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FA Cup Quarter Final: Arsenal notch up well-deserved win over Man United to advance to the semis

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Arsenal notched up a 2-1 win over hosts Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter final tie between the sides, to remain on course for a second FA Cup triumph in as many years.

The match started with both sides jostling for possession, with Alexis Sanchez threatening with his run-ins and forcing two blocks from the Red Devils right at the start. Just moment later, Hector Bellerin was booked for a clumsy challenge on Ashley Young; however, Wayne Rooney couldn’t make much out of the resulting free kick.

 

 

The sides tried to pile the pressure on each other – United, with their possession game, and Arsenal, with their pressing gameplay – but none of them could create any noteworthy chances until the 20th minute, when the Red Devils had an opportunity to score. Marouane Fellaini received a ball in the Gunners’ box and controlled it well, before passing it to Young, who shot it wide of the goal.

The breakthrough for the visitors came in the 25th minute when Mesut Ozil passed the ball to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who skilfully dribbled past 3 Man United defenders before passing the ball to Nacho Monreal, with the Spaniard having no trouble nudging it past David de Gea.

However, if Arsenal’s strike silenced the home support, Wayne Rooney gave them a reason to scream on the top of their voices! Just 4 minutes after Monreal’s shocker, Angel Di Maria supplied an absolutely stunning cross inside the Arsenal D to the Englishman, who rose unmarked between two defenders to head the ball home.

The tempo of the game rose after these 4 moments of absolute brilliance. Arsenal pressed hard to regain a lead in the game, and had a penalty appeal rejected for Marcos Rojo’s shove on ex-United man Danny Welbeck. Just moments later, the Gunners came close to scoring, with Welbeck eliciting a good save from De Gea with a headed effort.

With both the teams giving in their all to get the upper hand in the match, Di Maria had a terrific chance to make it 2-1 for the hosts when Rooney supplied him with a good ball; however, the Argentine took too long and squandered the chance. Just minutes later, the latter took an attempt on the Gunners’ goal following a good long ball from Antonio Valencia, but was denied by a good save from Szczesny.

The game continued with Fellaini and Sanchez, both having decent chances to score from, but the half ended with neither side suffering any more damage.

The start of the second half saw the Red Devils making two changes – Phil Jones and Michael Carrick for Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera. Rojo was moved to the left back position, with Jones being deployed at the heart of the defence. And just minutes from the restart, Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered a hamstring pull, and was substituted by Aaron Ramsey.

Arsenal had a chance to go ahead in the 52nd minute when Santi Cazorla gained possession of the ball after a Chris Smalling error. The Spaniard passed the ball to Sanchez, whose deflected shot was saved comfortably by De Gea.

The tempo of the game seemed to have subsided in the second half a bit, with Fellaini and Young also getting booked for clumsy challenges. Arsenal continued to press and they got the lead once again when Danny Welbeck, who otherwise had a not-so-impressive night, made the most out of a horrible backpass from Antonio Valencia, and dodged a tackle by De Gea before scoring in an empty net.

Once again, 4 minutes later, the Red Devils had a chance to equalize, this time through Smalling, but the Englishman shot above the crossbar from just 4 yards out.

United tried hard to get back into the game, but Arsenal ensured they kept heaping pressure on their opponents. Sanchez continued to trouble the hosts with his creative play, and Cazorla had a good volleyed attempt on target, which was saved by a world-class piece of goalkeeping by De Gea.

Meanwhile, another shocker for United came in the 76th minute when Di Maria, who was having a great game till then, was booked by referee Michael Oliver for diving. However, the Argentine went too far with his protest against the decision by pulling the back of the referee’s shirt, which resulted in his subsequent sending off.

The hosts kept on trying desperately to pull a goal back, but their attempts seemed to be coming to nothing, with the visitors defending well. Towards the latter stages, the hosts again saw a booking, with Adnan Januzaj getting a yellow card for simulation this time. Arsenal, for that matter, also had a chance to make it 3-1 towards the end through Sanchez, but De Gea kept the ball out once again with a marvellous save.

United’s ousting from the FA Cup means that the Red Devils now have practically no chance of winning any trophy this season. On the other hand, Arsenal advance to the semi-finals, and will meet the winner of the Bradford City-Reading replay next.

Teams:

Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Rojo (Januzaj 73'), Shaw (Jones 45'), Blind, Herrera (Carrick 45'), Di Maria, Fellaini, Young, Rooney

Substitutes - Valdes, Rafael, Jones, Carrick, Januzaj, Mata, Falcao

Arsenal: Szczesny, Bellerin (Chambers 66'), Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Ramsey 51'), Ozil, Alexis, Welbeck (Giroud 74')

Substitutes - Martinez, Gibbs, Chambers, Ramsey, Giroud, Walcott, Akpom

Final Score: Manchester United 1 (Rooney 29′) – 2 Arsenal (Monreal 25′, Welbeck 61′)