Written By : Bhavdeep Singh
Manchester United travelled to London for the second time in a week for the FA cup quarter final replay at Upton Park. The first match, at Old Trafford, ended as a draw with a scoreline of 1-1 after Martial’s late equaliser.
Manchester United, just three days after being thrashed by the Spurs were not the favourites, however they came out as winners with a scoreline of 2-1 with Rashford scoring an excellent goal and Fellaini (yep) putting one in as well, the one goal by West Ham came from James Tomkins in the final quarter of an hour of the game and to their credit, West Ham did turn the tables on United towards the end but the guests stood their ground, added to some brilliant saves by De Gea and won the match.
The match began in a regular fashion, the ball got introduced to both halves and both the keepers’ gloves but nothing got past them in the half. West Ham, after an exciting draw against Arsenal had their hopes set on Andy Caroll and Dimitri Payet to create some magic, but it all went pretty dull and drab for them as they didn’t test De Gea that much and whenever they did, he was ready for them.
Manchester United, on the other hand were continuously moving forward, while not as a team, but the play in general seemed like an attacking one. They did however stick to the possession play but the fact that they minimised the back and side passing shows that they are either learning from their mistakes or Louis Van Gaal went in the dressing room and asked the players to do what they wanted to after a reported mutiny against him after the previous match.
The first major chance was given to Marrouanne Fellaini, who was brilliantly set up by Marcus Rashford, only to fire it slightly above the goalkeeper, but to a place his hands could reach, another chance was given to Jesse Lingard who shot straight at the diving keeper for the score to remain 0-0 at half time.
In the second half, quite unsurprisingly, United were at it again, moving forward in numbers and passing the ball around nicely, around 8 minutes into the half, the ball came to Rashford who scored with a brilliant shot at the top corner. Unbelievable play from the 18 year old.
Manchester United looked relaxed, they started having fun, the fans were happy, the manager was happy and so were the players, perhaps as a consequence of this, they scored another when Martial shot straight at the defender and the deflected ball hit Fellaini on the belly and ended up behind the net. Upton park fell silent other than, of course, the away stand where the chants of “Wembley! Wembley!” could be heard.
All this while, West Ham were barely able to get near the goal. With a good defence and perhaps the best keeper in the league, Manchester United didn’t have a lot to worry about.
It was then in the last 15 minutes perhaps that West Ham decided to put their foot on the gas, they finally looked like the West Ham that came back from 2-0 against Arsenal in the weekend. De Gea made an unbelievable save at the near post from a corner which granted West Ham another. This one came right on Caroll’s head and flew past De Gea only for Tomkins to guide it into the net. Upton Park came to life.
West Ham tried so many more times but nothing got past the Spanish goalkeeper, except a header by Kouyate, which was given as an offside in the 89th minute. The game also saw Wayne Rooney return to first team action as he came on for Rashford around that time but that was that, the game ended 2-1 and United now travel to Wembley to face Everton for the semi finals of the FA cup on 23rd April.
Manchester United certainly seem to have bounced back and put the defeat against Tottenham behind them, Van Gaal seemed happy and was logical about the positions of the players to some extent, although, he does say that the FA cup is not important for him, it seems to be his only hope for staying at the club for another year (much to the displeasure of a few fans, okay, a lot of fans)
As far as the players are concerned, there’s no doubt that David De Gea is in the best form of his life, United must be happy about keeping him and about the fax that failed to be received, a lot of fans may be unhappy if they decide to give him to Real Madrid any time soon. Rashford too is a very promising player, not just because of his finishing but the way he sets up other players and seems to have fun dribbling past opponents (much like Martial) shows that he can do wonders and that he does tend to understand the game well. Manchester United’s future seems bright.
Now for the other united, West Ham seemed a little out of touch with what was happening, it was a poor performance by a team who could have otherwise done very well, they showed that in the last 15 minutes but it is obviously, just not enough, a little more pushing earlier on can help, other than that, we can only wait and see what the future holds for them.
- David De Gea
- Marcus Rashford
- Anthony Martial
Special Mentions to Marouanne Fellaini and Timothy Fosu Mensah
West Ham United
- James Tomkins
- Andy Caroll
- Dimitri Payet
Manchester United vs Aston Villa – 16th April
Leicester City vs West Ham – 17th April