Manchester United, the most successful team in the English top-flight football and the second best club in the history of the FA Cup, are through to the FA Cup Fourth Round in this year’s competition following their victory over Wigan Athletic. Wigan, the team from the third level of the English football league system League One, hosted 13-time English Premier League winners United at home, but they could not prevent last year’s runners-up from coming up with a 2-0 away win and progressing to the FA Cup Fourth Round at their home ground. Let us dive into the details of the game right away!
Dalot and Bruno Sent United to the FA Cup Fourth Round
Coming into this game that will decide which team will enter the FA Cup Fourth Round, Manchester United had only won three of their previous ten games in the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League. Manager Erik ten Hag opted for minimum changes from the starting 11 that played in the 2-1 loss to Nottingham Forest last time around in this game, with Danish duo Christian Eriksen and Rasmus Højlund returning to the first 11 for the Red Devils in this match. Wigan, on the other hand, have won 40% of their last ten games.
Ten Hag’s men enjoyed superior advantage in terms of the numbers of shots and possession, and one of their 33 attempts managed to draw first blood in the opening 22 minutes. Marcus Rashford, United’s top scorer in 2022/2023, fired a shot at the Wigan’s goal, but his effort was blocked by the defence. The deflected ball went back to the England international directly, who then teed up Diogo Dalot for a long-ranged effort just outside the penalty box. The 24-year-old Portuguese defender would make no mistake by curling the ball into the bottom right corner for the opener of this FA Cup fixture.
The Red Devils continued to knock Wigan’s door for more. Bruno Fernandes, the older compatriot of the first goal scorer Dalot, was fouled by Wigan midfielder Liam Shaw on a rather soft challenge inside the penalty box, prompting referee Anthony Taylor to award a spot kick to Manchester United. The captain of the 20-time English champions sent the goalkeeper Sam Lloyd Tickle to the wrong way and fired in United’s second goal of the evening to the bottom left corner. The goal marks Bruno’s 70th tally in 212 appearances in all competitions in a United jersey, allowing the visitors to reach the FA Cup Fourth Cup on a 2-0 score line over Wigan.
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Newport County or Eastleigh Await for Manchester United in the FA Cup Fourth Round
Ten Hag was certainly satisfied with United’s performance yesterday, as justified by his comments during the post-match conference. “It’s all about the win but first half, the way we played, the performance, how we worked the ball, how we made our runs, the investment in the final third, we created a lot of chances and that was pleasing to see. I think we should have scored more but the good thing is we created the chances. You never underestimate any opponent, definitely not this side, you know they will fight for their life because it’s the game of their life, we took the game very good.”
After entering the FA Cup Fourth Round, ten Hag’s United will be facing winners between EFL League Two’s Newport County or National League’s Eastleigh; Despite an early red card to defender George James Barbosa Langston, both teams played out a 1-1 draw at Rodney Parade a few days earlier, and the replay will be held at Silverlake Stadium next week.
Also through to the FA Cup Fourth Round are Liverpool. The current leaders of the English Premier League table defeated Arsenal 2-0 at Emirates to reach the FA Cup Fourth Round a day prior to United’s game against Wigan. You may click onto this link for a further read on the full match details: https://www.otherleague.com/soccer/liv-2-0-ars-in-the-fa-cup-third-round/