Manchester United travelled to Kenilworth Road to face Luton Town in their 2020-21 Carabao Cup opener on Tuesday. The Red Devils were hoping for a quick return to winning ways after a disastrous start to the season at home against Crystal Palace.
However, the Red Devils could not afford to underestimate their hosts as the Hatters were no pushovers. Luton had won all of their four games this season that included two wins in the Carabao Cup and as many in the Championship. They had scored seven goals and conceded just two during this period and were third in the Championship.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who would have abhorred the lackluster display on Saturday, hoped for a response from his team.
Five Manchester United players who impressed against Luton Town
The visitors started brightly, as expected, but the hosts soon grew into the game. However, Williams won Manchester United a penalty late in the first half, which Mata converted to give his team the lead just before the break. In the second half, the Red Devils stayed in control before late goals from substitutes Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood summed up a comfortable win.
Manchester United gave Solskjaer the response that he demanded, and the Norwegian will be especially pleased with the performances of these five players who particularly impressed against the Hatters.
#5 Dean Henderson
The Englishman had always reiterated his desire to play for Manchester United, and after a brilliant season on loan to Sheffield United, he was ready to push David De Gea for the number one position. But even Dean Henderson knew that he had to be patient when coming up against the Spaniard, and so he would have been licking his lips at the prospect of making his first start for the Red Devils against Luton Town.
For the majority of the game, Henderson was a spectator. Even though the Hatters enjoyed a fair bit of possession in the middle of the first half, they rarely threatened his goal. Just when it seemed like it would be a quiet night for the Englishman, he was called to duty. And Henderson responded in typical fashion.
In the 81st minute, the Hatters, eager to price away an equaliser, attempted to throw the kitchen sink at Manchester United. It almost worked, as a header from Tom Lockyer looked set to sneak in, but Dean Henderson had other ideas.
In the blink of an eye, the Englishman stretched out his right palm to stop the ball from crossing the line. It was a brilliant save that kept Manchester United in the game and perhaps gave the visitors the platform to increase their lead through Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.
In his first start for Manchester United, Henderson came away with a hard-fought clean sheet. David De Gea will now be keeping a close eye on him.
Fred was having a breakthrough season in Manchester United colours when the Pogba-Fernandes-Matic trident hit it off last term. The Brazilian was an unfortunate victim of the efficiency of that midfield setup that powered Manchester United to third in the league.
Even though he was overlooked for the first Premier League game of the season, against the Hatters, Fred was afforded a chance to stake his claim for a place in the Manchester United midfield, an opportunity he took with both hands.
The Brazilian was a bundle of energy on the pitch, running around like a man possessed, covering every blade of grass on the ground. His work rate was commendable; Fred combined resolute defending with clever forward runs to help his team in control of the midfield. He was relentless in the middle of the pitch, throwing in tackles, striving to win back the ball and covering for the marauding full-backs.
Fred put in a decent audition for the permanent role in the midfield and helped Manchester United win the game.