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Man Utd beat Wigan to set up dream FA Cup tie – but unsolved issue will worry Erik ten Hag | Football | Sport

Manchester United started their FA Cup campaign with a routine 2-0 win against north-west neighbours Wigan Athletic on Monday night. Over 7,000 away supporters were in fine voice at the DW Stadium as Diogo Dalot and Bruno Fernandes’ goals on either side of half-time sealed safe passage into the fourth round.

Express Sport looks at four talking points from United’s comfortable yet frustrating triumph against the League One strugglers.

Man Utd wasteful in victory

United’s win was a comfortable one but, in truth, the match should’ve been done and dusted in the first half.

Scott McTominay missed three big chances, Rasmus Hojlund squandered two, Marcus Rashford one. Erik ten Hag will be delighted with the win, but he’ll know this wastefulness can’t continue.

United haven’t won any of their 91 games under Ten Hag by more than three goals. They really should’ve done at the DW Stadium.

More pressingly, the Dutchman is desperate for wins. There have already been games this season where his side’s lack of a clinical edge has cost him dearly.

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New year, same fitness fortune

United’s team was strong enough to dispose of the test Wigan provided, but supporters were unsurprisingly irked to learn the squad’s availability had somehow worsened before kick-off.

Injury, illness and off-field issues have contributed to Ten Hag’s disappointing second season in charge. Antony, Christian Eriksen and Amad Diallo were fresh absentees against Wigan.

United currently have 13 senior players unavailable.

The mass absentees saw 12 academy names feature in the squad, though, and Omari Forson became the latest to make his debut in stoppage time.

Erik ten Hag’s best XI is clear

Ten Hag should now know his best team if, by some miracle, he has his full squad at his disposal before the end of the season.

The right wing looks like Alejandro Garnacho’s calling, with Rashford on the left and Hojlund down the middle.

Casemiro should replace McTominay once he’s ready to return to action, partnering Kobbie Mainoo behind Bruno Fernandes.

Lisandro Martinez can come in for Jonny Evans next to Raphael Varane in the coming weeks, with Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot at full-back and Andre Onana in goal. Field that team, and surely, results will improve.

Dream fourth-round tie awaits

Awaiting United in the next round? A trip to League Two Newport County or National League Eastleigh – a true dream tie that the FA Cup is all about.

Eastleigh produced an unbelievable display to force a replay at Newport on Saturday, having gone down to 10 men before James Clarke fired the hosts ahead.

But Chris Maguire’s 82nd-minute penalty earned a replay, and Monday’s draw made the stakes infinitely higher.

Either side’s fanbases would’ve started their FA Cup adventure dreaming of a home or away tie against one of the Premier League’s heavyweights. They don’t come much bigger than 12-time winners Manchester United.

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