K Appiah Boakye Frimpong gives us his expert analysis on the Semi Final of the FA Cup played at Wembley:
It was a pure Manchester United moment when Anthony Martial scored the winner in the final moment of the game. A scrum ensued of players and supporters, delirious and ecstatic. A match of two different halves in which United enjoyed most of the possession, created lot of chances but failed to make them count in the first half whilst Everton took over in the second half. A game that I thought was heading to extra time because Roberto Martinez’s side had managed to hold Manchester United for ninety minutes. Unfortunately, they fell at the final hurdle. Wayne Rooney will finally have the chance to win the trophy which has eluded him in his career.
Four things we learned from the match:
Roberto Martinez’s approach to the game
Martinez proved to his owners why he should be sacked from his post. The Everton manager has a history of approaching big games badly. He repeated the same tactics that had failed him throughout the season. Playing long balls to Lukaku for him to use his aerial ability and flick the ball to surrounding teammates has been the basics of Martinez’s tactics and approach to games. In my previous article I made mention of Martinez’s over-reliance on Lukaku. When he decided to change his game plan in the second half by pressing United and making good use of the pace of Deulofeu and Barkley, Everton played well till the end when Martial scored the heartbreaking goal- the cake wasn’t worth the candle. After the game Martinez said, “There signs I’ve earned the chance to drive Everton forward”. Although Roberto Martinez enjoyed a good first season at Everton, he shouldn’t use his first season success as a yardstick to show he does not deserved to be sacked. Football is an unforgiving job and the fans have got brain like a sieve. The semifinal loss was the final nail in the coffin.
Daley Blind playing as a centre back.
The season has been a topsy-turvy for Manchester United but some positive notes have to be taken. It was clear Louis Van Gaal had plans to play Daley Blind as a center back this season. He faced barrage of criticism from the fans and the media. A league which is full of powerful and pacey strikers. The main reason for the criticism was Daley Blind did not have the strength, power and pace to handle these strikers. Strength, power and pace aren’t the only qualities which a player needs to become a good center back in the premier league.
Intelligence, vision, and awareness have been the reason behind that- Blind has all the three qualities in droves. Defenders like John Terry and Gary Cahill are often heralded for heroic blocks or last-ditch sliding tackles but the very best defenders are those who can anticipate and get themselves into the right place at the right time without the need to their shorts dirty. It’s more difficult to see, but it’s a much more valuable attribute in the end.
I believe this has been one the best decisions LVG has made during his time at Old Trafford and one of the reasons why Manchester United have kept the most clean sheets in the premier league this season.
Always choose players against their former teams.
Fellaini opened the scoring for United against Everton on Saturday. It’s always written in the scripts and football’s hand of fate always dictate that players perform a key role in games against their old clubs. It was Fellaini on this occasion. Everton fans booed him from the beginning of the game and it probably gingered him to prove a point. Although he’s unpopular among the United fans, he gives the team presence and physical edge. Fellaini can be useful sometimes.
Herrera is LVG’s game changer
When Ander Herrera came in for Fellaini on the 86th minute, I thought it was a substitution for the extra time but he made a sudden impact. He pulled back Ross Barkley’s shirt to obstruct him surging forward during a fast break that would’ve definitely led to the winning goal. Herrera yet again teed up Anthony Martial to score the heartbreaking winner. Ander Herrera really worth his weight in gold.
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