After what seemed to be a foregone conclusion after 20 minutes for Manchester United against Newport, it turned out to be a much more tighter contest as it needed to be with United squandering a two goal advantage to let Newport back into the game before goals from Anthony and Hojlund secured the win.
Here are the player ratings from the FA Cup Fourth Round win against League One side Newport County:
Altay Bayindir (6/10):
Had a few nervous moments from the start but dealt with anything on target from the Newport team, including a very decent save late on. He will be disappointed to concede two goals on his debut but not much he could have done with both goals.
Luke Shaw (7/10):
Good return back to the first team for Luke Shaw, he was involved in the build up for the first goal and the third goal with some tidy play which resulted in him hitting the post and Anthony being on hand to finish into an empty net. Was solid defensively winning 5/5 tackles and 5/7 ground duels and definitely a contender for man of the match.
Lisandro Martinez (7/10):
Oh how United have missed the "Argentinian Butcher", was constantly feeding Garnacho in the first half which created many openings for us and his general coolness on the ball was much needed at what turned out to be a difficult away trip, 88% pass accuracy attributes to that. As well as winning 100% of his duels and creating 1 big chance, he was unlucky to have Newport’s first goal ricochet of him, giving them brief life.
Raphael Varane (6/10):
Didn't do much wrong and was glad to see him paired with Lisandro Martinez again, hopefully they can both stay fit and build on that partnership from last year. Although, he will be disappointed that he let the striker get across him for Newport's second goal in my opinion.
Diego Dalot (7/10):
Was a constant thorn down the right wing with his link up play with Anthony and his marauding runs into the box, assisting a beautiful goal for Kobbie Mainoo as well as registering 4 key passes in the 90 minutes. Always made himself available and did his defensive work, winning 3/4 aerial duels, 2/2 of his ground duels as well as 3 clearances.
Was generally ok today for his first appearance since November 2023, I was looking forward to see how Mainoo and himself would work in tandem and although against inferior opposition, it did work well with Mainoo being able to play the "number 8" role and join the attacks which he did several times. Couple of sloppy challenges in which 1 of them he got what seems to be his customary yellow card but all in all a decent display.
Kobbie Mainoo (8/10):
A real contender for man of the match, another coolness personified display by the young man. He took his goal brilliantly, sweeping the ball into the bottom corner from a cut back. I was more impressed with him coping with the physicality of the game winning 4 aerial duels in the middle of the park despite not being the tallest of midfielders. He also linked the play well from midfield to the attack and tracked back to help Casemiro encompassed by him winning 100% of his ground duels. Moving forward this has to be the midfield two, as Eriksen just does not have the legs to get around the pitch and Mount defensively is not better.
Relief for Anthony who gets his first goal involvements of the season getting a goal and assist today. It supplied a lovely cut back for Fernandes for United's first goal and was always making himself available to receive the ball. My frustration with him is the wasteful chances and the inability to create chances for Rasmus Hojlund. I'm sorry but I can't fathom how in a 90 minute game, Anthony had 6 shots and Hojlund only had 1. That would be my only criticism from his game today but I am happy he is off the mark and can hopefully have a better second half to the season.
Alejandro Garnacho (6/10):
Just like Antony, some good bits in creating 2 big chances but very wasteful for large parts of this game. I think he will regret not squaring the ball to Bruno Fernandes or Hojlund who were both waiting to knock the ball into an empty net, instead Garnacho chose the harder option and thrashed the ball against the crossbar. He is still young and developing but United have a real problem with their wingers inability to create other than for themselves, again Garnacho registering 5 shots today to Hojlund's 1 just doesn't feel right.
Bruno Fernandes (7/10):
A solid outing for the United captain, scored a brilliant first goal and maybe could have had a couple more with better finishing and Garnacho pulling the ball back for him. Was always looking to release our wingers and was generally tidy with the ball for the 90 minutes, which cannot always be said to be true.
Rasmus Højlund (7/10):
No chances were created for him today and although there was times where he could have held the ball up better, his supply line was virtually non-existent. The only shot he had which actually ended up sealing the victory, was from a scramble which he showed anticipation and coolness to knock the ball into an empty net, apart from that nothing was created for him and can you be suprised? For a long while now the number 9 role at Manchester United has been seen as the "graveyard shift".
Harry Maguire (6/10):
Came on to consolidate the victory.
Jonny Evans (6/10):
Came on to give Martinez a little bit of rest.
Scott McTominay (6/10):
Came on late, gave away a rash challenge late on but not enough time to make an impact.
Willy Kambwala (6.5/10):
Solid cameo, came on and won 4/4 aerial duels at a time where Newport were trying to get back into the game.
Man of The Match: This is a tough choice between Luke Shaw, Lisandro Martinez, Diego Dalot and Kobbie Mainoo, you wouldn't be wrong to give it to any of the three, but I am just enamoured with the young prodigy Kobbie Mainoo. He is so cool under pressure, doesn't take more touches than he needs and plays the game like a 15 year veteran, he capped his performance off with his first senior goal for Manchester United. It was also good to see him finally playing with Casemiro which should bring more balance to our team and if he continues having a good second half to the season I would not bet against him being one of the front runners for Manchester United player of the season award.