Erik ten Hag’s team has achieved consecutive victories, marking a turnaround from their disappointing season start. Seven months after securing the championship, Manchester United commenced their defense of the English League Cup with a convincing 3-0 victory against Crystal Palace.
Manchester United’s strong performance sparks hope amidst early-season struggle.
Alejandro Garnacho and Casemiro scored in the first half to give the defending champions a 2-0 lead at Old Trafford, with Anthony Martial adding another goal in the second half during Tuesday’s third-round match. This marks two consecutive wins for Erik ten Hag’s team, which had a disappointing start to the season. This commanding display against a weakened Palace side comes on the heels of Saturday’s close win against Burnley. It offers United fans optimism that the team has reversed its early-season struggles.
Last season’s achievement and current season’s struggles
While the League Cup is considered the fourth most prestigious trophy in English soccer, Ten Hag still cherished the success of the previous season. The triumph against Newcastle in the final at Wembley Stadium in February put an end to the club’s six-year trophy drought and showcased Ten Hag’s ability to secure silverware in his debut season with the club. He also steered the team to the FA Cup final, albeit with a loss to Manchester City, and successfully guided United back into the Champions League, making it an impressive campaign. However, the current season has presented challenges, with his team suffering four defeats in five games before finally securing a 1-0 victory over Burnley.
Squad changes and Garnocho’s early strike propel Manchester United
Ten Hag implemented changes for the match, with Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, and Rasmus Hojlund taking a spot on the bench, while Christian Eriksen was unavailable. On a positive note, Mason Mount returned from an injury, making his first appearance since August 19. In the 21st minute, Garnacho provided Manchester United with the lead by successfully converting Diogo Dalot’s cutback inside the box. His low shot carried too much force for Palace’s goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who had just entered the game as a substitute due to Dean Henderson’s injury.
Johnstone’s heroics and United’s scoring prowess shine in the match.
Johnstone faced another test moments later when Dalot unleashed a shot from an acute angle, but the goalkeeper managed to make the save. However, he couldn’t prevent another goal in the 27th minute, as Casemiro headed in a corner delivered by Mason Mount, extending United’s lead. Ten minutes into the second half, Martial scored United’s third goal by firing a shot across the goal after connecting with a lofted pass from Casemiro to the far post.
Palace’s upcoming rematch against Man Utd and manager Hodgson’s concerns
United will face Palace once more in the upcoming Premier League fixture this Saturday, and the London side demonstrated their attacking capabilities by testing goalkeeper Andre Onana with two shots later in the match. However, manager Roy Hodgson did not express optimism about achieving a different result when the two teams square off again. “We need to undergo a substantial transformation in our approach and style of play for the next game,” he remarked.