Many of Manchester United's second-string players received a go and would hope to convince Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for a run in the preferred XI. In fact, the Norwegian named a side with ten changes from their last outing, a 3-1 loss at home to Crystal palace, against Luton. Skipper Harry Maguire was the only player to have remained in the XI.
The record Premier League champions endured a relatively lacklustre first 45 minutes with the exception of a powerfully dispatched Juan Mata penalty. It was far from a comfortable victory for the Red Devils, despite what the scoreline might suggest.
The second half finished with a late flurry as goals from substitutes Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood effectively killed the tie. The introduction of the English pair alongside Bruno Fernandes was enough to see off their Championship opposition.
The Hatters left an excellent account of themselves and lived up to their billing of being one of the most in-form teams in the second tier of English football. They lost just one game before this game since former Luton player and manager Nathan Jones returned to the club earlier in 2020. Although they did not manage to cut open the visitors' defence, Luton proved to be a notoriously tricky unit to break down.
Here, we take a look at the major talking points from Manchester United's 1-0 win over Nathan Jones' high-flying Luton Town.
#5 More evidence to suggest Solskjaer needs to ditch his preferred system
Since being appointed as the manager of Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has shown great tactical versatility and changed systems based on opposition sides. The former striker has utilised various formations, but generally speaking, he has shown an affinity to a 4-2-3-1 system.
However, tonight's performance was another game that showed that it is, perhaps, time to do away with the double pivot in midfield in favour of a more expensive style of play. Earlier on into Solskjaer's tenure at Old Trafford, the employed a three-man midfield, affording the likes of Paul Pogba and other creative-minded players more freedom moving forward.
Against Luton, all of United's midfielders were congested in central areas, leaving the team far too open on the wings. A system such as the 4-3-3 would allow for more expansive play through the middle and intricate, exciting sequences of wing play as well. A lack of incision from wide areas blunted United in the first half of the game, and it is something that the 47-year-old would undoubtedly look to address.
#4 Strength in depth a pressing concern for the Red Devils
Manchester United suffered a noticeable burnout towards the end of the last campaign. After a few flying results post-lockdown, a lack of able deputies for the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial, and other key figures led to players tiring out towards the end and this impacted their performance levels.
Heading into a new campaign, particularly with UEFA Champions League football to be played, this was an issue that needed to be dealt with in the transfer market. However, with the window set to close in just under two weeks, United's squad remains thin and in need of several upgrades. And this remains to be the case not only in terms of quantity, but in terms of quality.
Donny van de Beek has been their only summer signing so far, and the Dutchman will provide a natural alternative to creator-in-chief Bruno Fernandes. However, the lack of talented deputies — particularly in attack — is something that will undoubtedly come back to haunt the Red Devils. The likes of Odion Ighalo, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, and a few others from the starting XI against Luton are players that either need to be moved on by the club or upgraded upon in the near future.