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Manchester United 4-1 Real Betis: Three talking points as the Red Devils bounce back from Anfield’s horror show

Manchester United defeated Real Betis by 4-1 in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 tie last night.

Erik ten Hag kept the same side which suffered a humiliating 7-0 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday. It was a chance for the players to redeem themselves at Old Trafford.

Marcus Rashford launched a fiery strike past the goalkeeper to give United an early lead. 

Ayoze Perez brought the score level against the run of play to silence the Theatre of Dreams.

Antony scored with his signature move, turning inside and curling his strike into the top corner. Within the blink of an eye, Bruno Fernandes doubled United’s lead with a superb header.

Wout Weghorst scored the fourth goal to put United on the cusp of progressing to the quarter-finals.

Here is what we made of the game.

Manchester United continue to falter in front of the goal

The scoreline at the break was 1-1 when it should have been at least 3-0. The Red Devils made several goalscoring opportunities but failed to convert them. 

Weghorst was the most guilty, missing three great opportunities. 

The Dutchman displays outstanding commitment by covering every blade of grass. However, his lack of quality is glaring and cost United a chance to put the game to bed in the first half.

His persistence paid off when he scored United’s fourth goal from point-blank range. It was his first goal in front of the Stretford End and the emotional celebrations showed how much it meant to him.

Bruno Fernandes lets his football do the talking

Many people in the media were quick to lambast Fernandes after his dreadful antics against Liverpool. There were calls to strip him of the captaincy. 

Fernandes hit back at his critics with a magnificent display, including scoring a goal and registering an assist against Real Betis.

He created goalscoring chances and helped his side defensively. Whenever the full-backs went forward, Fernandes filled in to stop any possible counter-attacks.

When he plays in the central position, he becomes the heartbeat of this side.

Advantage Manchester United

The Red Devils will walk into Benito Villamarín Stadium with a three-goal cushion. This should be enough for them to progress to the quarter-finals. 

Betis looked toothless in attack. They only had two shots on target in comparison to United’s 13. If United had a better number nine, the result could have been even worse for the La Liga side.

Ten Hag won’t take the second leg lightly but it will be an opportunity for some fringe players to come into the starting XI. 

It will be a great debut season for Ten Hag at United if he can lead United to Europa League glory.