Manchester United put in a dominant display against a substandard Crystal Palace in their League Cup third round clash, defeating them 3-0 to secure their second straight win and continue their recovery following their poor start to the season.
After the visitors controlled the ball for an extended period during the opening minutes, Man United swiftly regained control, opening the passing lanes in a period of possession dominance.
While United remained frustrated by some tight man marking, it appeared as if the game was about to open up when Diogo Dalot passed the ball in Sofyan Amrabat’s direction.
Unfortunately, Amrabat ballooned his shot over the top, wasting a prime scoring opportunity.
Palace came close to scoring moments later, with Harry Maguire making a last-ditch clearance to save United from conceding early.
Despite playing a limited role in the match, Palace goalkeeper Dean Henderson was replaced by Sam Johnstone after suffering an injury.
Barely a minute later, United opened the scoring with their first clear chance of the game.
Alejandro Garnacho got on the end of a blistering counter-attack, slotting the ball into the bottom right corner to hand United the lead.
Soon after, Dalot almost doubled the home side’s lead when his thunderous shot from the right forced a diving save from Johnstone.
On the 25-minute mark, United truly roared to life, with Mason Mount threading the ball to Facundo Pellistri, who narrowly missed out on scoring after being tackled by Chris Richards.
While it appeared as if Pellistri’s legs had been taken out rather than the ball, this made little difference, as Mount’s corner found the head of Casemiro, who scored United’s second goal of the night.
Although the match became fairly subdued in the minutes that followed, United continued to remain confident on the ball, exhibiting a strong passing game and maintaining 67% possession during the opening 45 minutes.
On the stroke of half time, United ramped up their efforts to find a third, with Mount’s dangerous cross being tipped away for a corner.
While no further goals were scored before the half-time whistle, Erik ten Hag had plenty to be chuffed about following what was arguably United’s strongest 45 minutes on the pitch since the start of the new season.
As the second half got underway, Victor Lindelof came on for Mount, with the Swedish substitute taking up the left-back position while Amrabat shifted into Mount’s vacant position in the midfield.
Following a lengthy build-up play by the home side, Casemiro swung a cross in deep to Anthony Martial, who struck a superb volley to extend United’s lead to three goals after 56 minutes of play.
On the 60-minute mark, Jonny Evans came on for Raphael Varane, while Amrabat came off for 18 year old Dan Gore, who was making his competitive United debut.
Seven minutes later, Palace got their first shot on target of the night, with Onana’s left-footed save separating the visitors from a quickfire consolation goal.
With 20 minutes of normal time to go, Hannibal was taken off for Donny van de Beek, who made his first competitive United appearance since January this year.
Moments later, Jonny Evans came within inches of scoring and repeating his heroics against Burnley when the Palace keeper saved his header.
With 15 minutes to go, goalscorer Martial was substituted for Rasmus Hojlund, who was eager to grab some goals of his own after scoring against Bayern Munich in the Champions League last week.
Six minutes from time, Palace striker Jean-Philippe Mateta beat the offside trap, going one-on-one with Onana who produced a brilliant save to safeguard United’s clean sheet.
In the 88th minute, United unleashed a barrage of long-range shots, first from Lindelof and then from Garnacho, which forced Johnstone to make some challenging saves in order to prevent his side from suffering further humiliation.
There was plenty for Erik ten Hag to smile about at the full-time whistle, with United easily brushing aside a subdued Palace team to advance to the fourth round of the League Cup and continue their season rebuild.
United fans will hope for a similar performance as the Red Devils play Palace yet again in the Premier League on Saturday.
Starting XI: Onana, Amrabat, Maguire, Mount, Martial, Garnacho, Casemiro, Varane, Dalot, Pellistri, Hannibal
Subs: Lindelof, Evans, Gore, Van de Beek