Manchester United sailed into the fifth round of the FA Cup with a comfortable 3-1 victory over 10-men Reading at Old Trafford on Saturday.
It was the Brazilian show at The Theatre of Dreams with Antony assisting Casemiro for the team’s opener while Fred assisted the former Real Madrid man for his second before scoring the third himself with a cheeky back-heel.
United dominated proceedings from the word go but the opposition made it as difficult for the Red Devils as possible with no clear-cut chances arriving the home side’s way.
Misifiring Antony helped by Casemiro
Marcus Rashford did end up breaking the deadlock with a smart header but Wout Weghorst was adjudged to be off-side in the build-up.
United went into the break level and Erik ten Hag must have had some words to say because they came out of the traps much quicker in the second period and ultimately made their dominance count.
What was great to see was how the entire team and the manager tried to help Antony sort out his confidence issues on the pitch.
Casemiro: 2 goals
Antony: 1 assist
Fred: 1 goal, 1 assist
The Brazilian boys brought joga bonito to Old Trafford tonight 🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/8sQzgipIRx
— utdreport (@utdreport) January 28, 2023
The Brazil winger has had a mixed campaign so far with many supporters and pundits questioning whether he has lived up to his huge price tag.
His tendency to cut in and shoot as exasperated many and he carried on in the same vein in the first half. But there were no complaints from his fellow teammates
But in the second-half, his exquisite through ball was what helped Casemiro score and he even pointed at his compatriot while asking the Old Trafford faithful to clap his contribution.
It was Antony’s first assist of the season and hopefully, he can get rid of his selfish tendency to shoot on sight all the time and try and cross or maybe use his right foot on occasions.
ETH kept Antony on
Despite getting chances to score, Antony failed to find the back of the net and was generally wasteful throughout with his set-piece delivery also below-par.
But the manager did not sub him off and kept him on in a bid to try and get him to score and hopefully, help with his confidence. He did not score but surprisingly was named as the Man of The Match.
Ten Hag will be pleased with the victory and that quite a few players like Casemiro, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford got some much needed rest as they were subbed off after Fred’s goal.
The Carabao Cup second-leg contest against Nottingham Forest should see a few key personnel rested considering the advantage United hold and the brutal fixture schedule coming up.
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