Northampton Town v Manchester United: EFL Cup – as it happened

21 September 2016 08:42
Carrick impresses on first competitive start of season 9.42pm BST A message from Michael Carrick, speaking to SkySports, with regard to the United crisis talk and the clamour for his inclusion: “The manager knows what I can do just like he knows what every player can do, I’m not going to change the way I play now. You play some games, you don’t play some games, that’s how it goes . I think everyone needs to calm down a bit.” 9.38pm BST United end their three-match losing streak and gain some respite before Saturday’s clash with the Premier League champions. Mourinho might also have gained some clues about his lineup for that match, most obviously thanks to Michael Carrick, who ran midfield here with trademark zip, precision and intelligence. Herrera put forward a fair case for inclusion, too, as United’s had a better balance going forward. They still looked a little ropey at the back, however, and it’s unlikely that Blind will be put back into the startling lineup against the speedsters of Leicester. Rooney, since you ask, worked hard without looking sharp. 9.33pm BST 90 min: United take the freekick shot and begin running down the clock. 9.32pm BST 89 min: United bungle the freekick but get another one as Potter takes down Rooney. 9.32pm BST 88 min: O’Toole penalised for pushing over Herrera. Freekick to United just to the right of the Northampton box. Rooney and Young loom. 9.30pm BST 85 min: Taylor nicks the ball off a prancing Ibrahimovic. United have gone in front since the Swede’s introduction but that’s been a mere coincidence. 9.28pm BST 83 min: Northampton are at least trying to finish on the front foot. Hoskins has a pop fro the edge of the area. But he was off balance and the sends the ball towards the folks on the hill. 9.26pm BST 81 min: Hoskins slips the ball wide to Moloney. The fullback crosses. Carrick heads it away. 9.25pm BST 79 min: That’s more encouraging for Northampton. Taylor swings in a dangerous delivery from the right and Smalling is forced to head it behind for a corner. But the corner is dealt with easily. 9.23pm BST 78 min: Smalling wins another header, repelling another aerial attack by Northampton. There doesn’t appear to be any way back into this game for the home side. 9.20pm BST How about this for evidence that United’s luck is turning!? Rashford chases a long hoof into Northampton territory. Smith, the goalkeeper, came to the edge of his box to whack clear but apparently became unnerved by the sight of Rashford charging towards him . and kicked fresh air before falling over! Rashford resisted any temptation to make a smart comment before walking the ball into the net. Game over, full-blown United crisis averted. 9.17pm BST 74 min: Hoskins scurries down the right before being shunted off the ball by Blind, who cops a booking. Northampton have a freekick in a dangerous crossing position. 9.16pm BST United substitution: Fellaini on, Schneiderlin off.Northampton substitution: Richards on, McCourt off. 9.15pm BST 71 min: Northampton began mounting a comeback as soon as they fell behind in the first half, but United seem intent on quashing any such notions this time. The hosts can’t get a look in. 9.12pm BST That’s how to banish anxiety! Schneiderlin wins the ball strongly in midfield and strides forward before passing to Rashford, who surveys his options and then tees up Herrera, who drills a beautiful low shot into the net from over 20 yards! 9.11pm BST 67 min: A dreadful attempted pass by Schneiderlin goes straight into touch. Mourinho is on his feet, looking anxious. 9.08pm BST Northampton substitution: Potter on, Gorre off. 9.08pm BST 65 min: Another punch clear by Smith, this time from a cross by Rooney. 9.07pm BST 63 min: Carrick spanks the ball wide to Rashford. The teenager takes it down nicely and then floats a cross towards the back post. Smith punches it away before it reaches Ibrahimovic. 9.05pm BST 62 min: Young crosses from the right and is then caught by a late sliding tackle by Gorre. He goes down and calls for treatment. Hard to know how hut he is but he’s certainly entitled to be aggrieved. 9.03pm BST 59 min: United ping the ball around about 30 yards from the Northampton goal. But the hosts were well organised and dynamic and United can’t find a way through. Herrera decides to go direct, opening fire from 25 yards. It whizzes wide off the outside of the post! 9.00pm BST 57 min: A wrongly awarded freekick (McCourt handled the ball) allows Northampton to send the ball into the United box. Smalling nods it away. 8.59pm BST 56 min: Rashford, playing wide on the left, tries to scamper past Moloney but is shepherded out of play by the fullback. 8.58pm BST United substitutions: Rashford and Ibrahimovic on, Memphis and Fosu-Mensah off. Mourinho’s not mucking around. Northampton substitution: O’Toole on, Beautyman off. 8.56pm BST 52 min: Lovely drag-back by Carrick to create an angle for a threaded pass through to Memphis, who just fails to collect it on the run. Carrick has been United’s best player by far. 8.54pm BST 50 min: Young swings in yet another cross. Smith fumbles it and is grateful that Moloney is on hand to tap it out for a corner. “Famous Northamptontonians also include Matt Smith and Alan Carr, whose father was manager of the Cobblers in the 80s,” informs John Hope. 8.52pm BST 48 min: United, perhaps fuelled by their anger about that tackle (which, thankfully, did not injure Memphis), crank up the tempo. Rooney fizzes the ball wide to Young, who smashes another teasing low cross into the six-yard area. Northampton defend it well. 8.50pm BST 47 min: McCourt booked for a ridiculous tackle from behind on Memphis. United players are furious and they are right: that should have been a red. 8.49pm BST 46 min: As the teams return to the pitch with the same personnel as ended the first half, the camera lingers on Mourinho, sitting sullen-faced in the dugout and chewing gum: at least that much is reminiscent of Alex Ferguson. 