Manchester United kickstarted their defence of the Carabao Cup by hosting Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in the third round of the competition.
Fresh off a morale-boosting win against Burnley on Saturday, there was more optimism of success against Palace.
Erik ten Hag made seven changes from the team that started at Turf Moor.
Andre Onana kept his place in goal. Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire and Sofyan Amrabat started in defence.
In the middle of the park, Ten Hag included Casemiro, Hannibal Mejbri and Mason Mount.
Anthony Martial led the line with Alejandro Garnacho and Facundo Pellisti on the wings.
Here are three things we learned from Manchester United’s 3-0 win against Crystal Palace.
Outstanding performance by Amrabat
On his Old Trafford debut, Amrabat was sensational and showed why Ten Hag went out of his way to secure his services from Fiorentina.
During the opening 45 minutes, the Moroccan started in the left-back role. He played well there and ensured Sergio Reguilon was not sorely missed.
More often than not in the first half, Amrabat ventured into midfield and it was this movement in which United were then afforded a spare man in the middle of the park that allowed the team to control proceedings and dominate the game.
His passing was exceptional and assured. He rarely lost the ball or handed it off to a rival player.
Amrabat’s technical ability was on full display as seen in how he found his man with his long ball attempts.
The 27-year-old was strong in his defensive responsibilities and helped relieve some of the burden from Casemiro’s shoulders.
In the second half, Amrabat was equally impressive, this time from a more familiar midfield position alongside Casemiro in the pivot.
It was fitting that when the former Fiorentina man came off at the hour mark for Dan Gore, he was given an ovation by supporters who were present at the game.
There is certainly much to look forward to with respect to Amrabat and how he can contribute to the team this season.
Casemiro slowly returning to his best
Casemiro might have got on the score sheet and registered an assist for Martial’s goal, but what would have certainly left supporters and Ten Hag happier is that he looks to be back to his best.
Last term, the Brazilian was a key factor behind United’s success.
He started slowly during his side’s first fixtures but against Burnley last week and vs. Palace in the Carabao Cup, he seemed like the Casemiro of the 2022/23 campaign.
He bossed the midfield and stamped his authority on the match.
Casemiro was extremely positive and his first instinct was always to go forward and initiate attacks. He seems to be growing fitter and getting up to pace.
It’s a welcome addition that he is contributing with goals and assists.
So far, he is United’s top scorer this season with four goals.
United growing in confidence
If the trip to Burnley was needed to raise the spirits, the Red Devils’ triumph against the Eagles will only serve to improve the confidence and optimism within the ranks.
The performance at Turf Moor was cagey at times, but United were assured and dominant vs. Roy Hodgson’s men.
Ten Hag will be hoping that his players can now kick on and get the season on track.
There are relatively easy games coming up that will help in this regard.
United have home games against Palace again, Galatasaray and Brentford coming up before travelling to Bramall Lane to take on Sheffield United.
After that, there is another clash at Old Trafford once more against Copenhagen in the Champions League before the Manchester derby, also at home.