Thursday, 1 December 2016

Mikki and Martial shine as United put Hammers to the sword

That was more like it.

United's performance against West Ham in the quarter-final on Wednesday was the most stylish, complete and impressive performance by a United side since the retirement of Sir Alex.

Not that we've been playing badly this season, indeed we've been threatening a result like that all campaign, but it all came together magnificently.
It was surely a showing not far off our best and the target now is to replicate our cup form in the Premier League. 

United - inspired by tormentors in chief Anthony Martial and man of the match Henrikh Mkhitaryan - were a scintillating mix of purposeful, pacy, powerful and potent.
After the turgid toil and woeful wins under Louis van Gaal, it really was a joy to watch and the players looked like they were enjoying themselves again. 

Don't tell me about how West Ham weren't bothered, that the League Cup lacks prestige and should be discarded, or that United should be setting their ambitions higher.
We'd all love a league title but we haven't had one for three years and any trophy is worth winning, no matter what other fans might think. 

The 4-1 win took us into the semi-finals and, "Mickey Mouse Cup" or not (isn't it odd how fans that call it that are the ones that saw their team knocked out ages ago), we're two games away from another Wembley final.
Jose has won this tournament three times as a manager across his two spells at Chelsea, and showed how highly he values it by naming his strongest side - bar Mata, Pogba and Bailly - on Wednesday.

The manager may have been absent from the touchline but he would have loved what he saw against the Hammers.

 Martial rediscovered his form of last season and his well-taken brace of goals will have done him the world of good, while Mkhitaryan carried on where he left off against Feyenoord. 

He showed that he simply has to start every game with another impressive performance of touch, skill, vision and movement that saw him claim two assists and almost score himself.

Why he hasn't started regularly before now is beyond me but Jose cannot continue to ignore the Armenian box of tricks after this. 

There were other excellent performances too.

Wayne Rooney, fuelled by the angry injustice of recent speculation, looked like the player of old and Ibrahimovic was also back to not far off his best with his two goals adding to a superb all-round performance.

Zlatan showed that he is not only a prolific goalscorer, but that he can also orchestrate from deep, as he did on several occasions with the Reds front six interchanging fluidly throughout. 

Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo have had their fair share of criticism but both did their jobs well and Basti's late cameo - an occasion we never thought we'd see again - was the icing on the cake. 

It was a wonderful ending to a good night all round. 

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