Clinical United Show Toothless Arsenal How It’s Done
The North-South Derby rarely disappoints to entertain the football world, and Manchester United’s clinical victory over Arsenal in the Quarterfinals of the FA Cup was no different.
Prior to the match, it was clear that Sir Alex Ferguson was not happy, almost embarrassed, with the way the Reds have performed in their last couple of matches, so he made some interesting, courageous changes to the United line-up, which ultimately, propelled the Reds to advance in the competition.
Even though, it was a very evenly played match, the individual performances could be the foundation that the United manager needed as he attempts to turn the Reds recent dip in form around.
There is a fine line between being completely mad or a genius, and, on this day, Ferguson was the latter of the two. To put seven recognized defenders in the match, which did not include the goalkeeper, it was looking as though Sir Alex had really lost the plot, but, thankfully, the players proved to be just the tonic and shape that was going to trouble Arsenal the most.
Ferguson went with a very inexperienced, but enthusiastic midfield that was anchored by the reliable John O’Shea, who was deployed to cut out the midfield runs against the back-four. The strange selection and baffling formation that Sir Alex went with, had everyone, who holds an anti-Manchester United view, licking their lips with their imaginary guillotine sharpened and ready to chop down the manager’s decision.
However, it was the same old story for Arsenal, as the Gunners continued to show their inexperience, which is looking to be downright cockiness instead, as they were not ready for the type of this match – again.
The brave decision to put the Da Silva twins into the midfield showed that United manager knows exactly what he was doing and that the supporters should trust that he has the best interest of the club at heart. Fabio only played the first half, but that was enough time for him to stamp his impression on the match with an energetic display.
Considered to be lesser skilled than his brother Rafael, Fabio not only started the first goal, but his anticipation and desire enabled to finish it off as well. Unfortunately, Fabio’s lack of match fitness saw him withdrawn at halftime, but his anguish was met by an overwhelming joy for everyone else.
In his pre-match press conference, Ferguson said that Antonio Valencia was not ready to make his return to the United line-up, but, like he always done in the past, the Gaffer never revealed his hand. Valencia enter the fray to bombard down the same flank that he suffered his broken leg, which was going to test his mental state, and the Ecuadorian showed just how resilient he can be.
There is no question that Valencia’s intangible contributions have been missed, but his introduction also seemed to inspire the immediate benefactor of his driven crosses. Since Valencia went down with his injury, Wayne Rooney’s goal scoring has gone down the toilet as well, however, after the winger came on, the United forward had a little more pep in his step.
The anticipation of the two linking up kept the United supporters on the edge of their seats, but, even though it never materialized into a goal, the combination play was there for all to witness. Coupled with the emergence of Nani and Dimitar Berbatov this season, other teams will be shivering in their boots fearing that Rooney and Valencia has rekindle their potent partnership.
The questionable formation with untested players will certainly grab all of the headlines, but it was an ever-present player that dictated the outcome of the North-South Derby.
It should come as no surprise that Ferguson will be certainly adding to his squad in the summer, but his best bit of business would be keeping Edwin van der Sar as United’s goalkeeper for next season. After struggling with his distribution and focus towards the beginning of the season, van der Sar has become an ageless wonder is proving that he still has a year or two left in him at the top level.
The big Dutchman recorded 11 saves against Arsenal, and most of them were instinctive, reactionary saves that van der Sar has learned to make in his 21-year playing career. The United defenders in front of him failed to mark an Arsenal player, which allowed them to have a pop at the goal, 18 shots in all, but van der Sar frustrated them time and time again.
Manchester United did not put in a glittering performance, but, unlike Arsenal, the Reds have the capability to combat style and flare with diligence and desire.
Submitted by The United Religion
/ 8 hours ago
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