United 4 - 1 West Hamw
Valencia Jones Rojo Shaw(Blind)
Mkhitaryan(Rashford) Rooney Martial(Schweinsteiger)
|Man of the match? Yes. Well played. Photo: Getty Images|
That was a brilliant display of attacking football and we actually managed to finish our chances today. Some of the football played had me beaming in front of my TV. I've said time and again that we are playing some very good football but we've been missing chances left, right and centre. Today we managed to right the wrongs and boy was it beautiful on the eye. Zlatan and Martial managed to get a brace each as United scored 4 brilliantly worked goals.
Our front four were excellent. Rooney looked fiery just behind Zlatan as he rolled back the years with a brilliant display. Shame he was unjustly yellow carded and will miss the game vs. Everton. Based on tonight's game, I think Roo would have started the game on Sunday. Zlatan scored two and oozed class throughout the game. Ibra's pass that released Valencia before he squared to Martial to score our second was pure class. I like to criticise Ibra because I don't think he works hard enough up front but there's nothing to criticise about his performance tonight. The other pair that formed the front quartet were absolutely brilliant. Mkhitaryan showed that he can play very well against a Premier League team after last weekend's poor cameo. I expect him to start against Everton. Tonight we saw why we paid 20 odd million for this guy. Great movement and passes and he also managed to get 2 assists. Only thing missing was a goal. Finally, I hope that this game kickstarts Martial's season. The Frenchman was a constant thorn in West Ham's side. He ran at the Hammers' defenders and caused them all sorts of trouble, that's something I want to see him do more often. Defenders hate it when players run with great speed at them. With the speed he possesses, Martial should be causing havoc to all PL defenders.
As for the other players, I honestly don't think any of our outfield (De Gea made a bit of a howler today but I'll forgive him for that) players put a foot wrong. I have no idea what happened to Jones and Rojo but I like it. They've been really good and seem to be playing with so much confidence, obviously helped by a good run of games. Smalling and Bailly will probably find it more difficult than they thought to get back into the side. Jones and Rojo are two player's I wouldn't have minded if they left last summer. I didn't think they are Man Utd material but they've done a lot of good things lately to make me think about it. Still a lot to prove though. To be fair to Rojo, he had to play a lot of games at full-back which is not his natural position.
Both Herrera and Carrick were really quiet but they did what they had to do efficiently. Herrera did well to set up Ibra for our fourth. However, the players in front of them stole the show and that's why it seems that we saw very little from both Michael and Ander. Shaw was having a decent game before he went out due to injury. Blind, Shaw's replacement, had a good half too. Valencia was very good too, he has probably been one of our best players this season.
Finally, it was a great sight to see Schweinsteiger have some minutes at Old Trafford again. Mourinho's brutal treatment of the player was well documented but I kind of understand our manager. If Basti is not in his plans then there's no point in giving him hope by letting him get close to the squad. Having said that, his treatment was a bit humiliating and I think the situation could have been handled better. Tonight's appearance was probably Basti's last one in United's red. His recent inclusion in the squad is nothing but a tactic to get him sold in January. But what a reception he got by the Old Trafford crowd. You couldn't wipe Basti's smile off his face. A legend who regrettably came to Old Trafford 3 years too late.
It's great to be in the semis of this cup. There are obviously better competitions to compete in but we know that a win in any cup competition can be a springboard to better things and at the end of the day a piece of silverware is always a piece of silverware so I'm glad Mourinho has gone all out to win this competition. We will now face Hull in the semi finals. I would be lying if I said I don't expect us to progress to the final at Wembley. If the favourites (us and Liverpool) win their semi finals, then we've got a spectacle to look forward to. This result has brought back a bit of a feel-good factor. Let's hope this feeling isn't shot down at the weekend. Let's hope we get some consistency in front of goal and finish teams off like we did today. Just think about where we'd be if we actually finished our chances in the PL........ oh well.
Come on United!