Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney (latching on to a rebound from a Ronaldo shot at goal) in the last 10 minutes saw Manchester United win their 3rd FA Cup tie against Aston Villa.
Good to see United win (as always) and there’s no reason to complain, but this was one of those days where United played averagely and still got through thanks to Ronaldo. The defending was good, not that Aston Villa threatened much (at least not in the second half, where they mounted a siege but rarely troubled the goalkeeper) and with Fabio Capello sitting in the stands Wes Brown and Michael Carrick did fairly little to enhance their chances for a long-term England career.
One incident for me, defined the game far more than the goals – it was Carrick’s double-attempt at the Villa goal after he’d broken through (after the first goal, before the second). He shot from some distance and Carson parried it away – Carrick got to the rebound but with time (a second, but that’s time in football) and space on his side, he shot straight at the keeper. If Michael Carrick ever needed a chance to boost his confidence this was it, but nerves got the better of him.
Carrick’s biggest strength is supposed to be his decision-making – it helps him be such a good passer and it helps him play an anchoring role in midfield despite the fact that he rarely tackles. His decision-making has let him down this season, and it let him down in this game as well. That’s not to say that Anderson is automatically a better choice than Carrick, but Carrick has the experience at the top level to pull himself through his rough patch, he needs to do it this season otherwise there’s a chance he could be shipped out (and I’ll miss him more than most).
Other than that – Brown was average but solid, Park was OK considering he had returned after a long time and Saha was average too. Several fouls on Ronaldo that we didn’t get free kicks for, but that’s par for the course.
Your thoughts on the game? Discuss away folks.
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