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Derby County

Manchester United 2–0 Derby County: Three talking points from Old Trafford

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Photo: Reuters

Two goals inside the last ten minutes from Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku helped Manchester United secure a routine victory over Derby County in their FA Cup third-round tie on Friday night.

Jose Mourinho put out a strong side for the home clash with their Championship opposition and there was a clear gulf in class from the word go, with the hosts laying siege to Scott Carson’s goal.

Marcus Rashford missed two glorious chances to give his side the lead before the break, blazing over the crossbar when well set inside the area before guiding a header on to the post from just a number of yards out, and Paul Pogba fired wide twice as United started to turn the screw on Derby.

The visitors did come close twice in quick succession through Marcus Olsson and Alex Pearce but Mourinho’s side re-asserted control just before half-time when Carson pushed two free-kicks away.

And United started the second as they did the first, coming out fast and continuously testing Carson’s resolve in the Derby goal.

Pogba, Lingard and half-time substitute Lukaku all had shots palmed and parried away by the ex-England number one whilst Rashford – without a goal in seven – saw a dipping shot strike the post.

But just when it seemed that Derby might cling on for a priceless replay it was Lingard who produced yet another stunning 20-yard effort into the top corner to break away hearts, before the returning Lukaku played a neat one-two with Anthony Martial in injury-time to tuck home and secure passage.

United ensure lightning doesn’t strike twice

After being well and truly humbled by Bristol City just a few weeks ago in their last meeting with Championship opposition, Jose Mourinho ensured lightning didn’t strike twice against Derby County.

And whilst they may have left it late on Friday, the result was never really in doubt.

Manchester United have an extremely good pedigree in the FA Cup, losing just one of their past 36 games with lower-ranked opposition prior to kick-off at Old Trafford, and you could understand why.

Mourinho named a similarly strong starting eleven to that which played at Ashton Gate last month but this time around their play was much more dynamic, zipping the ball around quickly and allowing Paul Pogba to work his magic in the middle of the park.

Both he and Jesse Lingard continued their excellent form of late and, backed up by Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford – who could have had a hat-trick – their intricate passing moves proved too much.

Had it not been for an inspired Scott Carson between the sticks and for the woodwork than the score-line could have been much more flattering, but Mourinho has reason to be quietly pleased with his side’s work.

Lingard and Pogba steal the show again

As mentioned above, two players at the heart of everything good about Manchester United’s play once again were the charismatic duo of Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard.

Pogba in particular impressed and, although there are those that will say it was ‘only’ against a Championship side, the way he glided across the pitch and linked defence with attack was superb.

In the absence of Nemanja Matic – being rested after a busy festive schedule – Pogba played the role of an ultimate box-to-box midfielder, and after a slow start since returning from injury this Christmas he carried on from where he left off against Everton with a display full of power and flair.

Within ten minutes he had already sent two long-range efforts flying narrowly past Carson’s goal and it was from that moment that you could sense he was in the mood, and if it hadn’t been for a string of excellent stops from the Derby goalkeeper – one free-kick in particular springs to mind – then the Frenchman would have deservedly got himself on the scoresheet.

As it was, it was left to the red-hot youngster Lingard to settle the home supporter’s nerves in the 84th minute with yet another trademark long-range strike, this time rifling high into the top corner.

It was the 25-year-old’s fifth goal in his last six games and he’s really starting to outshine his fellow United midfielders this season – which can only be a good thing as United strive for a top-four finish.

Tougher tests will undoubtedly surface with the Premier League and Champions League set to gain traction over the next month, and the FA Cup could turn out to be an unwanted distraction from their main ambitions for this season, but the form of Pogba and Lingard is a huge positive for United.

Eye-opening experience for promotion-chasing Derby

With no loss in seven heading into their third-round trip to Old Trafford, and with the knowledge that Bristol City humbled United last month, Derby would have had high hopes ahead of the game.

The Rams’ impressive run of form over the festive period has seen them rise to second in the Championship table, two points ahead of their nearest challengers Cardiff City, and now there’s a real growing feeling that this could be the year that sees them return to the Premier League.

Yet if they do make it to the pinnacle of English football once again then they will have to get accustomed to playing the likes of Manchester United week-in, week-out, and on Friday’s showing there’s still a lot of work to be done before their squad is prepared for that.

To their credit they gave it a go in the opening 45 minutes, looking sharp on the counter-attack and committing numbers forward to try and get at a weakened defence containing Victor Lindelof at right-back and Daley Blind in the middle.

But despite holding the hosts for all of 84 minutes – coming within touching distance of an unlikely replay – they were indebted to both Carson and their own woodwork for keeping them in the game for so long.

