Last season’s EFL Cup Final saw Manchester United overcome Newcastle United 2-0 in the finale and bag the team’s first silverware since their UEFA Europa League victory over Ajax back in the 2016/2017 Season. This year’s EFL Cup was officially kickstarted for the defending champions yesterday with fellow English Premier League club Crystal Palace visiting Old Trafford for the third round cup tie, and the Red Devils were able to secure their back-to-back wins in all competitions with a 3-0 win over Palace, after losing three straight games in the league as well as the UEFA Champions League.
Sofyan Amrabat Given Full Old Trafford Debut in This EFL Cup Tie
53-year-old Manchester United gaffer Erik ten Hag retained only four members from that starting lineup that saw off Burnley away last weekend in this match; André Onana, Diogo Dalot, Casemiro and 20-year-old Tunisia midfielder Hannibal Mejbri continued to start for the home side, while new summer signing Sofyan Amrabat made his full Old Trafford debut by playing at a stranger role: The left-back. On the other hand, Crystal Palace gave Dean Henderson, a familiar figure at Manchester United, his new club debut in this EFL Cup Third Round fixture.
United’s faithfuls did not have to wait long for their team’s first goal of this EFL Cup game, when a patient buildup that started from the back saw Mason Mount and Alejandro Garnacho connect with each other, before the England midfielder found Facundo Pellistri at the right flank. The winger wasted no time and passed the ball to the charging Dalot, who then crossed it for Garnacho to open his scoring account after six games this season. It is worth mentioning that Palace goalkeeper Henderson was replaced by another former United employee Sam Johnstone two minutes prior to the United no. 17’s goal.
Garnacho’s strike brought the spirits needed for United in this EFL Cup tie and the home side soon found another, this time through Casemiro. The 31-year-old Brazil captain, who has been criticised for his fitness level at the start of the 2023/2024 Season, headed in his fourth goal in 2023/2024 via Mount’s first assist in his United career. The Red Devils’ third came just ten minutes after the restart, with a number of United players connecting with each other to dissect the Palace defence. They capped off the play with Casemiro’s delivery into the box that was met by striker Anthony Martial. The former Golden Boy’s effort ensured a 3-0 victory for Manchester United in this EFL Cup Third Round.
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Amrabat: “I’d Play in Goal for This Team!”
This win for Erik ten Hag’s men is their second in a row in all competitions, and the manager made an interesting option to start Amrabat at left-back. When asked about this decision in the EFL Cup Third Round, ten Hag hailed the Moroccan‘s versatility on the field, saying “Amrabat is a midfielder, but he’s previously played as a full-back a while ago. At Fiorentina, he was really settled, for Morocco, he was the big man at the World Cup. He was one of the best players at the World Cup in the position as a holding midfielder, but he can play there and he’s a warrior, he’ll fight for the badge.”
The 27-year-old Amrabat echoed his manager’s sentiments to start at a not-so-familiar role in his Old Trafford debut in the EFL Cup Third Round. He stated: “I told the manager you play where you need, me even like a goalkeeper, wherever I can help the team. Today it was left-back although I played in midfield too. I’m not at my best [yet], it’s normal I didn’t have a perfect pre-season I had injury I trained so hard for two weeks hard but at the end of the day you need games.”
“Amrabat looked a REAL player…I think he played everywhere but left-back!” 😅
Steve Bruce and Andros Townsend react to Manchester United’s 3-0 win against Crystal Palace 🔴 pic.twitter.com/2w1thHuWXi
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) September 26, 2023
Ten Hag Refused to Talk About Jadon Sancho
The Dutch head coach for Manchester United is certainly happy with Amrabat’s willingness to try to excel at different roles even if the latter’s designated role is a midfielder, but the same cannot be said for ten Hag’s unwanted United player Jadon Sancho, who is currently suspended by the club due to his public feud with his club gaffer.
The 23-year-old, who has not featured for the Red Devils since August, was not included in the squad that faced Crystal Palace in the third round of this season’s EFL Cup, and ten Hag was tight-lipped when questioned about Sancho’s situation. Ten Hag stressed: “It’s in favour of the team. That is what my decision is based on. That is not about me, and to be strict. No. This is in favour of the team. I don’t think about that (Sancho’s tweet) and I don’t talk about that, because I have to win a game. It is all about that. I only focus on the players who are available.”
Click here if you wish to know more about the public feud between Manchester United player Jadon Sancho and manager Erik ten Hag. We have all the details you need about the duo’s standoff.
United to Face Crystal Palace Again This Weekend
Ten Hag’s Manchester United will host last night’s EFL Cup Third Round opponents Crystal Palace once again at Old Trafford for Matchday 7 of the English Premier League this Saturday. Will Sancho finally put down his pride and apologise to his 53-year-old club manager to continue to fight for his time at Manchester United, or are we looking at the end of the England international’s career with the 13-time English Premier League winners? Allow us at OtherLeague.com to bring you the latest updates in this regard and other sports news happening around the world every day!