Manchester United progress to the fourth round of this year’s EFL Cup, but only after having their many problems exposed by third-tier Rochdale. It was a night that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will quickly want to forget, but it only raised more questions about the current state of this side.
This was uninspiring fare from United, even though Mason Greenwood’s breakthrough briefly threatened to save Solskjaer from a discreditable draw for the second time in the space of a week. Rochdale had a teenage dream of their own: Luke Matheson, a year Greenwood’s junior, volleyed in an equaliser eight minutes later.
It seemed as if United would be made to pay for too many poor, speculative efforts from range. Solskjaer’s side are still failing to create clear-cut opportunities against organised defences, but at least the penalty woes of the early weeks are behind them. Their spot-kicks were faultless, in fact, with Daniel James scoring the decisive kick and sparing his manager’s blushes.