Juan Mata rolled back the years as Manchester United sealed a comprehensive 3-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

Manchester United booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup with a convincing 3-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday. Following a narrow win on the weekend, in the Premier League, the Red Devils looked much better despite fielding a fully rotated squad as the Seagulls failed to cope with their attacking and creative presence.

Manchester United initially took the lead, just before half-time with the unmarked Scott McTominay scoring from a header. It gave the visitors the confidence they needed to dominate the second half as well, though it wasn’t until the 73rd minute when they found the second goal, which was scored by Juan Mata.

Paul Pogba then, in the 80th minute, provided one final gloss to the scoreline by scoring from an exquisite free-kick, effectively sealing the victory for his team. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Manchester United players following their comprehensive win over Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday night.

Dean Henderson: 7.5/10

Dean Henderson made an extraordinary save to deny Leandro Trossard in the second half. It was a vital save that prevented Brighton & Hove Albion from getting back into the game. The goalkeeper did not have too many problems otherwise as the Seagulls could only muster two shots on target throughout the evening.

Diogo Dalot: 6.5/10

Diogo Dalot was mostly solid on the right flank against Brighton. The young Portuguese right-back offered balance, especially during the defensive phases although one would expect more offensive output from the player.

Eric Bailly: 7.5/10

Eric Bailly was arguably Manchester United’s defender of the night. The Ivorian was a rock at the back for the Red Devils, with his physical and aerial prowess making it difficult for the likes of Neal Maupay and Viktor Gyokeres from making any impact on the proceedings.

Bailly’s superb run of form in the Carabao Cup should give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer something to think about.

Victor Lindelof: 7/10

Victor Lindelof performed well, although he was under no real pressure throughout the game. The Swede offered good defensive support to Bailly, helping Manchester United preserve their clean sheet.

Brandon Williams: 7/10

Brandon Williams once again impressed the onlookers with his smart passing, notably opening up play to find Juan Mata with a delightful ball as the move eventually led to an excellent chance for Odion Ighalo.

However, the left-back still needs to work on his all-round game, especially when it comes to providing more dangerous crosses from the byline that could have provided more trouble for the Brighton backline.

Scott McTominay: 7/10

Replacing Nemanja Matic in the number six role was Scott McTominay, who showcased his ability to read the game with some good interceptions. However, it was his clinical header right before half-time that allowed the Red Devils to dominate the rest of the game.

Fred: 6.5/10

Fred had a decent game in central midfield. He certainly wasn’t United’s best performer but the Brazilian played a key role in the club’s second line of press.

Juan Mata: 8.5/10

Juan Mata rolled back the years with yet another delightful performance in the Carabao Cup. He was a live wire throughout the evening, picking the ball up, running across half-spaces, linking up with teammates and creating chances.

The Spaniard was, in fact, the main source of creativity of the Red Devils and produced a calm finish to score the second goal of the night. A genuine playmaker.

Donny van de Beek: 7/10

Donny van de Beek raised a lot of eyebrows with his smart pass that led to the Juan Mata goal. That was pretty much the highlight of the Dutchman’s performance as the midfielder starts to gel alongside his new teammate. Some more game-time in the coming weeks would do him a world of good.

Daniel James: 5/10

In what was a marvellous attacking performance from Manchester United, Daniel James was slightly underwhelming as he failed to make any real impact with his pace and trickery. The Welshman was lacking ideas and failed to provide the end product.

Odion Ighalo: 6/10

Odion Ighalo should have at least scored one goal against Brighton, but the striker was otherwise decent. He provided a much-needed physical presence inside the box, keeping the defenders occupied with his movements.


Marcus Rashford: 6/10

Rashford came on for Ighalo in the 69th minute, getting some much-needed action before Sunday’s much-awaited encounter against Tottenham.

Paul Pogba: 8/10

Showed exactly what he is capable of after scoring a delightful goal from a free-kick during the final phase of the game. The Frenchman will, no doubt, play a key role in the upcoming match against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Jesse Lingard: N/A

A late replacement for Fred. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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