Arsenal scored an emphatic victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford and reached the semifinals of the FA Cup.
With the two old rivals going through not so great times, the magic of an FA Cup encounter was certain to spice things up, as this was the only realistic competition that either team could win this season. There were tackles, goals, end to end stuff all through the match and here are 5 things we learnt from the game.
Both teams have lost bite
Games between Manchester United and Arsenal in the past meant that there was sure to have some controversy or at least some really tough tackles from both sides to try and gain control of the game. But yesterdaya s match was neither, with both teams being far too nice to each other. It may have been a clean game to watch, but there is no longer that oomph factor that comes from a game between the two, the sense that something is simmering underneath and it is going to burst out anytime during the game. However, this game was only about how Arsenal havena t won a game at Old Trafford in more than 8 years, and that was the only storyline worth talking about.
Big game Santi Cazorla
If there has been one revelation this season for Arsenal, it has been the immense form of Santi Cazorla. While he always had the flair and technique that a player of Arsenal needed, he lacked tenacity and strength to ward off challenges. However, this season, he has been excellent in the midfield, and especially in big games he has been instrumental in taking the pressure of his defenders. Cazorla has shown great strength and intelligence to take the ball out of the danger zone and start a counter attack, and it has been of immense value in big games such as Manchester City and Manchester United.
Hard working Mesut Ozil
For throughout his time at Arsenal, the one accusation that has been leveled at Mesut Ozil has been that he does not seem to work hard during the game. While his talent and intelligence is unquestioned, most fans and pundits have questioned his desire while on the field. The fans certainly wanted to see a more active Ozil during games, especially in the big matches. The performance against United was one that ticked all the boxes for Arsenal fans, with the German even making a couple of tackles after losing the ball. Fans would certainly be happy to see more of this side of Ozil, and it will also benefit the team as a whole.
a Welbz is that guy!a
When Danny Welbeck was sold to Arsenal in the summer, there were quite a few fans, pundits and former players that were surprised by the move. However, manager Louis van Gaal brushed away any concerns by claiming that Welbeck was not of the quality that he wanted at the club. Those words have come back to haunt the manager as it was Danny Welbeck who capitalized on Valenciaa s error and scored the winner for Arsenal that knocked out his old club. Welbeck would have certainly wanted to prove a point to those at Old Trafford who thought he wasna t quite the finished product they wanted, and with the winning goal, he certainly let his feet do the talking.
Brilliant Refereeing performance
More often than not, the only reason referees get talked about after a game is if they did a howler that cost one of the teams the game or a player got suspended. While Angel Di Maria was certainly shown the red card, for a change was praised all round for taking decisive decisions which turned out to be correct in most cases. Michael Oliver, with the help of his linesmen was on top of the game at all times, and despite the match being played at Old Trafford, he wasna t worried about showing yellow cards for simulation to Manchester United players. He had an all round good game, proving that having a referee controversy free football match is entirely possible if the man in the middle knows what he is doing and has the courage to take tough decisions.