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Staff Takeaways: Manchester United 3-1 Everton

Takeaways from United’s win in the FA Cup on Friday…

Manchester United v Everton: Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Chris: Alejandro Garnacho makes instant impact off the bench

As a massive fan of Marcus Rashford, I’ve been over the moon with his performances and know that he’ll, rightfully so, receive the majority of headlines and praise from this match. Therefore, I think it’s important to highlight the impact of another explosive and exciting winger at Erik ten Hag’s disposal: Alejandro Garnacho.

From the moment the 18-year-old was substituted on for Anthony Martial in the 71st minute, Garnacho brought an instant spark to United’s attack down the lefthand side—despite a few poor touches here and there. His energy and willingness to always get on the ball and take defenders on while in possession, coupled with his pace, unpredictability, and ability to beat defenders one-on-one, is so important to United’s attack when he plays, and it’s no wonder why the manager already trusts the teenager enough to start him in some matches and bring him on as one of the first choices off the bench. His explosiveness on the counter attack and ambition to drive forward into the box drew the penalty that Marcus Rashford went on to score.

Garnacho has been electric in attack for most of his performances this season, and he’ll only continue to improve and cement himself as a stalwart player in this United side. With players like Rashford, Garnacho, and Antony at ten Hag’s disposal right now, United look certain to continue creating chances and scoring goals in attack each game, especially if they manage to bring in another striker this transfer window.

Suwaid Fazal: Go on the outside

It’s really that simple sometimes, isn’t it? This could apply to a bunch of players in the United side. Antony likes to cut inside; Marcus Rashford does, too. Alejandro Garnacho can score with his weaker foot, but he prefers cutting inside and taking a shot.

As long as Erik ten Hag is the manager, the wingers will be expected to stay high and wide. They can cut inside once the play gets going, but they’ll need to mix it up. We saw Marcus Rashford mixing it up yesterday, and he got his just rewards.

Marcus Rashford scored headers prior to this season. He’d also scored from brilliant solo efforts. He has scored tap-ins before. He’s always been a threat on the counter-attack. He’s starting to protect the ball when he receives it on his right foot from a deeper area. He’s now going on the outside.

He could do all of these things before Erik ten Hag came through the door, but I’m now going into most games thinking that he can do this on a regular basis. A player who can pull off all the things I’ve just mentioned would get into most teams in the world. Long may it continue.

Colin Damms: United show why they try to play around De Gea

This kind of David De Gea performance is why United have made no concessions in contract negotiations. The Spaniard has been a servant of the club for just over a decade now, and has been vital at times, but Friday was another showcase of his weaknesses.

Everton only had one goal on the board at full time, but they put the ball in the net twice. A marginal offside call against Demarai Gray ruled out a Dominic Calvert-Lewin goal in the 74th minute, a goal that would have brought them level once again with 15 minutes to play. De Gea, as he was on the first goal, was glued to his goal line at the near post, and showed no authority in protecting his goal as Calvert-Lewin chested the ball in from just a couple yards out.

The first goal was the real howler, with the ball going between De Gea’s legs, but with negotiations ongoing it seems less and less likely that De Gea can evolve. Erik ten Hag has had to accommodate for his glaring weaknesses defensively, and that’s not the sort of player you keep as the highest paid on the team.