The main aim for manager Gary Rowett will undoubtedly be to secure top-flight football for next season for the first time in ten years, but they’ll look back at Friday’s defeat as an eye-opening experience that offered a glimpse of what the 2018-19 campaign could have in store.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

Brentford

One winner and one loser as Florian Jozefzoon chooses Derby over Leeds

The 27-year-old looks set to sign for the Rams.

Max Cohen

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Jozefzoon
Photo: Getty Images

When Brentford confirmed on Wednesday that the club had accepted a bid for attacker Florian Jozefzoon, it seemed Derby County were the frontrunners.

However, reports of a Leeds United bid added to the transfer drama, before Jozefzoon eventually chose the Rams over Elland Road, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post.

The reported decision would come as a severe blow to Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United, as the club would miss out on yet another transfer target this summer.

However, Frank Lampard and Derby County will be delighted at another transfer coup, as the allure of the England legend is proving to be a great way of attracting players to Pride Park.

(Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

Loser: Leeds fans

Although there are still a number of weeks left in the window, Leeds supporters are right to be worried about the lack of permanent signings.

So far, the club have made just two loan agreements with Lewis Baker and Jamal Blackman of Chelsea. While the two are certainly smart acquisitions, they are not of the quality that will fire Leeds to promotion.

There is still no need to panic, as Marcelo Bielsa will surely attract some top talent as well— but to see their direct Championship rivals beat them to Jozefzoon will be worrying.

Winner: Frank Lampard

The Chelsea legend has done it again. After securing the double loan swoop of promising youngsters Harry Wilson and Mason Mount, Lampard looks set to acquire the services of the former Dutch Under-21 international.

In his first transfer window as a manager, Lampard has done well to convince key targets to join his project at Pride Park, a valuable skill that will serve him well in his coaching career.

Derby now look set to mount a serous promotion challenge; Leeds will have to strengthen further to be able to say the same.

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Derby County

Matej Vydra should make Leeds move instead of misguided Premier League switch

The Czech forward bagged himself 21 goals last season.

Max Cohen

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Matej Vydra
Photo: Getty Images

According to The Sun, Derby County striker Matej Vydra is on his way out of Pride Park and is seeking a Premier League move, although fellow Championship club Leeds United are also interested.

Vydra should choose to sign with Leeds and fire the Yorkshire club to promotion, as he is not ready for a return to the Premier League.

The Czech Republic international is a player who occupies the awkward space between being top-class in the second division, yet not up to speed in the top flight.

In the Championship, there is absolutely no questioning Vydra’s quality. Last season for Derby, the striker banged in 21 goals and was the division’s top scorer, and in 2012/13 for Watford he chipped in 20 goals and eight assists.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

But in the Premier League, Vydra has struggled to find his feet. In 24 total top-flight appearances (23 for West Brom and one for Watford), the 26-year-old has scored just three times and provided four assists.

His poor Premier League statistics reveal why he is unlikely to receive much interest from top-flight teams this summer. But given Derby County’s Financial Fair Play worries, manager Frank Lampard may be forced to offload the frontman against his wishes.

The addition of Vydra would be a massive coup for Marcelo Bielsa’s men, as his past managers have heaped praise on the attacker. Back in October, Gary Rowett tipped Vydra to become the best creator in the second division.

“I said to him the other day that he’s got everything to be the best number 10 in this division. Both of his feet are fantastic; he can run, he’s quick and powerful.”

Leeds United would do well to acquire the services of Matej Vydra, one of the Championship’s best striking talents who could light up Elland Road next season.

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Derby County

Three reasons why Derby is the perfect destination for Harry Wilson

According to reports the 21-year-old Liverpool youngster is close to joining Derby

Liam Thomas

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"Photo: Getty Images"

Liverpool youngster Harry Wilson signed a new contract with the Merseyside giants last week. However, the 21-year-old will be loaned out for the season to gain some vital experience and, according to the Mirror, Derby County is his likely destination.

Wilson was rewarded with a new contract by the Reds after an impressive outing with Championship strugglers Hull City last season, where the wide man scored seven goals in 13 appearances.

Now, the Welsh international looks set to be Frank Lampard’s first summer signing, joining the former England international in his first managerial appointment.

(Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

1. A chance to play under a boss who has done it all can only be inspiring

Wilson would have to chance to play under Lampard, a man who as a player won pretty much everything, this can only be inspiring for a footballer of Wilson’s age, and the former midfielder will surely know how to get the best out of the young talent at his disposal.

2. Already proved himself in the Championship last season

The Welsh international has already confirmed he can do it in the Championship, after a successful loan spell at Hull.

The young winger will only be looking to improve and, given a full season and game time, he is more than likely to do that.

3. Fearless attitude

Wilson would bring with him to Pride Park a fearless approach to improve and to take on any challenge that comes his way.

This mindset was demonstrated when at 16 Wilson made his full international debut for Wales; a testament to the youngster’s talent and solid proof he could hit the ground running at Derby.

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