Things we noticed against Charlton
Manchester United have advanced to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup with a hard fought 3-0 win over Charlton Athletic at Old Trafford.
Antony’s superb first-half effort gave Erik ten Hag’s men the lead before in-form substitute Marcus Rashford came off the bench to grab a brace in the last five minutes of the game. United will now join Newcastle United in the final four, with the other two fixtures taking place on Wednesday night.
However, the goals aren’t the only talking point from our latest cup tie. Read on to find out what we discovered in the quarter-final game against the Addicks…
ROTATION IS KEY
With crucial games coming up against Manchester City, Crystal Palace and Arsenal, it is good to see Erik ten Hag giving players like Marcus Rashford, Casemiro and David De Gea a rest from the start of the clash with Charlton. Meanwhile, handing academy graduates like Kobbie Mainoo, Alejandro Garnacho and Anthony Elanga a chance to shine in a quarter-final is fantastic to see. Lisandro Martinez had the chance to get full match fitness under his belt following his incredible World Cup achievement, with his maiden start since his Qatar exertions.
OUR NEW MAIN-OO MAN
For such a big occasion, 17-year-old Kobbie took to his debut at Old Trafford like a duck to water. He looked comfortable on the ball, dishing out passes to the forward line and getting stuck into tackles. The youngster made way for fellow midfielder Casemiro in the 59th minute and received a warm ovation from the Red Army as he came off. A great start from the boy from Stockport. Congratulations on your debut, Kobbie!
HEATON'S FULL DEBUT
Mainoo was not the only player to make his full debut tonight, with 36-year-old Tom Heaton making his first start for the Reds. The former Burnley keeper began his career with United in the youth academy in 2002 and left in 2010 to join Cardiff City. He returned to his boyhood club in July 2021 from Aston Villa and has finally made the XI, keeping a clean sheet against Charlton. He previously came on as a substitute against Young Boys in the Champions League. His highlight of this game came when he held onto Shaun Clare's cross towards the end of the first half. In the second-half, Heaton had more to do including a save from an Addicks free-kick. Congratulations to Tom for great debut.
United's young wing-wizard Alejandro Garnacho started the game in red-hot form. The wide-man nearly created the opener when his low cross found Diogo Dalot, but the Portuguese right-back was unable to convert the chance. Moments later, Garnacho tried two curling efforts, one towards the far post and one from close range, but fired wide on both occasions. And in the second-half, Garnacho looked to doubled United's advantage, when he broke away from the Charlton defence, but an incredible save from Ashley Maynard-Brewer denied his effort from curling into the far corner.
BOOST FROM THE BENCH
After a bright start of the game, Dalot was forced to make way half an hour into the tie with a knock, allowing fellow right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka to come on in his stead. Wan-Bissaka performed incredibly well from the bench and even set up Anthony Elanga to score, but the goal was ruled offside. Ten Hag would end up bringing on the trio of Rashford, Casemiro and Christian Eriksen just before the hour mark to add experience to his side and comfortably see out the tie. And in the last seven minutes, Eriksen fired a low driven shot towards goal which was saved by Maynard-Brewer. But ultimately, it would the inform Rashford who bagged two goals in the last 10 minutes to put the game to bed at 3-0.
LICHA AS SHARP AS EVER
In his first start since to restart, Martinez looked like he was back to his best. The World Cup winner started at the back alongside Harry Maguire in the heart of the United defence, and managed to help keep Charlton out of the game. He took a blow to the face midway through the second half, resulting in a cut on his right cheek. But that did not stop the Argentinian, who managed to made critical tackle after critical tackle. Welcome back Licha.
ASSIST FOR PELLISTRI ON DEBUT
Another debut came in the 84th minute, and from the moment Facundo Pellistri touched down on the Old Trafford hallowed turf, magic was made. The 21-year-old winger signed for the Reds in 2020 and has had to wait two-and-a-half years to make his Reds debut, but he made it a memorable one. His first attack of the game showed his pace and technical ability to find Scott McTominay in the penalty area. Following this, United’s no.28 made the run towards the box and spotted the run of Rashford. He cleverly sneaked the ball past the Charlton defence to allow Rashford to bag his first of the game. If this is what the Uruguayan can do with just a 10-minute cameo, United fans will be looking forward to seeing more of Pellistri in the future.
RASHFORD ON FIRE
He just cannot stop scoring! Rashford’s presence up front was missed in the first part of this tie, but when he came on with half an hour to go, you could feel the goals were coming. And, in the final five minutes, Marcus put the game to bed. The first coming from Pellistri’s pass, controlling it with this right foot and finishing the chance around Maynard-Brewer to double the advantage. And the second goal came from a perfectly weighted pass from Casemiro, showcasing the Brazilian's incredible passing ability, Rashford took one touch and just like the first, United’s no.10 calmly slotted the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 3-0. The sky is the limit right now for Marcus Rashford, bringing his tally to 15 this season in all competitions and seven goals in his last six matches.