MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester United booked their place in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with a 4-2 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford. Beaten 3-1 by Villa in the Premier League on Sunday, United got some revenge by twice coming from behind to edge out Unai Emery's side.
After a forgettable first half, the visitors led twice through Ollie Watkins and a Diogo Dalot own goal but were pegged back by equalisers from fit again Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, who celebrated his England World Cup call-up with his eighth goal of the season.
Bruno Fernandes put United in front 12 minutes from time before Scott McTominay added a fourth in stoppage time as Erik ten Hag's kept alive their hopes of winning the trophy for the first time since 2017.
1. Ten Hag puts trophy hopes before the World Cup
Speaking ahead of the game, Erik ten Hag said his priority this season is to get United into the top four and back in the Champions League. But the Dutchman also knows the importance of quickly ending the club's five-year trophy drought and even with the World Cup just days away, there were no days off for his key players.
Ten Hag made seven changes from the team which lost at Villa Park on Sunday but still started with Harry Maguire, Martial, Dalot, Rashford and Fernandes and he was rewarded with a place in the draw for the fourth round of the Carabao Cup. Ten Hag is smart enough to understand that even English football's second domestic trophy is worth his time, particularly because United haven't won anything since 2017 when Jose Mourinho was in charge.
Progress in the Carabao Cup means playing again just days after the World Cup final in December, but Ten Hag won't care as long as he's got a chance to win some silverware. His celebrations at the final whistle were evidence that this is a trophy he wants to win.
2. United need Martial to stay fit
Martial was one of United's stand-out players on the preseason tour of Thailand and Australia but his season has been disrupted by three separate injuries. Back to full fitness and with Cristiano Ronaldo ruled out because of illness, he started against Villa and scored his fourth goal in just his sixth appearance of the campaign. Goals haven't been a problem for the Frenchman this season; the issue has been staying fit.
Back playing again, Martial could have a big role to play for United in the second half of the season. Omitted from the France squad for the World Cup, he should be well rested when the Premier League restarts after Christmas and Ten Hag will hope having him back will help United solve their problem scoring goals.
He's a more natural fit than Ronaldo in Ten Hag's centre forward role and, certainly during the summer, United looked a better team with him leading the line. He was substituted early here -- presumably as a precaution as he builds up his match fitness -- but he will be vital when the season resumes after the World Cup. Ten Hag can only hope that he stays injury free.
3. Emery learns a lot as Villa push United close
Villa are out of the Carabao Cup but Emery will have learned a lot about his squad. Having defeated United so comprehensively on Sunday, Villa's new manager could have stuck with the same team just days away from the World Cup break, but instead he decided to shuffle his squad and take a look at his fringe players.
The Spaniard made seven changes from the team which won 3-1 at Villa Park with only Ezri Konsa, Douglas Luiz, Jacob Ramsey and Watkins keeping their places. Villa face Brighton on Sunday but then don't have another game until after Christmas due to the tournament in Qatar and the trip to United represented the only real chance to have a closer look at the likes of John McGinn, Boubacar Kamara and Danny Ings before the second half of the season.
Villa haven't won a major trophy since 1996 -- beating United in the League Cup final -- and while fans will no doubt be disappointed that one realistic chance of silverware this season has gone, Emery will likely feel that the risk of rotating his team was worth it as he looks to get to know his new players as quickly as possible.
Manchester United: Dubravka 6, Dalot 7, Malacia 7, Lindelof 6, Maguire 6, McTominay 6, Fred 5, Van de Beek 4, Fernandes 8, Rashford 7, Martial 7.
Subs: Elanga 6, Garnacho 7, Eriksen 7, Casemiro 6, Martinez 6.
Aston Villa: Olsen 7, Young 7, Augustinsson 6, Chambers 6, Konsa 6, Luiz 7, Kamara 6, McGinn 6, Ramsey 7, Watkins 7, Ings 5.
Subs: Buendia 6, Bailey 6, Mings 6, Cash 6, Digne 6.
Best and worst performers
BEST: Bruno Fernandes
Back after suspension, he scored United's crucial third goal.
WORST: Donny van de Beek
The midfielder managed just 21 touches in just over an hour and, just like at Villa Park on Sunday, was substituted early.
Highlights and notable moments
One minute after Watkins scored for Villa, Martial brought United level.
United went down again after Dalot's own goal.
Diogo Dalot's own goal puts Man United behind again 👀 pic.twitter.com/UbRowI9uwq— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 10, 2022
An end-to-end second half saw Fernandes score the winner.
BRUNO FERNANDES LAUNCHES UNITED FORWARD ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/IBOOHdDHGM— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 10, 2022
A beautiful pass from Garnacho found McTominay who scored United's fourth in injury time.
McTominay seals it!— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 10, 2022
That ball from Garnacho 🤯 pic.twitter.com/CU7ilsXIOS
- Antony Martial has six goal involvements in six appearances this season
- First goal in seven games played against Manchester United for Ollie Watkins
- Marcus Rashford has scored in three straight home games for Man United in all competitions
Manchester United: Erik ten Hag's side face Fulham next on Nov. 13 in the Premier League before the World Cup begins. United then travel to Spain for two friendlies, the first against Cadiz on Dec. 7 and the second at Real Betis on Dec. 10 to keep their squad fresh, before resuming league action against Nottingham Forest on Dec. 27.