United 2 - 1 Crystal Palace

Valencia Smalling Blind Rojo(Darmian)
Fellaini Carrick
Mata(Lingard) Rooney Martial

I expected United to win the cup but, I must admit, I didn't think we'd have to go to extra time before Rooney could get his hands on the famous old trophy. I am absolutely buzzing. Whoever said they'd take a top-4 finish over an FA Cup triumph had absolutely no idea what he was saying. This is what Manchester United is all about; bringing silverware to Old Trafford. Did you see the players' reaction at the final whistle? Who on earth said the FA Cup is not important anymore?! Carrick and Rooney have won it all and they looked absolutely thrilled to finally get their hands on the trophy. Brilliant.

Ever since I started this blog in 2007, I've seen United win a lot of trophies but I've never blogged about United actually winning the FA Cup....so this is a first. Since our last FA Cup triumph we lost two finals and were unlucky in some semi-finals. I was only 13 when we won the FA Cup against Millwall! I wouldn't have imagined I'd have to wait another 12 years to see United win the oldest cup competition again. 

This triumph will make our young players eager for more. This could be (hopefully!) the first trophy of many for the likes of Rashford, Martial and Lingard. Even the young players who didn't feature in the game will now know what it feels like to be triumphant in a competition. They will want to experience the buzz in the dressing room again, they will yearn for more and that's exactly what we need in our team. 

This success does not paper over the cracks. I know we are far off from what Manchester United should be but lets just enjoy the moment and leave it up to Ed and his team to buy sensibly and get us back to the top next season.

We started the game brightly but there were spells when we lost our composure. I thought we were very lucky to have ref call for a foul instead of playing the advantage rule midway through the first half. Connor Wickham outpaced Smalling and the latter brought him down. Wickham managed to get back up and was clean through on goal but the ref awarded a freekick before Connor could resume the action. Phew. There was another instance when the ref didn't play the advantage rule when Palace had a very good chance of scoring. BUT I am not complaining. I still think that we were the better team. We had the best opportunities (including hitting the post twice) and deserved to win the cup. We were bettter than Palace even after Smalling had been sent off. 

Rashford wasn't fazed by the occasion. He created two great chances for Martial and Fellaini and looked very confident on the ball. If anything, I thought he might have been overconfident at times when he tried to dribble past defenders when a pass would have been a better option. He had a good game though and it was a shame he had to be subbed off because of an injury.

Captain Fantastic
I expected more from Martial if I'm honest. Such is his quality that I often forget that he's just 19 (!!) and the pressure might get the best of him on such a big occasion. Whether's it's at Man Utd or elsewhere, I'm sure that this guy will go on to win many more trophies in his career. 50mil down the drain...yes, definitely. On the other side Mata had an on and off game. He tends to drift out of games but then comes up with the goods when it really matters. He scored the equaliser 3 minutes after Palace had opened the score. Decent goal by Mata, great cushioned ball by Fellaini BUT the goal was all about Wayne Rooney. Excellent. Wayne put in a captain's display and his effort to see United get back on level terms with Palace was astonishing. He managed to get past 4 or 5 players and his cross led to our equaliser. If Roo didn't do that, I'd be here complaining about us missing a chance to win some silverware. Definitely the man of the match. Reminded me of Keane vs Juve. I don't care how much he earns and what happened in the past, I love Wayne Rooney. It was a bit sad seeing him up front at times this season because he surely hasn't got what it takes to be a sole striker anymore but I'm loving Rooney in the middle of the field or at least as the player in front of our midfield. He may well have two more years in him. 

Fellaini had another good game. It's amazing how people fail to see this but he's actually a very very useful player to have in the squad. There are some games when Fellaini is needed in the team. An example is the game vs West Ham. Had he not been suspended he'd have played and would have come handy in the two headers that we conceded. In today's game he cushioned the ball to Mata to score the equaliser and went very close to scoring one himself but saw the post denying him. A dirty player sometimes, yes, but I like him. Carrick is another player who had never won the FA Cup and had a decent game. He could have scored the winner after a good Lingard cross but headed wide. Will we see him at United next season? I hope so. I don't think he should be starting games but his experience can be vital for the players around him, whether it's during games or even training sessions.

I thought Rojo was going to struggle. I have said time and again that I'm not sure about this player. But I was actually quite surprised with Marcos today. I think he did well before he had to be subbed off. Valencia played really well. Palace's winger was put out the game by Antonio and it was him who bombed forward to create our winner. I criticised Valencia quite often in the past but he was on top of his game today and I am happy for him. Perhaps the players who disappointed me today were our centre backs. Smalling had better days. He was rightly sent off. Blind was slow on some occasions and was bailed out by his team mates. DDG made a couple of good stops but I don't think a goalie of his calibre should be conceding goals on his near post. 

And finally for the match winner: Jesse Lingard. Scoring the winning goal for your boyhood club....definitely stuff of dreams. His goal was superbly taken and I am absolutely chuffed for the lad. That was a goal fit to win any cup final. I am not convinced he's good enough to be starting week in week out for Manchester United if we want to be challenging for the title again but I think he's a good squad player to have. His speed will definitely cause problems if he is brought on during the last 30 - 20 minutes of games. Scholes said that Lingard should be a 10 goals a season player and I agree. He gets himself in a lot of good positions only to scuff the final effort. Had a good breakthrough season but next season will be a big one for young Jesse. Well played.

Crystal Palace had a good go and they were 10 minutes away from winning the cup. Also, they have an absolute twat of a manager. What the hell was he thinking when he did that dance after the Puncheon goal?! Fool. 

That's how you celebrate a winner Mr Pardew!
As for our manager, I am happy to see him win a trophy for Manchester United. I like LVG but I am not sure about some of his decisions and tactics. The football under him has been soooooo boring. I have criticised LVG a lot as I honestly thought he'd get us to league titles when he was appointed as our manager two years ago but it wasn't to be. Having said that, it was absolutely harsh on the man to leak a story of Mourinho replacing him when LVG had just won a cup. Whoever leaked the story obviously wanted the inevitable arrival of Jose Mourinho to overshadow LVG's cup success. A lot of people criticised Manchester United for leaking the story but that was obviously not leaked by the club. I will not talk about Mourinho before he is officially appointed but I want to thank LVG for his brilliant press conferences, for getting us Anthony Martial, for giving youth a chance and for this FA Cup win. 


First of many? Let's hope so! 


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