Manchester United's three best players vs Derby County
United faced Derby County tonight in the FA Cup fifth round, with a tie against Norwich City the reward for the winners.
A scrappy game of sorts, United got a hold of the game after about ten minutes and were never really troubled by the Championship side. A solid 3-0 win for the club.
Here are the players that stood out for United and guided the team to the sixth round.
A vast improvement in his form of late and it continued here. A silly yellow card early on could have marred his performance – but he didn’t let it phase him. Shaw was keen to get forward and support the front men all game and was rewarded with a goal and an assist.
He could have scored earlier than he did after a cleverly worked corner, but he miscued his shot. His goal did come however in the 33rd minute, with a volleyed finish into the ground, that found its way over the keeper.
He played a big part in the second goal, as his pass found Odion Ighalo in the centre of the box, who forced home his first goal of the night.
He was substituted ten minutes from the end for a deserved rest.
It’s been a good upturn of fortunes for Shaw recently. The emergence of Williams had threatened his position. But he has answered those critics and has remained first choice left back.
A solid performance from the Ivorian at the back, as United kept a clean sheet.
In the games he has played since his return from a long layoff, he’s impressed. He never seemed panicked and was confident on the ball. In tandem with Lindelof, he kept Rooney and co at bay and helped United keep another clean sheet.
He’s proving to be a good alternative to Maguire and Lindelof in the cup games. With United still fighting on three fronts, he’ll surely play an important role in the last few months of the season.
His return couldn’t have come at a better time.
You can’t ignore the two goal man. Kept busy up front, chased down every loose ball and was a thorn in the Derby defence.
He struggled to get involved at first but grew into the game and was rewarded with two goals. Deservedly praised by Rio Ferdinand following the game, he played to his strengths and was rarely bullied off the ball. His size is clearly a concern for defenders.
Ighalo is still working hard to get back to full fitness and is starting to look sharper. It gives Solskjaer a reliable back up plan if Martial is injured. Something the club have lacked at times this season.
He blazed over towards the end when chasing a hat trick, but that shouldn’t take away from his performance.
Special mentions goes to Sergio Romero and Jesse Lingard. Romero made an important save from Rooney early on and then again in the dying minutes as he kept, yet another, clean sheet. Lingard looked sharp and energetic throughout the game. Let’s hope this is the start of a run of form for him.
Next up in the FA Cup is a trip to Carrow Road in the sixth round to face a Norwich side that knocked Tottenham out on penalties.
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