Monday, April 25, 2016

Devils and Eagles

The FA Cup has provided another moment of magic, setting the scene for a showdown between two teams struggling to find form in the Premier League. Both teams need this trophy to gain any success from this season but of course only one can win and I will be making my prediction at the end of this post.

I’ll, quite predictably, start by talking about the once European giants Manchester United. Five years ago, Manchester United finished top of the league, were runners up in the Champions League and were knocked out of the FA Cup semi-finals after a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City.

This season though, after being knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages and struggling to achieve a top four finish, the only solace for the Red Devils would be an FA Cup win. I wanna say “how the mighty have fallen” but they’re in a cup final. I’m a Wednesday fan and the best moment I’ve ever had was us finishing second in League One. Fuck Man United.

After some incredibly boring displays in the league the Busby Babes seem to have come into their own in the FA Cup which surely must spark the debate, “why can’t they do it in the league?”. I personally can’t decide whether it’s because the players can’t be bothered performing in the league or whether Van Gaal is just pinning his hopes (and future) on the FA Cup.

I mean if Van Gaal was just fully focusing on the Cup and letting his League form take a hit, why would he play Fellaini in Manchester United’s biggest game of the season so far? Fair play to the Belgian for scoring but let's be honest, if it's your biggest game and you need someone to boss the midfield as well as provide a goal threat you don’t play Marouane ‘fucking’ Fellaini…

The winning goal was something magic, Martinez has got a lot of work to do if his players let one of Manchester United’s most in form players just run past them. It’s shocking that Martinez gets the blame but it was Deulofeu who didn’t track his runner. Admittedly he’s not known for his defending but it's these kinds of moments where concentration is lacked that see Everton where they are this season…
~ Not that the loss was Deulofeu’s fault, I’ve pointed out enough of Martinez’s flaws though, I thought it would only be fair if I shared the blame once in awhile…~

Lastly I want to talk about the moment that changed the game. David De Gea showing everyone why he is currently the best goalkeeper in England at the moment. It wasn’t a dreadful penalty from Lukaku, a lot of power, not quite in the corner but still enough to beat normal keepers. But De Gea isn’t a normal keeper and managed to get a meaty paw to the spot kick and keep United in it.

This kid needs Champions League football, if Manchester United can’t provide that then he probably should leave. As much as I dislike Man United (and let's face it who doesn’t) I’d be heartbroken if he left simply because I’d only see him pull off class saves once in a blue moon instead of every week on match of the day.

This win might have kept the fans happy for a few days and kept them off the Dutchman’s back. If he manages to take that style of nice play back to the league he might actually save his job...until Mourinho knocks and Van Gaal is shown the boot...

The other finalist is Crystal Palace who, after being fifth at Christmas, find themselves on the brink of a relegation scrap in the Premier League. They definitely don’t want to be amongst teams like Birmingham and Wigan who won a Cup Final only to be relegated the same season.

I’ve already written a blog post about the Eagles where I point out why they are where they are and to make a long story short they’ve lacked a consistent goalscorer and have been incredibly unlucky with injuries.

Losing Bolasie in December meant that they had lost their main creative threat. It’s no coincidence that after he was injured Palace went on a nose dive down the league and find themselves 16th, just a mere 8 points from relegation…

The London club haven't had much luck in front of goal even with Bolasie though, their joint top goalscorers all being on 6 goals each. It say’s something when Bolasie is one of the joint top goalscorers and he has been out for so much of the season.

I also think that Yohan Cabaye hasn’t really been that creative spark the fans were all hoping for when the club broke their transfer record bringing the Frenchman in. He’s played for of a holding role under Pardew which seems to be a waste of his talent. He’s the type of player who can make a bad team a good team and a good team a great team but hasn’t really shown it this season.

Their semi-final game was against Watford and this one literally could’ve been anyones. Watford have enjoyed a good season, there was some talk of them reaching a Europa League spot at points but since then form has dipped off and their top goalscorer Ighalo doesn’t seem to be providing that punch like he did in the first half of the season.

But it seems the Nigerian’s strike partner Troy Deeney would take centre stage, levelling the score with a powerful header after an absolute thundercunt of a finish from Bolasie. After what was an impressive quarter final performance against Arsenal I’m sure The Hornets were expecting to roll Palace over but it turns out Alan Pardew’s side had other ideas.

My favourite goal of the weekend was scored by none other than Connor Wickham (I proper love this kid.) Rising like a chuffing salmon, he powered home a Souare cross in the 86th minute which proved to be the winning goal for his side.

He’s a player for me who has it all, pace, strength, heading ability, can shoot. I just wish he’d show it more! I’m more than sure if Bolasie was fit throughout the entire season this lad would be in double figures as a minimum. I think I’ve said this for the last two seasons about Wickham but next year will be his year...touch wood.

Now it comes down to the big question, who do I think will win? Well as bad as both sides have been in the League this season I’m fully expecting them to turn it on for the FA Cup final. Let’s be honest if any player wasn’t giving 100% in a final then for me they don’t deserve to wear any football shirt.

Taking that into account I’d have to put my money on Manchester United, I think more through habit than actually believing they will definitely beat Crystal Palace. I’ve got a feeling it’ll be close but United will end up wrapping the game up late on through Marcus Rashford…

...Then Rashford will get loads of praise from the press, got to Euro 2016, do nothing, Hodgson will then get the blame for our group stage exit, he’ll get sacked and the FA will give Steve McClaren another try. While all this is going on Marcus Rashford will be getting more famous while his skills halt and he’ll end up finishing his career at Colchester in League Two…

So if you’re reading this Marcus (I know you’re a fan) and you don’t want it to happen then whatever you do, DO NOT score in the last minute against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final this year. To be fair if I was Marcus Rashford reading this I’d probably close the web page and continue counting my fat stacks of cash… oh the joys of being a professional footballer.

~ Anyone who enjoyed this please follow me on Twitter @ThePenaltyKing1 or like me on Facebook at ~

Cheers for reading.

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