Manchester United have confirmed their place in the final of the FA Cup, a fantastic achievement for Louis Van Gaal and his side. The Dutchman will be hoping for cup success against Crystal Palace, which would be his first honour as United’s manager.
The Red Devils had a fantastic first half, despite a slow start to the game. Marouane Fellaini opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark, and following the goal it was quite a shock that United didn’t take their chances to kill the game off. They were eventually punished for their wastefulness, with Everton equalising through a Chris Smalling own goal.
An Anthony Martial winner in the dying moments of the game sent Manchester United into the final, and the fans understandably went absolutely mental.
Here’s four things we learnt from the game:
1) Wayne Rooney succeeding in midfield role
The captain’s first games in the midfield role were against Aston Villa and Crystal Palace which were easy, but facing Everton in the semi-final was obviously going to be a big test for him. He did very well in the deeper role though, and showed once again that he’s well suited to playing further back. He also saved Manchester United a few minutes into the game, preventing Romelu Lukaku’s effort with a superb goal-line clearance.
A few minutes after his goal-line clearance, he created a great chance with a fantastic through ball for Jesse Lingard, which was unfortunately saved by the goalkeeper. Overall Rooney dictated play and controlled everything on the pitch, showing he still has a big role to play even if it’s not in his favoured striker’s role.
2) Rashford is a rare talent
Despite Marcus Rashford not getting a goal today, the future is definitely bright for the youngster, and he is very different to many other strikers we’ve seen. The 18-year-old has been impressive when it comes to leading the line, which is’t normally an easy job for a striker – especially at such a young age. The Everton defenders did enough to stop him from scoring, but at times the striker was too much for the Toffees to handle.
With Rashford putting in performances like these week in and out, it definitely keeps Anthony Martial on the left, which is a good thing. It has also kept Rooney out of his preferred role, which has turned into a real positive. With Rashford turning into a vital part of United’s attack, it won’t be boring anymore – which was the main criticism directed at the team last season.
3) Fellaini had his say
It’s been tough for Marouane Fellaini since leaving Everton, as at Manchester United he hasn’t proved a perfect match and fans have shown signs of frustration whenever he plays. But things have slightly changed, and Fellaini in a 4-3-3 formation has been very effective and caused a lot of problems for the opponents.
It was definitely a hard match for him to focus, especially with Everton fans booing him throughout the game. But the Belgian was out to prove a point, handing United the lead in the 34th minute of the game – which silenced the Everton fans inside Wembley stadium.
4) Louis van Gaal could be leaving with success
It’s been reported by every media around the world that Louis Van Gaal won’t be managing Manchester United next season (via The Sun), so success in the FA Cup would be a good going away present for the Dutchman. With Man United looking likely to narrowly miss out on the top four, FA Cup success could be the only thing to save van Gaal, and even that might not be enough.
With Manchester United just one step away from a trophy after a long barren spell, it would be a fantastic moment for the fans to witness success. The fact they haven’t won the FA Cup since 2003-04 would make the victory even sweeter, but against seemingly lesser opposition, a loss would be all the more disappointing. Everyone will have different views about van Gaal’s time at the club, but they will agree on how frustrating he was when it came to key choices he made.