Thursday, December 7, 2023

Manchester United 2-0 Nottingham Forest: Main Talking Points As Erik ten Hag’s Side Cruise Their Way To The EFL Cup Final

Tom Dunstan in Editorial 2 Feb 2023

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Eventually cruising their way to the final of this season’s EFL Cup on Wednesday night, Manchester United finished off the job as they claimed a 2-0 victory against Nottingham Forest.

Firmly sat in pole position after clinching a thumping first-leg 3-0 romp at the City Ground last week, Erik ten Hag’s men also continued on their stellar purple patch.

Putting on a second-half clinic as Anthony Martial and Fred bagged a quickfire double, Steve Cooper’s side would have known that they always faced a major uphill struggle at Old Trafford.

Clinching a trip to Wembley and booking what should be a real battle against Newcastle, United are now on the verge of finally bringing a piece of silverware back to Manchester this year.

Storming their way to a thumping 5-0 aggregate victory against their Premier League rivals, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Wednesday’s EFL Cup showdown.

Ten hag inches towards a piece of silverware

While Manchester United might have initially struggled to have found their feet under ten Hag when opening the 2022/23 campaign, the Red Devils have come roaring back in some style.

Despite getting hit with last-gasp heartbreak away at Arsenal last month, the former Ajax boss has certainly proven that was just a minor blip on their exceptional post-World Cup flurry.

Suffering just a single defeat across all formats since returning from the festive interval, Wednesday’s hosts are also cruising towards a Champions League return in 2023.

Storming their way to this season’s EFL Cup after claiming a rampant 5-0 aggregate win, ten Hag’s high-flying squad are desperate to end their extended trophy draught on February 26th.

Likewise, booking their spot in the knockout stage of this year’s Europa League, United’s new boss is quickly writing himself into Old Trafford folklore.

Not lifting a piece of silverware since their Europa League success back in 2017 while under Jose Mourinho, the Reds find the mood in their camp at a memorable high.

United extend on their Old Trafford romp

Only continuing to shine since returning from the World Cup’s winter break, a huge part of United’s success has come thanks to their remarkable run of form on home soil.

Eventually breezing past Forest thanks to Wednesday’s 2-0 victory, the Premier League giants have certainly gained a fearsome reputation for their performances at Old Trafford.

Likewise, extending on their FA Cup adventure last weekend thanks to a 3-1 win against Championship outfit Reading, ten Hag’s men have now won each of their last 12 straight showdowns in front of their own supporters.

With that stellar purple patch stemming all the way back to October 16th, the Red Devils will be looking to keep up their hometown flurry when they turn their attention back to Premier League duties on Saturday afternoon.

Hoping to widen their buffer in the top-four, United will be next seen in a few days time when they welcome Crystal Palace to Manchester.

Easier tests await Forest

Making the trip to Old Trafford on Wednesday night already chasing a 3-0 deficit, Nottingham Forest would have been more than aware that they needed a minor miracle at Old Trafford.

Nevertheless, while Cooper’s side might not have been able to spring a major EFL Cup upset and punch their own Wembley ticket, the former Swansea boss certainly faces easier tests down the line.

Once again really splashing their cash during the January transfer window and welcoming the likes of Kaylor Navas to the City Ground, Forest have Premier League safety at the top of their agenda in 2023.

However, facing what looks set to be a real relegation six-pointer when they meet Leeds this weekend, Cooper’s side are seeking some recent stability.

Crashing out of the FA Cup last month following a shock 4-1 drumming against Championship outfit Blackpool, Forest have won just one of their previous six appearances within 90 minutes.

Match Report

Manchester United: Heaton, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw, Fernandes, Casemiro, Fred, Anthony, Weghorst, Garnacho

Subs: Lindelof, Maguire, Martial, Rashford, Sancho

Nottingham Forest: Hennessey, Williams, Boly, McKenna, Lodi, Mangala, Freuler, Dennis, Scarpa, Johnson, Surridge

Subs: Osong, Hammond, Danilo, Aurier, Mighten

Goals: Martial (73′), Fred (76′)

Yellow Cards: Manchester United: Fred, Casemiro – Nottingham Forest: Surridge

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Peter Banks

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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