Manchester United’s Brazilian boys dazzled to send the club through to the FA Cup Fifth Round after a 3-1 victory over 10-man Reading at Old Trafford on Saturday.
United’s goals came from Casemiro, who scored a stunning brace, and Fred, who displayed some Brazilian flair with a back heel finish. They were not the only United stars from the South American nation to excel in this fixture as winger Antony, who has received a lot of criticism in recent weeks, played a key role in the victory.
Casemiro and Antony both moved to Old Trafford in the summer and both have quickly developed into key players for the Red Devils as the club appear to be repairing their reputation a lot quicker than many were expecting. Casemiro has added some much-needed security in the midfield to offer support to the back line but he also offers technical support to help his side up the pitch. Antony is a player who Erik ten Hag knew well having worked with him at Ajax. He was brought in for his skill on the ball and ability to run at defenders, something he did really well against the Royals.
Son sparkles as Spurs cruise past Preston into the FA Cup Fifth Round
Iheanacho comes to Leicester’s rescue: Why he deserves more game time
Too tinpot for TV: Why are bosses wasting yet another slot on Man United v Reading?
The wide man has still got a lot to learn but who better to keep developing under than the Dutch coach who keeps raising his profile for the work he has overseen at Old Trafford this season. Antony’s assist for United’s first goal was intelligent and he is certainly a player who is only going to get better with more matches. His biggest drawback is his reliance on his left foot, but if he can improve his capabilities on his weaker right, he could become one of the best wingers in the world - and you can bet Ten Hag wants to work on this with him.
📹 @itvfootball | #MUNREA
United’s talisman Marcus Rashford thought that he had made Manchester United history when he saw a headed effort creep over the line after poor positioning from goalkeeper Joe Lumley in the first half. The attacker thought he had scored for the 10th consecutive match at Old Trafford in a row, a feat never accomplished by a United player. However, after a VAR check the goal was chalked off after Wout Weghorst strayed offside in the build-up.
United were dominant throughout and they were playing some excellent stuff at times which further highlights the wonders Ten Hag has worked since joining the club in the summer. Not only are United becoming a more enjoyable team to watch with their style of play, there is a confidence shown by the players who were fearful of getting the ball a year ago.
In the first half they weren’t ruthless enough. They didn’t capitalise on Reading sitting back and they would’ve headed into the half-time break frustrated. They certainly came out firing after the restart, however.
They continued to knock the ball around nicely but adding pace as well as precision - and they soon found their way through. Antony did brilliantly to trick the visitors as he slipped a ball through to compatriot Casemiro who put the Red Devils in front with a delightful chip over Lumley.
The midfielder, who has helped rejuvenate United in the middle of the park since his summer introduction, has shown he has a lot more to offer the side than just defensive security. The first goal was brilliant but his second was just as good, albeit taking a deflection. Having the ball rolled into him by substitute Fred, Casemiro let rip and his deflected effort found the bottom-right corner as United took the tie away from Reading.
Things got worse for the Royals when striker Andy Carroll was sent off after picking up a second yellow card for a late challenge on Casemiro. Seconds later, Fred wrapped up the tie with a slick back heel finish from a cross to make it 3-0 to the hosts. From a rare corner, Reading managed to pull one goal back when substitute Amadou Mbengue was left unmarked to thump his header past David de Gea, much to the Spaniard’s disappointment.
The victory over the Royals marked 11 home wins on the bounce for United which just further reflects the strides they are making under their extremely talented coach and the players he has improved and given new life to.