1. Well, that was piss easy, wasn’t it? Hmm. What should have been a walk in the part for United following the first half was worryingly more difficult than it needed to be, but we got the result and that’s all that matters. United have knocked our local rivals, our noisy neighbours, and current holders, Manchester City, out of the FA Cup at their own ground. Good day to be a red.
2. After absorbing a lot of pressure from City in the first ten minutes, United were the first to score after a great attack. A perfect ball in from Antonio Valencia found Wayne Rooney’s head and left the keeper with no chance. It was very 2009-2010, when these two combined all the time. Rooney ran away kissing his badge following a week when the papers have claimed he’s looking for a move away from the club again. In his post-match interview, after being named Man of the Match, he again reiterated that these stories were nonsense and that he wanted to stay at United for a long time.
3. Danny Welbeck made as much impact as Rooney up front though, putting United 2-0 up with a superb goal. Like plenty of reds, whilst recognising Welbeck would get a Premier League career, I used to wonder whether he had the ability to make it at United. He’s quality and I love watching him play. It was his run in to the box which won us the decisive penalty, getting his toe to the ball just before he was brought down. Rooney’s execution was poor but he did really well to then head past the diving keeper. Seeing local lad Danny play such an important role in a Cup derby, scoring a goal like that and winning the penalty, is what makes us dreamy about football. It’s also a sight that City fans won’t ever get to enjoy.
4. Darren Fletcher, Tom Cleverley, Will and Michael Keane and Ashley Young were all in the away end today. As well as Welbeck, we had Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes on the pitch, and then Jonny Evans on the bench. In contrast, City, the supposed proper Mancunian’s team, only had Micah Richards, a Brummie who spent his youth at Leeds and Oldham’s academies before joining City (and Oldham still have a 20% sell on clause for him). Makes you proud eh.
5. The sending off has been described as a “contentious decision” which I find fairly baffling. Kompany had both feet of the ground, studs up, and scissored the ball away from Nani, who had to get out of the way. No doubt that he won the ball but anyone complaining about the decision should probably read the Laws of the game. You don’t have to actually break a player’s leg with a dangerous challenge to be sent off. But maybe we shouldn’t let facts get in the way of an ickle City cry off. If Rooney had made a challenge like that, not a single journalist would be fighting his corner. They would say he lost his head and it was just good fortune he didn’t cause any damage. It was a clear sending off, just as Evans’ was at Old Trafford in the league game. The only big decision Chris Foy got wrong was not awarding a penalty to United at 3-1 when Antonio Valencia was brought down in the box.
6. The story that distracted everyone away from the Manchester derby this morning was Paul Scholes returning to the United squad. Insane. After not playing football for 8 months, Scholes came on with half an hour to play and did a good job. According to Opta Stats, Scholes made 71 passes in that time, completing 97% of them, which was more than any City player in the entire game.
7. Lots of fans were singing the praises of Anders Lindegaard ahead of the Newcastle game, hailing his cleansheets record and saying he was a better keeper than David de Gea. What these people were ignoring is that Lindegaard had played against average sides, whilst de Gea had already made class saves against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. There wasn’t anything Lindegaard could have done against the three goals against Newcastle but he failed his first big test today. He looked nervous and rattled for much of the game. The Aguero goal was an easy save which he fumbled. Ferguson has now set us up nicely for a repeat of Tim Howard/Roy Carroll shambles, where we play one keeper until they fuck up, then drop and swap them, meaning both keepers have shattered confidence and give nervy performances.
8. The game should not have been that difficult. Both the manager and Rooney conceded we took our foot off the gas. We had gone in 3-0 up at half time playing against ten men and maybe they could be forgiven for thinking it would be plain sailing in the second half. In contrast to United, when we went down to ten men, City went for an entirely defensive approach, and it was successful. They brought off their most exciting attacking players, Silva and Johnson, and replaced them with two defenders. A set piece and a good break allowed City back in the game. We should never have been in that situation though. It was really frustrating not to go out and batter them. Essentially though, who gives a fuck? I don’t. We won the game and I couldn’t care less if we did that on the back of City having ten stonewall penalties denied, Anderson scoring with his arse, and Rooney avoiding a booking for snapping Hargreaves’ leg. If there’s fuss made about the sending off, so be it, but it’s irrelevant. We won the game and we’re through to the next round. City lost and they’re out. Well done United.