Northampton 1-3 Manchester United: Four Things We Learned

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Britain Football Soccer – Northampton Town v Manchester United – EFL Cup Third Round – Sixfields Stadium – 21/9/16 Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney is fouled by Northampton Town’s Alfie Potter
Action Images via Reuters / John Sibley

Manchester United ended their three-match losing streak this evening as they fired three past Northampton to book their spot in the fourth round of the EFL Cup.

Jose Mourinho’s side were victorious this evening, as the Red Devils came to the match keen to end their losing streak.

Manchester United’s Michael Carrick opened the scoring in the 17th minute after Rooney’s indirect free-kick was deflected. Carrick managed to catch the rebound and netted the ball from outside the box.

However, the Red Devils looked to be in trouble towards the end of the first half, as Northampton upped the pressure by pushing up the pitch.

Northampton’s increasing pressure led to a penalty, as Daley Blind brought down Hoskins inside the box. The League One side managed to equalize after Revell sent Romero the wrong way and converted the penalty.

During the start of the second half, Northampton looked dangerous and got the United fans worried.

With the scores still tied during the 55th minute, Jose Mourinho subbed in Zlatan Ibrahimović and Marcus Rashford.

The substitution looked to be critical, as Marcus Rashford provided an assist for Ander Herrera, who slotted the ball in during the 68th minute.

Seven minutes later, Marcus Rashford capitalized on a mistake from Northampton’s keeper to make it 3-1 and seal the win for Manchester United.

Jose Mourinho will now be looking forward to Manchester United’s fixture against Leicester City this Saturday, as he is spared from the critics tonight.

Here are four things we learned from United’s win over Northampton:

  1. Wayne Rooney needs to make a better case for himself

The Manchester United and England skipper has been constantly under fire from the fans and the media after performing below-par for the majority of this season.

Wayne Rooney’s performance dip stretches way into the 2013-14 season, after the England International was faced with a number of injuries.

Many fans have been calling for Jose Mourinho to drop Wayne Rooney, and yet the Special One put Rooney in the striker’s role tonight – a role which he hasn’t played in for the length of this season.

The skipper didn’t perform too badly, and was seen chasing the ball and trying to find the crucial tap-in. However, it didn’t seem to be his night.

Rooney missed an outright chance from inside the box, and later, his indirect free-kick was deflected off the Northampton defenders, luckily falling into the path of Michael Carrick, who netted the ball with a stunning shot from outside the box.

Jose Mourinho will have to seriously reconsider Wayne Rooney’s role in the Manchester United squad if he is to see some serious results this season.

It is safe to say the Wayne Rooney will most probably not play in the striking role during Manchester United’s Premier League fixture against Leicester this weekend, and he could be dropped to his usual attacking midfield role.

  1. Michael Carrick makes his presence well-known to Mourinho

Michael Carrick started his first match of the season under the new Jose Mourinho era, and the veteran midfielder certainly caused Jose Mourinho a whole deal of midfield selection problems.

Up till tonight, Jose Mourinho has been opting for a partnership of Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini in front of the defensive back four.

However, as Manchester United’s former midfielder Paul Scholes pointed out earlier this month, Jose Mourinho should seriously consider Michael Carrick in the midfield role.

Even though Carrick is 35 years old, it is clear that the old dog is still reliable and gets the job done.

Michael Carrick was also awarded the man-of-the-match award due to his impressive midfield display. The Englishman brings a certain level of calmness to the pitch. His composure on the ball also allows the Manchester United players to get into their respective attacking positions before Carrick sprays the ball up-field.

Scholes spoke about Carrick’s ‘controlling’ nature and stated that he would partner excellently with United’s record signing Paul Pogba.

One thing is for sure, Michael Carrick definitely gave Jose Mourinho a whole lot to think about before he picks the final eleven to face Leicester this Saturday.

VIDEO: Carrick Finishes In Style From Outside The Box

  1. Marcus Rashford… again!

Needless to say, the 18-year-old has been in sublime form for Manchester United – scoring once again and giving an assist to his team-mate Ander Herrera.

Marcus Rashford scored Manchester United’s third and final goal of the match after Northampton’s keeper made a grave mistake in attempting to clear the ball. However, if Rashford wasn’t persistent, he would never have gotten the chance to score.

The kid has the mind of a pro, all he needs now is time to showcase his consistency. Rashford’s pace, his power, and his passion for the game looks enough to nail him a spot in the starting eleven.

Rashford could possibly take over Wayne Rooney’s No. 10 role, as the teenager insisted that he would be able to play almost any attacking position, be it the wings, as a striker, or as a No.10.

Maybe it’s time Wayne Rooney finally throws in the towel and allows Marcus Rashford to take over?

  1. Memphis Depay could be on his way out

Memphis Depay made his second Manchester United start of the season tonight, but the Dutch winger looked to be seriously out of form, and could see himself sold during the winter transfer window.

Depay made a few good runs, but his performance wasn’t convincing enough to justify him a spot in the starting eleven.

Anthony Martial is usually the man who Mourinho deploys in the left wing, but the Frenchman was left behind in Manchester to recover from a knock he suffered during Manchester United’s 3-1 loss to Watford.

Marcus Rashford is also able to command that left-wing, something we might see this weekend, as it is unlikely that Jose Mourinho will give Depay another chance.

On the other wing, Ashley Young did a decent job in attack, but didn’t give a starting spot convincing performance.

Jose Mourinho could opt for either Marcus Rashford or Henrikh Mkhitaryan as a right-winger during Manchester United’s home match against Leicester this Saturday.


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