Makeshift United side shine against Arsenal; Manchester United 2 Arsenal 0

United took on Arsenal in the FA cup quarter final with the prospect of Wembley beckoning for the winning side. With Arsenal’s exit from the champions league, and failure to win the league cup final against Birmingham, the FA cup remained one of only 2 bits of silverware available to Arsene Wenger’s side in a season that promised so much. Despite still sitting at the top of the table, United had struggled of late, after back to back defeats to both Liverpool and Chelsea, and were keen to get back to winning ways with the second leg of their champions league last 16 tie against Marseille next up. It’s fair to say that in recent years United have taken the FA cup somewhat lightly, with Fergie often playing significantly weakened sides, however an injury crisis in the midfield forced what was a surprising United line up, with the Da Silva twins utilised in an offensive capacity in midfield whilst being supported by Gibson, O Shea and Rooney.

A wounded Arsenal side began the game with real intent, typically passing the ball around with purpose and precision keeping United pegged back in their own half. Yet the criticism that Arsenal lack real cutting edge was again applicable in this instance, as Vidic and Smalling demonstrated their ability to contain what was relatively toothless pressure. As the game wore on, United began to assert their own style onto the game, with the Da Silva twins showing real promise in the final third of the pitch and putting the Arsenal defence under pressure, preventing them from playing the ball from deep comfortably. And it was United’s young twins who began and finished United’s opener, after some tidy build up play by Rafael and Wayne Rooney, Hernandez’s diving header could only be palmed into the path of Fabio who slid home his second goal of the season. United were now in the ascendancy, with Arsenal looking somewhat shellshocked as yet another trophy appeared to be slipping away from them.

United began the second half by welcoming back Antonio Valencia from his long term injury sustained early in the season against Rangers as they looked to build on a solid first half performance. Rafael was moved into the centre of midfield to accommodate this personnel change, it it brought immediate results as 5 minutes after the restart, the Brazlian shimmied his way down the right hand side crossing to Hernandez who’s blocked effort was nodded home by Wayne Rooney at the back post. The goal came seconds after Edwin Van Der Sar sensationally denied Laurent Koscielny’s effort with a diving save, the first of many crucial interventions throughout the match. The dutchman was again called into action with the clock ticking down, as Marouane Chamakh glanced a header towards goal forcing Van Der Sar into a fine diving save, and again seconds later as he parried Rosicky’s strike preventing a tense finale for the reds.

However United were not merely sitting back and absorbing Arsenal pressure, posing a significant threat on the break with Rooney, Hernandez and the newly introduced Giggs in particular keeping Wenger’s side on their toes. Hernandez was denied a well deserved goal twice in the last 10 minutes, firstly by Johan Djourou who’s last gasp challenge prevented the Mexican, and then by Manuel Almunia in the last minute of stoppage time, who smothered a shot from close range. A sorry looking Arsenal never looked like breaking down a resolute United defence, and the reds secured a meeting against Manchester City at Wembley in what is sure to be a classic encounter. With United competing with Arsenal for the premier league title, this victory sends out an important message and could prove to be psychologically significant come the end of the season, as Wenger’s side looked to be broken mentally at full time with their season unfolding before them. United on the other hand still remain in the hunt for 3 pieces of silverware, and with a little bit of luck, this could be another historic one for the club.

About Steve Ferguson 886 Articles
Steve Ferguson had taken over & re-branded The Faithful MUFC website back in the summer of 2014 and is now the owner and editor of the site. Steve, from Ashton-Under-Lyne in Greater Manchester, is a 35-year-old life long Manchester United fan, travelling over the globe to see the Reds play. Steve has been lucky enough to be at both the 1999 and 2008 Champions League finals, seeing Manchester United lift the biggest trophy in the World, none more exciting than that faithful night in Barcelona in 99. The website is a blog, but also hopes to deliver the latest Manchester United news from around the internet too, linked up with our growing twitter account which is @TheFaithfulMUFC, give it a follow as we will follow you back as soon as we can.


  1. Good read, and fair.The things I took from the weekend in full, we are not as weak as i intially suspected, and Sir Alex has a trick up his sleeve.Arsenal capitulate as normal, and fail to rise to the occasion.Sir alex through the week, built up a seige mentality, that the players bought into.
    We have more strength in depth than I thought.Although I still believe, we are weak in midfield up against top oppposition, I hope I am proved wrong.Barcelona were held to a draw tonight to Sevilla, so it can be done.Fail Arsenal, complete fail.Jaysus it was Sevilla.
    Mancini after the match at Wastelands, still complains my players are tired after their trip to Kiev, diddums.Its the same for all top teams, grow a pair Mancini( half a billion pounds spent)?,I want Stoke or Bolton in the final.Sir Alex will never allow them their first cup in 35 years, never!
    Its forward thinking, we will eat City alive on the expansive space of Wembley.
    The other “Historic one” I see we are all happy reds and rightly so, it was a great weekend.
    From depression of Chelsea and Liverpool, there is a light, I often think we forget who our manager is and question his judgement.I think thats a huge error.
    Anyhow excuse if this comes across wrong, I prefer to watch football rather than write about it.
    Can you imagine, I am watching Dundee United v Motherwell in Scotland.
    Sad or what, but you got to keep your eyes on the up coming talent. LOL
    Keep it Red.

  2. Arsenal were all over Man HOOF, the long ball merchants from Salford could barely get the ball off them, and were just Hoofing it up the pitch as per usual totally reliant on lucky bounces and jammy deflections, Man Hoof the worlds most overrated and lucky team Pox another jammy win, Arsenal seemingly not taking the easy steps needed to beat the Hoof, as shown again by Liverpool, tackle the Salford Hoofers hard and attack…..and watch them fall to pieces.

  3. @Ste did you watch the game? your thought out analysis impresses.It was not a question of “Hoofing” it was Manchester United at their finest , fast counter attacking football.Not the Arsenal, tippy tapping around the box for a intricate pass through the United defence which was imagining your Barcelona.
    Jammy wins are achieved bye winners? Still sticking with Arsene Wenger, you will be one of the few.
    Small team, small team mentality.

  4. Very enjoyable and fair match report.
    Players seemed to want to win this game, as much for themselves as for Sir Alex and the fans. If they keep showing this level of commitment till the end of the season, we might be smiling broadly when trophies are being handed out.

    Keep up the good work, and COME ON UNITED!!!

  5. Ste’s assessment shows a wonderful lack of knowledge or brain power. Yes Uniteds game is longer than Arsenal’s but as ive said before i have no interest in my team playing 30 crafted 5 yard passes to then not go and score. We soaked up alot of Arsenals play with a fanastic defensive display by Smalling and Vidic…and we did them on the counter…as we have done them exactly the same before.

    It was EXACTLY the sort of performance we needed. Great display…and the Treble still on.

  6. I was sincerely shocked when I saw the twins were lined up on the wings, but they did not disappoint and we need to thank VDS as well for keeping arsenal out, as they had some dangerous situations as well. Hopefully we’ll beat city as well to proceed to the final.

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