No gifs, no game rewatches, just unfiltered rapid thoughts after watching Luton Town vs. Manchester United in the Carabao Cup for the first time.
Dean Henderson: 6/10
Didn’t have much to do. Made the big save the one time he was called upon. Kept a clean sheet against Luton Town as a Manchester United goalkeeper should be expected to do. Fire kit too.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 6/10
Brought composure to the back line that was clearly missing on Saturday. Got up and down the pitch well and got much needed competitive minutes.
Eric Bailly: 8/10
Made it through 90 minutes which sadly is a thing that needs to be highlighted from Bailly. Made one of the two saves United made on the day. Really staked his claim to be starting over Victor Lindelöf at Brighton.
Harry Maguire: 6/10
Did his job. Kept the back line organized and was always looking to venture forward to generate something for the attack which was much needed.
Brandon Williams: 6/10
Was always looking to get forward but still was hurt by his right-footedness. Just slows everything down. Had really good awareness and quick feet to win the penalty.
Nemanja Matić: 8/10
Looked to go forward with the ball far more than United’s midfield did on Saturday. Maintained possession and kept things very tidy in midfield. A big reason why United’s back line had an easy night and why Luton didn’t generate many chances.
Once again put in an unfair position. He’s an undersized #6 and plays like one, but next to Matić has to be the #8. Lacks the incisive pass to play that role but defensively was very tidy in midfield. Snuffed out Luton attacks before they started, covered for the full backs and marauding center backs, and also a big reason why Luton never threatened.
Jesse Lingard: 5/10
Had some nice turns and looked to take people on on the dribble but overall didn’t offer much.
Juan Mata: 6/10
The only player in the front looking to make things happen. Got into good positions and generated most of United’s first half shots.
Donny van de Beek: 6/10
Had some bright touches and good movements. Learned the hard way that there’s a big difference between playing with United’s first team vs playing with United’s change team.
Odion Ighalo: 4/10
Playing with a bunch of creative midfielders and no wingers isn’t going to suit his game but he really offered nothing.
Marcus Rashford: N/A
Came on, scored a goal, didn’t do much else.
Bruno Fernandes: N/A
Wasn’t out there for long. Did lead multiple breaks that ended with him picking out the wrong pass each time (can he look to his right?). Probably better off that I’m not giving him a score.
Mason Greenwood: 7/10
Played just as long as the other subs but we’ll give him a score because he had a goal and an assist in 11 minutes.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: 8/10
United fans two weeks ago: “Solskjaer should play only kids in the League Cup.”
United fans after Saturday: “He should play the first XI against Luton. They need match fitness.”
Those were the takes of United fans #online recently. They are two extremes as to how to approach this game and regardless of how Saturday went, the truth was always going to be somewhere in the middle.
Credit to Solskjaer for not overreacting to one loss. It’s a long season and you need to balance out the need for your starters to get match fit with also not having them uselessly play minutes they don’t need to play. The bench players need minutes too — what if a starter gets injured?
The starting XI on Tuesday was exactly as boring and uncreative as any reasonable fan would have expected those players to be, but United were defensively sound and Luton never threatened. Made some late changes to kill off the game, but did a good job balancing putting those players on without having them play more than necessary.
Ed Woodward: 1/10
Taken verbatim from Saturday because nothing has changed.
“Van De Beek was a good signing, so maybe do more good signings.”