8.45pm BST “I have a question for Dan Lucas,” announces Matt Turner “Did he used to go to the cinema at Sixfields, like, sat in the stands watching a film on some big, portable screen? Or did there used to be a proper cinema where Sixfields now stands? Either way, today we are treated to a tense psychological thriller that closely examines the folly of overwrought expectations and human frailty. Thumbs up.” 8.38pm BST Mourinho stomps down the tunnel to mocking chants from the home fans of: “You’re getting sacked in the morning!” 8.36pm BST United looked serenely comfortable for most of the half and took a deserved lead through the regal Carrick. But as soon as Northampton showed a bit of defiance, the jitters crept back and United crumbled, conceding a penalty. Now Northampton sense a shock and United must fear entering Stage 4 of the Big Club Crisis. Mourinho said on Sunday that some of his players are struggling to cope with negativity, so the second half here has become quite a test. 8.32pm BST 44 min: A mighty boot from the back puts United in more bother. Smalling was caught unaware and Taylor darted past him. Romero charged off his line to punch clear at the edge of the area, following on into the attacker. Good goalkeeping. 8.30pm BST Revell sends Romero the wrong way and guides the ball into the bottom corner. Northampton have equalised by punishing the panicky defending (feeble header by Rojo, dithering by Fosu-Mensah, then a clumsy tackle by Blind) that resulted from the first bit of prolonged pressure that the League One side managed to apply. 8.28pm BST For a foul by Blind. 8.28pm BST 37 min: Celebrity Northampton resident? Des O’Connor, Thom Yorke and Dan Lucas. Its Lucas who has written this email: “Fun fact: Sixfields is in a sinkhole, hence that grassy bank that’s full of fans tonight. Less fun fact: it’s where I used to go to the cinema as a kid.” 8.20pm BST 34 min: Rooney mades selfless run into the left channel and is found by Blind. But he reprises his most undignified moment from the Watford game by shanking an attempted cross into the stands. He’s trying very hard but it’s not happening for him at the moment. 8.18pm BST 31 min: I wasn’t counting but I’m going to guess that United completed 76 consecutive passes before Fosu-Mensah made an excellent run behind the home defence and was picked out by a fine pass from Schneiderlin. Fosu-Mensah powered a header against the crossbar for what would have been a fabulous goal. The rebound fell to Rooney, who headed it into the net . from an offside position. 8.15pm BST 28 min: When United get the ball, which is most of the time, Northampton retreat into blanket defence. It’s difficult for United to infiltrate but they are passing and probing patiently. 8.11pm BST 25 min: Northampton loft another corner beyond the back post. Diamond heads back into the mixer. Revell, falling backwards, lifts a 12-yard shot over the bar. 8.10pm BST 22 min: Blind, Carrick and Herrera knock the ball around a bit to sap Northampton’s vim. Those three players have passed the ball much better than any United player did against Watford on Sunday. This, admittedly, is an easier assignment than that one, but still, United can take encouragement from the fact that they have been in near total charge and, more to the point, they have been coherent. 8.07pm BST 19 min: Decent response from Northampton. They’ve increased their ambition and the speed of their passing and begun to push United back a little. When they lost possession they regained it quickly, as Rojo was caught in possession. Romero came off his line to punch clear the ensuring cross. 8.04pm BST Memphis rolled the freekick to Rooney, whose shot was blocked. But the rebound ran to Carrick at the edge of the area and he calmly stroked it into the corner. Impeccable finish by a player who has been demonstrating his enduring class since the start of the game. 8.03pm BST 16 min: Freekick to United three yards inside the Northampton box because the keeper picked up a backpass from Taylor. Can United find a way around the eight man wall? 8.01pm BST 15 min: Herrera turns nicely past mcCourt and sticks the ball wide to Young, who’s United’s regular go-to man so far. He over-hits the cross, however. United regain it and resume passing. They are in almost complete control. Rojo slips a nice pass through to Memphis, whose pinged low cross from the left goes just beyond Rooney. 7.58pm BST 12 min: Fosu-Mensah pounces on a loose pass by Taylor deep in the Northampton half. He helps the ball on to Young, who delivers a low centre from the right. Zakuani, well positioned, clears before it reaches Rooney. 7.57pm BST 10 min: Rojo is pestered into the concession of a corner. It’s swung over to the back post, where Carrick makes a decisive headed clearance under serious duress from an opponent. 7.56pm BST 8 min: Freekick to Northampton midway inside the United half: a chance for the home team to apply some pressure on the United box for the first time. They send the big men forward, but Schneiderlin heads clear. 