Manchester United are through to the next round of the FA Cup but they were fortunate to advance past Aston Villa.
The only goal of the game came in the seventh minute as Scott McTominay nodded in Fred’s wonderful cross but that was the only moment of real quality from United.
Instead, Ralf Rangnick watched on as his side surrendered control to Villa, who were the better side for most of the match.
The visitors hit the crossbar, saw two goals ruled out and forced David de Gea into a series of fines saves yet United managed to hold on for the win.
Villa may well take confidence from the performance, however, ahead of the two teams meeting again on Saturday in the league.
United have advanced to face Middlesbrough as they look to win the FA Cup for the first time since 2016.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Phil Jones all missed the match with minor muscle problems.
In his first week as Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick stated his intentions to turn the side into a team of “pressing monsters”, but six weeks on it seems those plans are on the backburner.
Rangnick has taken the pragmatic view that results are more important at the moment and this was a much more passive performance than those United tried to produce back in December.
It was a shift from the formation Rangnick had started games with so far and when Villa had the ball at the back there was little attempt to put pressure on them.
Bruno Fernandes joined Edinson Cavani as a front two but they tended to hold their positions rather than close down Villa’s central defenders. On the one occasion United did press effectively and force Villa back to Emiliano Martinez, the visitors managed to play around the front four and then found 40 yards of space to run into. It was a chaotic and unstructured press.
Newcastle United are interested in signing former Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini from Chinese side Shandong Taishan, according to reports in Belgium.
Newcastle are keen to splash the cash in this month’s January transfer window and manager Eddie Howe wants to beef up his midfield options.
Fellaini, who is under contract at Shandong Taishan until the summer of 2025, left Old Trafford in 2019.
Henderson was told by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the summer he had been pencilled in to start the campaign as United’s number one but he contracted Covid-19 in his first week back in pre-season and was laid low for a month. The illness has effectively written off six months of Henderson’s career as, by the time he had recovered, the summer transfer window had closed.
David de Gea has regained form this season that has limited Henderson to just two starts. His absence for the FA Cup tie against Aston Villa is understood to have been related to his future as Henderson is so insistent on getting a loan move to guarantee him regular playing time.
As Donny van de Beek ran the touchline during Manchester United’s 1-0 FA Cup win over Aston Villa on Monday evening, the Dutchman, not for the first time, was greeted by a chorus of cheers.
As United’s supporters did during the Manchester derby defeat to City back in November, they applauded Van de Beek and cheered as he went through his warm-up preparations, in anticipation of being thrown into the battle by Ralf Rangnick.
Again, just as we saw against City, it was a clear indication of just how keen United’s match-goers are to see him earn a run in the team and prove his worth, opposed to being presented with opportunities in dribs and drabs, just as he has done throughout his Old Trafford career so far.
Considering the visit of Villa was always likely to see Rangnick ring the changes, it was anticipated that Van de Beek would bag just his second start since the German took charge. He had no such luck.
Tottenham have made contact with Jesse Lingard and his representatives over a potential move – according to reports.
Out of contract at Old Trafford this summer, the United forward has only been handed 87 minutes in the Premier League this season and speculation over his future continues to mount.
Lingard scored nine goals and provided five assists in 16 games on loan for West Ham last campaign.
According to our sister publication football-london, Tottenham have ‘sounded out’ Lingard as a potential January signing and have made initial contact in that respect.
Lingard is, meanwhile, free to speak with clubs from abroad over a pre-contract agreement.
Marcus Rashford cut a frustrated figure during the FA Cup victory over Aston Villa.
But what does former United assistant manager Steve McClaren think is the solution?
Rio Ferdinand has told current United players to embrace working alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.
Missing for the FA Cup victory over Aston Villa last night, five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo has scored 14 goals from 21 appearances since completing a sensational return move to Old Trafford – during the summer window – after 12 years at Real Madrid and Juventus.
His second coming has coincided with a testing season for the Premier League giants.
Amid suggestions that several first-teamers are ‘unhappy’, Ronaldo has been identified as one potential problem within the dressing room due to his status and high demands.
Erling Haaland is set to make a final decision on his next club sooner rather than later – according to reports.
Speculation over the Borussia Dortmund goal machine has gathered pace this season as his €64million release clause with the Bundesliga side prepares to activate.
Haaland, 21, has netted 76 goals in as many games during his time in Germany.
Dortmund won a race for his signature that also involved United in January 2020 and elite clubs from across Europe are gearing up for an almighty scramble.
According to AS, the Norway striker will sit down with Mino Raiola early next month to discuss a ‘final solution’.
Ralf Rangnick admits he does not know why Marcus Rashford’s form has plummeted for United.
Rashford struggled, yet again, during United’s 1-0 FA Cup third round win against Aston Villa and he was sarcastically cheered off by some supporters when substituted in the second-half. Some fans countered those calls by serenading Rashford.
