Sunday 24 April 2016

Van Gaal's young attack shine again with Rooney supplying the bullets

It was not quite Best, Law and Charlton, but at times in the first half at Wembley, United's youthful attacking trio proved to be unstoppable.

A game that ebbed and flowed superbly throughout was concluded by an injury-time goal from a player whose importance to his club grows by the second.

Step forward Anthony Martial, the latest entry on the roll call of Manchester United caveats.

The young Frenchman's clinically taken strike in the dying embers of the match was wholly deserved. 

Despite Everton's brave and creditable comeback, with Martial in the side the Reds always had a chance.
Together with Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard- who was wasteful but otherwise excellent- Martial was superb all game.

No doubt Louis van Gaal will take credit for their performance, congratulating himself on nurturing their talent and promoting them but at the start of the season it was not their names that he had anticipated seeing on the team sheet, having spent £20 million or so on Memphis Depay.

There is no doubt that the Dutchman has been blessed by their emergence, blessed by their effortless coherence, blessed by their energetic effervescence.
Like all good things in football and indeed in life, it is circumstance and serendipity that helped deliver United's first FA Cup final for nine years.

Not only were the young trio again excellent, so too was the England and United skipper Wayne Rooney.
Van Gaal deserves credit for his deployment of his captain at Wembley: Wazza was simply magnificent in his role as a deep-lying 'quarterback'.

His intelligence and quick-witted reading of the game allowed him to exploit the pace of those in front of him- there was no issue with his own physicality, when he could exploit the speed and verve of the younger legs ahead of him.  

Rooney was providing the ammunition for United's armoury to do the majority of the damage in the first half.
His work rate, energy and sense of responsibility were exemplary- typified by his incredible goal-line thwarting of Romelu Lukaku in the opening minutes. 

Louis van Gaal must have run out of ways to thank his Spanish stopper after the number of times De Gea has maintained his manager in his job this term.

But even by his standards, that penalty save was extraordinary and possibly his best to date in a United shirt.

This brilliant game probably, in truth, deserved extra-time, but then came a goal worthy of a return here in May.

Que sera sera! 

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