Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Review on Manchester United performance V/S Arsenal, 1-2, FA cup Quarter Final, 10 March, 2015"

(Pre-match) It's 12.55 AM and I'm waiting to watch the FA quarter final match between Manchester United and Arsenal. The match will start at 1:15 AM IST. 

 Manchester United starting eleven are: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Rojo, Shaw, Blind, Herrera, Di Maria, Fellaini, Young, Rooney. Subs: Valdes, Rafael, Jones, Carrick, Januzaj, Mata, Falcao. 

Arsenals starting eleven are: Szczesny, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Sanchez, Welbeck. Subs: Martinez, Gibbs, Chambers, Ramsey, Giroud, Walcott, Akpom.

(Review log time: 4:00 AM) The match has ended and I hope most of you have also enjoyed the match although United lost 1-2 with the winner goal scored by former United player Welback. The first half display was one of the best first half since the 5-3 lost to Leicester City in September 2014. The intensity and pace of United attack in the first half was good. And right after the Arsenal first goal by Monreal, the goal from Rooney was absolutely one those United moments hitting back immediately.

But all the attacking display of first half was undone by the substitution in the second half. Ander Herrera replacement by Carrick was not a smart move from Van Gaal. With Carrick, you can hold the ball in centre effectively but it affected the pace of United attack. I thought if United were leading then Carrick introduction would have justified. Herrera is one kind of midfielder who lurks behind the forward players assisting the attack. Losing Herrera position in second half benefited the Arsenal defensive midfielders as they can focussed more on Fellaini movement.

Obviously when you are playing attacking football, the opponent will always go for the counter-attack. And that was the only real threat from Arsenal. The cautious approach from Van Gaal in second half definitely change the tempo of the match favoring Arsenal. In addition, the sending off of Angel Di Maria was a stab right through the heart with 20 minutes to go. And I do not think he was diving desperately although it was a needless yellow card from the referee. Of course, there was some slight contact from Ramsey but not substantial. But the reaction of Maria against the referee at that moment was definitely uncalled for. I’m really sorry for him and I hope he will come back stronger.

Valencia did well monitoring in Alexis Sanchez movement and he comfortably kept Alexis at bay throughout the match. In fact Van Gaal was right to say Valencia was the best player in the field except for the error. It was just a terrible back pass leading to Welbeck scoring the winning goal for Arsenal. This is the very reason why the fans are right in booing the back passes. David De Gea, as always kept United in the game till the last minute. The saves of Cazorla and Sanchez are definitely world class and he is already one of the best goalkeepers in the world right now.

Game after game, Fellaini is proving to be a good signing for United. For me, he is back to his best and also the deserving man of the match even though United lost. Every time when the ball is in the air, I always see him winning and holding on to the ball pretty good. He would be really disappointed with the result. However, his compatriot Adnan Januzaj still needs to improve a lot as a winger. He was ineffective from the width play and deserved the booking for stimulation inside the Arsenal box when he could have gone for the shot.

Rooney did OK and scored the equalizer in first half although I still think two strikers up front would have change the game with Fellaini playing just behind them. Ashley Young and De Gea are the only consistent players whereas the defenders needs improvement and they pace up their performance to defend as one unit. The good news is the players are gelling as team when passing the ball and starting to play the attacking football we as a United fans enjoy.

Although disappointed with the quarter final lost as a fan but we can still finish better than Arsenal in the Premier League table and qualify for the Champions league 2015-16. I'm always optimistic as a fan and I'm sure the players will not let down the fans.

I will give the team performance 3 stars out of 5 despite the lost. The next match is on 15 March 2015 (9:30 PM IST). Manchester United V/S Tottemham at Old Trafford.

Thank you.

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