When the team was announced for this game last night I was already inside Old Trafford and in the Knights Lounge, that’s because for the first time in a long time, I’d been invited to go corporate. It was through a friend, so we headed to the North East Quadrant area to take full advantage of the three-course meal and free beers before the game.
Back to the team and starting eleven, I was very surprised with how strong it was, in fact I was a little annoyed as I was expecting to see the likes of Pereira and McTominay starting as they certainly need the games. Instead, Jose made lots of changes as he went head-to-head with Frank Lampard for the first time. Jose clearly thought other players needed more game time than some of the youngsters. Therefore it was just Lukaku and Lingard who started against Wolves, who started again along with Phil Jones who was back in the side after a hamstring injury.
As for Frank Lampard himself, he kept the same starting eleven as the one that played against Brentford in the Championship at the weekend. Derby started brightly too and certainly were on the front foot, but then just three minutes in the game we were in front. A sweeping move from us, with Martial down the left crossing into the middle to find Lukaku and then Lingard, who then found Mata and he swept in a brilliant finish.
Derby then had a very good chance to equalise straight away, but it was two golden chances from Lukaku that left us in the stands wondering how he’d missed both a left-foot shot and close-range header. That was that then, 1-0 at half-time, so we headed back to the lounge for our free half-time beer, knowing Derby were definitely still in this game.
I wasn’t wrong either, United sat off them and as Derby were allowed to play they started to create some chances, thankfully Romero pulled off a fantastic save to deny them. He could nothing a few minutes later though as a thirty-yard free-kick from Harry Wilson gave Romero no chance. What a strike.
Then it all went wrong as Romero was then sent off for handling the ball outside the area when goalscorer Wilson was clean through on goal. United reacted well to that and created two brilliant chances, but again both Lukaku’s efforts missed the target. Romero’s replacement and ex-Derby player Lee Grant then made a couple of brilliant saves to deny Derby, but eventually Marriott didn’t miss his chance as he scored a rebound header with five minutes to go.
United kept going and our current star-man Fellaini saved us with a headed just seconds from the end after he was sent on to save the match and take us to penalties. Unfortunately Lee Grant didn’t get near any of Derby’s penalties, just like Scott Carson didn’t get near any of United’s penalties until Phil Jones stepped up to take the fifteen penalty on the night and missed.
Frustrated was an understatement after the game as we once again headed back to the lounge for some more free beers, before then heading outside the ground to grab a cab home. Fair play to Derby, then gave it go and on the night they just seemed to want it that little bit more than us. United v Derby podcast.