Sunday, April 19, 2009

United v Everton: Will quintuple talk end today?...

With the danger of being branded as the dark lord of negativity or else the voice of doom, like several media pundits I have a nagging feeling that today could be the day that talk of winning the quintuple finally comes to an abrupt end. So why exactly do I feel that it might well be an Everton v Chelsea FA Cup Final?

The answer is quite simple, I believe that the Toffees will have two advantages going into the semi-final; United will undoubtedly be the more fatigued of the two teams having played in the Champions League in midweek, true enough Fergie will ring the changes in midfield and probably at the back too.

The question is will the United manager risk playing Rio Ferdinand again just a few days after the trip to Oporto? The England defender has just returned to action after being out injured with a groin injury and the club cannot afford to lose him for the League game at Old Trafford with Portsmouth on Wednesday, because as we saw against Porto, as good as Jonny Evans undoubtedly is, the partnership of Ferdinand and Vidic is tried and trusted.

While Fergie should NOT be taking any chances ahead of the Pompey game, he may well think that he can risk losing to Everton by resting a few players, I for one strongly suspect that for this reason Evans will play from the start and if that is so then United could come under serious pressure from set pieces with Fellaini being an obvious threat in the air.

Whoever Fergie selects at centre half, I'm hoping we see some of United's younger players given a chance today; I'd like to see Rafael play some part along with Macheda - if that happens it will only add to the entertainment factor. Wayne Rooney is expected to miss the semi-final after sustaining a foot injury against Porto, the damage is apparently worse than first thought, but knowing "Wazza" he will demand to play even at the expense of worsening his injury.

The other slight advantage for Everton could be the Wembley turf, which has come in for a degree of criticism following the Arsenal v Chelsea semi-final yesterday. It might well have cost over £750m to build, but the owners of the new Wembley appear to have allowed the state of the pitch to be neglected - at this time of year and given so few games are played on it and with pitch technology today it is nothing short of a disgrace that the turf isn't in perfect condition for a show-piece semi-final.

My head says United should win today, but my doubting inner-self has been nagging me all week telling me it could be Everton's day, I hope my doubting inner-self is wrong.


  1. What a call, what a call. We were denied a clear penalty though. It just wasn't United's day.

    The youngsters did OK, but Welbeck could have done much better than he did, I suppose that's his experience, he should have learned not to make the mistakes he made in posession. In one clear break, he could have simply played it to Berbatov who was in the clear, but he passed to early and it was intercepted.

    It was a scrappy affair, Rafael did well as did Gibson. I think Ferguson just went to his boys and said, you seem to be distracted by all of this 'quintuple' talk, let's see how much you want it. Turns out they didn't want the F.A. Cup as much as Everton did, for Tevez could have had a better match, and United's penalties were simply poor. I think Anderson had a poor match too, and Park shouldn't have been taken off early.

    I don't know, I guess it just wasn't United's day. An F.A. Cup would have been nice, but I'll take the Champions League and Premier League any day, both of which are still greatly in question though.

  2. Uday, I think that best sums it up "it just wasn't United's day".

    I agree with most of your comments, but I thought Anderson ran Vidic close for man of the match.

    I was very upset with Berbatov because that penalty was quite pathetic - I was also upset with his less than successful impact on the game - we looked better with Macheda up front.

    Rio should have done better with that penalty - and if he wasn't confident of scoring - then why step to take one?

    Overall, I have to say it was a bloody bold effort from Fergie and the team and it very nearly paid off. Fergie pretty much got it right on the day selection wise, but IMO he made one big error, Welbeck should have come off and not Macheda.

    I think injuries and Arsenal will have a big say on what happens in the remaining competitions...


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