Saturday’s FA Cup triumph carried great significance for a club that had seemed to have lost its way.
By Jamie Martin
The way the current season has gone, it is shocking to think that this Manchester United team, after suffering so many embarrassing defeats, is in the FA Cup final. However, based on the recent form and performances of a lineup balanced between experience and potential, it is virtually expectation.
Saturday was a great occasion for Manchester United. It was a game that took away all the bad feelings of failure that the fans, players, and staff have felt all season. It felt like the old times again, the extremely enjoyable moments under Sir Alex Ferguson in which followers of the game were continuously spoiled. It was a game filled with United tradition; youth players all over the pitch performing on the biggest stage.
Yes, the match itself was not all smooth sailing. After an impressive first half effort, the Red Devils failed to capitalize on their momentum and let Everton back into the game. The defense faced enormous amounts of pressure and was luckily bailed out by the heroics of David De Gea. Once Everton leveled the match through a Chris Smalling error, they seemed the more likely of the two sides to go on and win the game.
However, Van Gaal responded properly and brought on Ander Herrera to change things. Though the Spaniard did get booked for a silly challenge on Ross Barkley, he was instrumental in creating the best moment of the match.
United’s rising superstar Anthony Martial, the most expensive teenager on the planet, wiped away months of disappointment with a single flash of brilliance.
It is one of the greatest feelings I have felt as a Manchester United supporter in years. The Premier League title in Ferguson’s last year is up there, but after three seasons of failure this goal was immense.
Yes, it is only the FA Cup semi-final. Yes, Manchester United should be fighting for both the Premier League and Champions League titles. But, with all that has happened in the past few years at the club, all parties involved deserve to celebrate this brilliant win.
“Fergie Time” has become a thing of the past, a distant memory in the minds of supporters who witnessed his greatness. Yet, this piece of history reemerged on Saturday.
Martial, who was arguably the best player on the pitch throughout the entire match, reminded everyone just what it feels like to score in the dying moments of a big match. Sir Alex’s presence was felt at Wembley, both due to his attendance and due to what happened on the pitch.
Not only did United score in “Fergie Time”, they also relied on youth players to get them there. It wasn’t only Martial. Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, and Timothy Fosu-Mensah also played impressive roles in the semi-final.
Manchester United knows youth, and Van Gaal’s faith in these players was proved successful with the result.
The season still is one of true failure, with the top four slipping away, Manchester United is far off from where it should be. There are still difficult times ahead, but right now no one will be thinking of the negative aspects.
A win on May 21st would have a similar impact.