7.54pm BST 7 min: Carrick starts another move, feeding Memphis with a fine pass. The Dutchman toys with Moloney before crossing to the edge of the area, where Carrick arrives to try a shot. It’s blocked but rebounds into the path of Young on the right. He serves Rooney, who has a chance eight yards out. But he opens his foot too wide and slices the shot off target, bringing jeers from the home fans. 7.51pm BST 5 min: United are dominant. But Northampton are defending en masse to good effect at the moment. 7.49pm BST 2 min: Good play by United. Carrick, tellingly, initiated it with a quick, accurate diagonal ball from deep. Memphis took it down nicely in the box and, after a bit of jinking, teed up Rooney, who swivelled and then shot low and hard from 10 yards. But it was straight at the keeper, who held it well. 7.46pm BST 1 min: United kick off, Rooney feeding the ball back to Blind. I foresee a 3-0 away win. Or the beginning of a monumental guffstorm. 7.43pm BST There are just over 7,500 people in Six Fields, and another hundred or so watching from a hill just outside. And they see the home team march out in burgundy shirts and white shorts. Just to be different, United are in white tops and black shorts. 7.35pm BST Mourinho has also just been on the TV and his reply to the question “what do you want to see from Wayne Rooney tonight” was interesting. “Goals. I hope he scores goals.” Is that an indication that he is reverting to the stance he set out when he first arrived at United, ie that Rooney needs to think about thriving as a striker and forget all midfield pretensions? 7.32pm BST Phil Neville is on the telly and, in response to a question regarding United’s current state, he says: “At United losing even one game is a crisis: losing three is a disaster.” Crumbs, what would losing four be? 7.26pm BST “I expect Rojo and Rooney, like some teams’ wingers, to swap positions at various stages during the game,” toots David Flynn. “But neither of them will have been told to and they won’t necessarily do it at the same time.” Of course neither of them will have been told to: no one should tell Rooney anything. Sam Allardyce said so. 7.22pm BST “Who do you think will be the next Manchester United manager in January, Ryan Giggs?” parps Vinash Chauhan, who seems to have lost faith already. Jilting one of the most decorated managers in the history of football to replace him with a guy who has managed four whole games, including a home defeat by Sunderland, is a gamble United won’t be quick to take, I’ll wager. Unless they too are looking for easy jokes. 7.17pm BST “Firstly, if Rooney get two hat-tricks again, that means he’ll surpass Bobby Charlton’s scoring record and United can finally sell him and the resulting barrage of merchandise,” notes Eddie Munro. “Secondly looking at that line-up the potential for brainfarts (Romero, Smalling, Rojo, Depay) and comedy diving (Herrera, Young, Rooney) says to me this is Mourinho’s slapstick line-up which he, his staff, Ibrahimovic and Pogba will all sit watching on dvd tomorrow night whilst smoking cigars and laughing.” 7.11pm BST “Is it permitted to tweet ‘oh you Beautyman!’ if warranted today?” asks Howard. I’m not sure, I suggest hiring consultants to run it past some focus groups. Or you could just blurt it out and deal with hellfire if it turns out you’ve broken twitter etiquette. 7.03pm BST OK, in the spirit of due GRAVITAS, let’s try to figure out what formation Mourinho thinks United are going to play. I’m saying 4-3-3, with Schneiderlin, Carrick and Herrera in the middle. But it could be 4-2-3-1 (yes, let’s all pretend there’s a big difference between those two). 7.01pm BST Stop emailing and tweeting! I am well aware, as the link showed, that Wayne Rooney is not George Best. Clucking bell, last time I crack an easy gag.** Definitely not the last time I crack an easy gag. 6.53pm BST Northampton: Smith; Moloney, Buchanan, Diamond, Zakuani; Gorre, McCourt, Hoskins, Beautyman, Taylor; RevellSubs: Cornell, Byrom, Richards, Potter, Sonupe. O’Toole, Nyatanga 10.57am BST Hello and welcome to what has become a Massive Match for Manchester United. How José Mourinho could do now with a repeat of what happened when these clubs met in the FA Cup 46 years ago, when United won 8-2 thanks to a famous double hat-trick by Wayne Rooney. The England striker has been pretty much unmovable since then but an increasingly bloated body of opinion suggests his continued presence in the team is one of the reasons for United’s failure to take off under Mourinho. Only one of the reasons, however, and United were plod against Feyenoord last week, when Rooney didn’t play and they lost the middle match of the three-game losing streak that has triggered some valid criticisms and a lot of insufferable caterwauling. A United victory today might bring a moment of respite before Saturday’s Premier League trip to Leicester. A defeat? Lordi help us. Given that Mourinho is likely to deploy many reserves against Northampton, today’s match may not tell us much about how the manager intends to move United forward. But any central midfielder who can demonstrate snappy passing and an ability to conduct rapid attacks may come into the reckoning for the near future. Similarly, there must be places up for grabs in the wide positions given how sluggish United have been there so far this season. On the other hand, if United turn in another lethargic and confused display, then Mourinho may again lament the ability of some players to cope with the pressure while others will wonder about the manager’s ability to uphold a positive atmosphere in the dressing room. Air pollution will soar. Continue reading. . read full article

Source: TheGuardian


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