Yeovil Town were no match for a rampant Manchester United team, who put four past them to comfortably advance to the fifth round of the FA Cup. Alexis Sanchez made his debut for United, and it was a sparkling performance, as he set up the first two goals, scored by Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera, with substitutes Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku wrapping up the win.
Here are some of the major talking points from the game:
Sanchez shows his value immediately
Alexis Sanchez had managed only a couple of training sessions with his new team before this game, yet was put straight into the starting lineup. The Chilean vindicated this with an effervescent display, providing the assists for the first two United goals, and generally being a nuisance during his time on the pitch. Yes, there were signs of rustiness, but that can be attributed to the fact that Sanchez had not trained the previous week as his move to Manchester was being finalised. United’s new #7 started on the left, but continually drifted inside to combine with Rashford and the midfielders, often ending up in the right-hand channel. Even a crude challenge from behind in the 29th minute did nothing to dampen his performance, and the United faithful would be looking forward to what he can bring to the side once fully assimilated, starting with the game at Spurs on Wednesday night.
Carrick slots in seamlessly
It was a superlative performance from Michael Carrick, who showed many of the qualities that have been missing from United’s midfield this season, even with Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic playing. It did not seem as if this was only his second appearance this season, as he was his usual calming presence in the middle of the park. Carrick set up attacks whenever possible; one glorious 50-yard pass to Sanchez in the first half being the highlight, while also screening his defence competently. Yeovil, for all there endeavour, were rarely able to attack United through the centre, which owed a lot to Carrick’s clever positioning and interceptions. While Jose Mourinho has announced that this could be his final year as a player, United will need all his experience and quality for the remainder of this season if they are to taste success domestically or in Europe.
Reserve defenders look shaky
Three of United’s reserve defenders, Matteo Darmian, Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelof started at the back, along with Luke Shaw, who has arguably done enough over the past six weeks to be United’s first-choice left-back. The trio mentioned previously all looked tentative and shaky at the back, when the opportunity was there for them to stake a claim for a first-team spot. Darmian was continually exposed by the Yeovil left winger Jordan Green, being beaten for pace on more than one occasion, while he has long foregone any attacking ambition. Lindelof was extremely tentative, and given a tough time by Francois Zoko, who isolated him for one-on-one duels, which he inevitably one. Yeovil’s best opportunities came down United’s right, as both Darmian and Lindelof struggled. Rojo fared better; he did set up Lukaku’s goal when he ventured forward late in the game, but was also culpable for the lack of organization that led to Omar Sowunmi’s headed chance; one that would have been buried at Premier League level. United came through comfortably eventually; however, on this evidence, none of these players deserve a starting spot against tougher opposition anytime soon.