener. His return will be a significant boost for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, amid the hectic Christmas and New Year period. Axel Tuanzebe also performed well at right-back, as Solskjaer rotated his defence ahead of Boxing Day's trip to Leicester.
Incredible domestic away run continues
United might have lost a couple of Champions League games on the road this season, but their domestic away form remains impeccable. This was a remarkable 13th consecutive domestic win away from Old Trafford, and the latest in a streak which stretches back to the tail end of 2019/20. It's the best run of its kind in club history.