Man Utd defeated Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup and here are the main talking points from the match as Anthony Martial scored again.Anthony Martial did what Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t been doing for Manchester United vs Aston Villa
Van de Beek’s final, final chance
There would have been no complaints had Donny van de Beek dropped out of the side against Aston Villa. Instead, he kept his place in the same attacking midfield role he had occupied for the last two matches.
No matter what the Dutchman was going to do on the night, it wouldn’t really have mattered. He struggled against the same opposition in a more important game five days earlier, and the second-string nature of the fixture was obvious mitigation even if he had shone. It’s just as well then that he didn’t.
Van de Beek looked rusty in possession of the ball and once again failed to impose himself despite playing in the position that Erik ten Hag believes is his best.
It really is hard to make any further argument for him at United, and having failed under three different managers, few would complain if this were to be his last Old Trafford season.
It was nice to finally see Martin Dubravka make his United debut just for an element of change, but it is quite an odd dynamic in that he might never play again for the club.
David de Gea is the first choice for the rest of the campaign, and Dubravka’s only hope of another appearance might depend on a favourable FA Cup draw at the start of next year.
The 33-year-old didn’t get the dream clean sheet to mark the occasion and was largely an accessory to the wider state of the game.
Martial did what Ronaldo hasn’t been doing
It showed just how highly Ten Hag rates Anthony Martial that he actually took him off after an hour on Thursday night. The Frenchman had scored a simple goal to draw his side level, but the priority was keeping him fit for the weekend trip to Fulham.
The brilliance of his goal was in its simplicity. So often this season, United have rued not having a striker in the right place to latch onto loose balls into the box; this was one occasion where they did.
Ten Hag has built his team around having a mobile forward leading the line, and it will be another striker in the shape of Martial that he targets in the transfer windows next year.
United an injury away from disaster
The change in goal meant that Diogo Dalot was the only player to have started every match this season. The issue for United is that he won’t be involved against Fulham this weekend due to his suspension.
Victor Lindelof and Tyrell Malacia both started the match, and they’ll both be in with a chance of starting at Craven Cottage this weekend.
Dalot has started to show signs of fatigue in recent weeks, and one weekend off before the World Cup won’t be enough to prevent the level of burnout that is beginning to take its toll.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka was absent from the matchday squad once again, and there is no way he’ll be involved this weekend. The need for a new right-back option gets more glaring every week. They are one injury away from a real defensive disaster.
Garnacho needs games
If there is one area of the pitch in which United don’t need any more options, it is the left wing. It’s a conundrum, then, that Alejandro Garnacho is doing so well there right now.
The Argentine was introduced just after the hour mark but quickly made up for lost time. Whenever he got the ball, he looked like he was going to make something happen, and so often he did just that.
Garnacho not only has the raw technical ability to make it at the top level, but he plays without fear and clearly relishes the senior spotlight that has been cast over him in recent weeks.