Wow. What a win. What a performance. And all that away from home against a team that has been insanely lucky all season long. A well deserved way of progressing to the semi finals. WEMBLEY, WEMBLEY!!!!
The game itself wasn’t a humdinger of old but still quite an encapsulating encounter. Both teams had chances in the first half so to go in to the break at 1-1 seemed fair. The second half, however, was ours. We created far better chances versus their sterile possession (how many times had that been us in the past!?) and that De Gea was once again their best player speaks volumes as to how the game went. His save for the Cazorla volley was great but his save from the Alexis shot towards the end of the game was out of this world. He really is their one shining light from what they would consider a disappointing campaign so far.
That winning goal though. For it to be Danny Welbeck made it all the sweeter. He was alert enough to beat De Gea and slot it away. His celebration made it even better! He didn’t aim anything towards their fans but it seemed as though his relief and ecstasy were aimed at their manager. He wheeled away screaming what looked like “F*** off, f*** off!!!”. That had to be for LVG. He didn’t go too overboard but was happy to score for the team that does think he’s good enough. I’m happy for Welbeck and am hoping this will help him kick on to finish the season strongly and give the boss a positive headache in his team selection. I did see fair few comparisons between Falcao on his goal scoring stats, which is a little out of context. He may have a few more goals overall but his minutes to goals and assists in the league are actually not quite as good as Falcao’s so we should avoid gloating on that front. We need to remember that Falcao is playing under a manager that doesn’t quite know how to get the best out of him so that’s why we haven’t seen it. Welbeck still has a lot more work to do before we are able to gloat that he’s a better option. Although I think that gloating because he was the one who scored the goal is a different thing altogether. Because that is just an opportunity too good to miss! Danny that was quite simply sublime!
Now onto the nerves of steel portion of the blog. This wasn’t for our performance. This wasn’t for Welbeck’s goal. This wasn’t even for the win. This is for Michael Oliver’s performance. He in no way succumbed to the usual shithousery of the Fergie era and instead took absolutely no bullshit whatsoever from anyone. When he failed to award a free kick/penalty for the foul on Welbeck early on I did wonder if it was going to be one of those nights. This was further compounded by Fellaini’s persistent fouling with a lack of a card shown. But then he stood up and had the metal to send off Di Maria when it would have been so easy to let him away with a yellow in front of the baying Old Trafford faithful. Then Januzaj went down, in my mind I thought here we go, he’s going to give a penalty for a dive. But no, he booked him for diving! I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. Seeing the replay I couldn’t help but think if he stayed on his feet they could well have scored. But he tried to cheat and this was caught. Some quite brilliant refereeing. Credit has to be given where it’s due for officials as they are under a bigger microscope this season and haven’t been up to the standard required. Considering he gave all the right decisions in every incident, which is his job, is being lauded tells you everything you need to know about the officiating this season.
There had been a fair few United fans lamenting the refereeing on my social media sphere and I couldn’t help but laugh. It’s either the karma for the years of United getting their fair share or the right decisions being made. Either way there is little room for hypocrisy. As it turned out the referee actually got all of the big decisions correct in the game. We deserved the win and were better than them on the day. End of.
Now we have a semi final to look forward to against either Bradford (gulp!) or Reading. Whoever we end up playing we now have a great chance to get back to the cup final, so here’s to hoping we take it!
I don’t think that there is any further analysis required other than hoping that we keep the momentum going with a win against the Hammers at the weekend.
Have a great week Gooners!