The 24-year-old has only scored three times this season since returning from shoulder surgery in October, with his last strike coming on October 30. Rashford only managed ten club goals in 2021.
Rangnick dropped Rashford for the victory over Burnley and defeat to Wolves last week, but the England forward returned to the team against Villa with Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo out injured.
Ralf Rangnick has confirmed that Manchester United have rejected Dean Henderson’s request to leave the club this month.
Henderson, 24, has only started twice this season and is frustrated by the lack of playing time after he was promised the starting role at the beginning of the season.
The Manchester Evening News revealed last month that Henderson met with Rangnick to express his desire for a loan move this month but Rangnick was unwilling to let the England international go.
Glen Johnson believes the recent struggles of Donny van de Beek could put Declan Rice off a move this summer.
Ralf Rangnick praised Manchester United for the aggression they showed to beat Aston Villa in the FA Cup on Monday night, but revealed his frustration at their tame pressing game.
Ralf Rangnick says he does not know why Marcus Rashford’s form has plummeted for Manchester United.
If you’ve been on social media this week there is a good chance you already know about Endrick.
He is the 15-year-old starlet who scored a sensational solo goal for Brazilian giants Palmeiras against Real Ariquemes in the Copinha (video of that below).
Cosme Rimoli comments on the clubs interested in the teenager and claims United are one of those who are ‘excited’ by his potential.
Endrick is yet to turn 16, so can’t sign a professional contract yet. However, his club have already lined up a deal for the middle of the year, which will include a huge release clause.
It is understood Palmeiras’ plan is to develop the youngster and then sell him for a huge profit.
Ralf Rangnick believes Manchester United gained control of their FA Cup win over Aston Villa when Donny van de Beek came on.
Steven Gerrard aimed a sly dig at United fans last night after receiving a hostile reception from the home crowd.
Manchester United have decided not to risk Cristiano Ronaldo against Aston Villa after he complained of minor muscle problems over the last couple of days.
The striker isn’t in the matchday squad for the FA Cup third-round tie, while Phil Jones (calf) and Jadon Sancho (hamstrings) are also ruled out due to minor injury concerns.
This is the first game Ronaldo has missed through injury since his return to the club in the summer and Edinson Cavani will lead the line in his absence, while Marcus Rashford is also back in the side.
That banner that says ‘standards’ and bears the faces of Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and Roy Keane was unfurled again by the Stretford Enders. It was accompanied by more anti-Glazer chanting.
Most United players missed the memo. On a night a homegrown player was heckled, United ended it still in the FA Cup, albeit through Aston Villa’s feckless finishing, David de Gea’s alertness and the forensic Video Assistant Referee.
Those United supporters in the south-west corner evidently felt the message had not got through during the win over Arsenal last month when Cristiano Ronaldo raised the standards. Ronaldo was absent with a muscular problem against Villa and will not be fretting over his starting role.
De Gea was one of a handful of teammates who met the standards. Raphael Varane was classy next to his third central defensive partner in two weeks and Scott McTominay was an obvious, if dubious, choice for man of the match. The returning Fred was selflessly efficient.
Cristiano Ronaldo applauded his Manchester United team-mates on social media following their 1-0 win over Aston Villa in the third-round of the FA Cup at Old Trafford last night.
Scott McTominay’s eighth minute header was enough to seal a return to winning ways for United and book a fourth-round date with Middlesbrough next month, despite being forced to ride a wave of Villa pressure.
The Midlands outfit, who had two second half goals disallowed for offside, were by far the better side and were unlucky not to force the contest to extra time at the very least, with United, not for the first time this season, having David de Gea to thank for his heroics.
Considering interim manager Ralf Rangnick made five changes in a bid to freshen up his squad, even though some were enforced, including the absence of Ronaldo, it did little to change United’s performance levels, with the players coming under plenty of scrutiny in the aftermath of the full-time whistle.
Despite limping over the line and into round-four, Ronaldo approved of his team-mates’ efforts, taking to Instagram following the encounter.
Screenshotting the full-time score, Ronaldo accompanied the post with just two emojis; a flexed bicep and a clap, suggesting that he was proud of his team-mates’ efforts.
Ahead of kick-off, Ronaldo’s absence from the match-day squad was soon a quick talking point in the aftermath of the team news being confirmed. However, Rangnick quickly cooled any mounting rumours, confirming that the Portuguese star was missing out because of a muscle problem.
He said: “I spoke to Cristiano yesterday (Sunday) before training and he said he’d had some problems for the last couple of days, spine minor problems and in the end we decided it would make more sense not to take any risks in a cup game that could last 120 minutes.”
As things stand, it remains to be seen if Ronaldo will return for Saturday’s second instalment of the week against Villa. However, Rangnick will provide a further update on the Portugal international later in the week.