Manchester United are into the fifth round of the FA Cup after they secured a comfortable 3-1 win over Reading tonight.
Erik Ten Hag’s Red Devils dominated possession right from the off, with Paul Ince’s Reading happy to sit deep and take their chances on the break.
Reading’s well-drilled five-man defence proved to be challenging to break down, with a couple of Bruno Fernandes half-chances the nearest the home side came to opening the deadlock.
On 35 minutes Marcus Rashford thought his back post header had made him the first-ever Man United player to score in ten successive games at Old Trafford, but VAR would disallow the goal for an offside against Wout Weghorst in the build-up.
On the stroke of half-time Reading reminded us that they could pose a threat of their own when Junior Hoillett pounced on some sloppy defending by Tyrell Malacia before forcing David de Gea into a decent stop with a close-range volley.
Ten minutes after the break United would finally break the deadlock and it was a goal made in Brazil. Christian Eriksen’s switch of play found Antony out on the right with the Brazilian attacker slipping a fine through ball into the run of Casemiro who delightfully scooped it over the Reading ‘keeper.
Casemiro has wasted no time in making himself a firm favourite at Old Tafford and the 30-year-old delighted the home crowd a few minutes later when he curled into the bottom corner from 25 yards out.
Casemiro puts Man Utd 1-0 up.
He defends, assists, and scores. He is that guy… 👑🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/T7qS5IIRgz
— UF (@UtdFaithfuls) January 28, 2023
On 65 minutes Reading striker Andy Carroll saw red for two bookable offences and a minute later another Brazilian midfielder, Fred, made it three with a tidy near post backheel from a Fernandes cross.
In the 72nd minute, ten-man Reading got on the scoresheet through Amadou Mbengue, the French centre-back heading home from a Tom Ince corner.
It’s now ten wins on the bounce at Old Trafford for Man United and speaking afterwards their manager Erik Ten Hag was understandably pleased with his sides showing.
“The first 60 minutes was really good,” Ten Hag told ITV Sport. ”We totally dominated. We were composed with good moments.
”In the first half we had some good opportunities. I don’t know why the [Marcus Rashford] goal was disallowed.”
When quizzed about the impact of brace scorer Casemiro the 52-year-old manager was full of praise.
“We know he’s a great player,” the Dutch coach said.
”In Madrid’s midfield with Kroos and Modric it was great. I think he’s capable, you see offensively he enjoys it. What I like is dynamic football with variations, many position switches.”
Casemiro: 2 goals
Antony: 1 assist
Fred: 1 goal, 1 assist
The Brazilian boys brought joga bonito to Old Trafford tonight 🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/8sQzgipIRx
— utdreport (@utdreport) January 28, 2023
£85 million summer signing Antony has come in for some criticism lately, but put in a man-of-the-match performance tonight and Ten Hag insisted the man he brought with him from Ajax is gradually getting better.
“I think he’s growing. We want him to be more dynamic, variable and direct. Today was a lovely pass for the first goal.
“We are happy with his improvement in this moment. There’s big potential in him and he has to develop it every day.
“We are here for trophies but we have a long way to go. We’re building.”