Five things learned about Manchester United in their FA Cup win over Shrewsbury

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Manchester United comfortably beat League One Shrewsbury Town 3-0 in the FA Cup fifth round at New Meadow.

Manchester United avoided the scare most of the country was hoping for against League One Shrewsbury Town, with goals from Chris Smalling, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard giving the visitors a 3-0 win at New Meadow and setting up an FA Cup quarter-final date with West Ham.

United had the game wrapped up shortly after the hour mark when Lingard added to his teammates' first-half strikes, allowing Louis van Gaal's team to switch their attention toward crucial fixtures against Midtjylland and Arsenal later this week.

The Dutchman's detractors may give themselves Tuesday and Wednesday off after this, but they'll be flexing their muscles in anticipation of Thursday, no doubt.

Here's five things he may have learned in Shropshire:

The shoot-on-sight-policy doesn't work

United had no problem getting their shots away, but their vision was clearly skewed. Memphis Depay twice cleared the crossbar with early efforts from distance - one picked out the face of the stand - before Ander Herrera followed suit inside the opening 20 minutes. When Memphis did find his range, Anthony Martial found himself hilariously in the way of his teammate's free-kick, deflecting it over. This policy was seemingly scrapped around the quarter-of-an-hour mark, with no need for such desperation against massively inferior opponents.

The ability to mix things up could benefit them going forward

Shrewsbury barely entered United's half in the opening period, with possession stats remaining around 75%-25% in the visitors' favour throughout. Inevitably, gaps were hard to come by and only really on one occasion did United cut through the Shrews' back line early on. On that occasion, though, a home defender was in place to clear Martial's blocked shot off the line. It took a lofted cross-field ball from Cameron Borthwick-Jackson to create Smalling's goal, via the head of Morgan Schneiderlin and some poor positioning from Junior Brown. From then on, it was a case of how many for United. With teams frequently setting out to frustrate Van Gaal's team, this approach may need to be utilised more often.

Their weird free-kick routine worked, however controversial

Whenever United won a set-piece on the edge of the hosts' box, they deployed three players to stand in an offside position in front of goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler, before running away from goal as soon as the ball was kicked - a routine Van Gaal later admitted was adopted from Midtjylland. There were teething problems at first - e.g. Memphis smashing Martial in the face - but they got it right second time around, with Leutwiler glued to the ground as Mata bent his shot up and over the Shrewsbury wall.

Sunday's game against Arsenal may be a bring-your-own-boots affair

United carried 12 injuries into Monday night's game and potentially added another to that list at the break in Borthwick-Jackson. A quick glance toward the Red Devils' substitutes bench - where sat Michael Carrick, Paddy McNair, Andreas Pereira and Will Keane plus three teenagers, one of whom was recalled from Stockport County last week - told you all you need to know about Van Gaal's squad depth ahead of a pivotal week in both the Europa and Premier League. Luckily, key men Mata and Martial had a good chunk of the second half to recuperate, but Keane hobbled off with a groin problem only minutes after coming on.

Their supply of players, albeit young ones, is seemingly endless

No matter how many injuries United pick up, there's usually a replacement of sorts lurking behind the scenes. Joe Riley became the latest player to graduate from Warren Joyce's under-21s - following Borthwick-Jackson and Donald Love this season - when he replaced the former at the break. Unused sub Regan Poole was the new name on supporters' lips last week, closely followed by young goalkeeper Dean Henderson, following his loan recall, and there's sure to be more where they came from.

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