This years 4th tie against the Champions Elect (beats Birmingham !) was supposed to be a dead rubber as far as I was concerned. Sam had loads of defenders out. We can beat Wembley bound Wigan at the weekend to stay up, and Man U can do pretty much what they want to win the title.
So I was surprised to see Winston Reid back in the team, and Noble on the bench. Still one up top , but hey ho. Man U played probably their strongest available team as well, with both Ferdinand and Vidic, and Rooney and Van Persie starting.
Talking of Rooney, you can tell what sort of game he will have within 3 minutes of kick off, and this was not going to be one to build his legacy. In fact he was awful, and my xmas prediction of him leaving this summer is starting to look nailed on. His attitude is all wrong for starters.
WHU were on top for a change from the off. The midfield seem to flow into attack nicely, and Jarvis was seeing plenty of the ball. RVT wasn’t but no issue there. United seemed to be taking it in their stride, but the did look frail.
I seem to be on the only one who spotted RVT drift in from the outside right to get on the end of Carroll’s flick on the open the scoring on 16 minutes.
And still WHU looked comfortable. But being WHU you just knew something was going to happen, and just before half time they all switched off, for United to put 3 or 4 perfect balls together, and end up with Valencia getting the equaliser. Just before the break was the only contentious point of the match (for me – see later), Rooney and Carroll had some handbags before a corner which the ref stopped. Carroll reacted when the corner was taken, by bludgeoning through both De Gea and Evra. Most odd behaviour. And no punishment.
I assume this was pointed out at half time, because early into the second half De Gea and big Andy both went for a ball which the Spaniard won but then dragged Carroll for about 10 feet by his neck before dumping him on the floor. Yellow Card for carroll, obviously !.
This spurred on Andy, he then tried a cheeky one from about 30 yrds out that went close, and then he won to ball for Diame to roast the poor Rooney and blast in a 20 yarder to give the Hammers the lead again in the 55th minute.
Rooney was subbed for Giggs and Sam decided to Sub off our midfield (because this worked so well against Liverpool !). Giggs and Kagawa were linking up well (until the little fella was subbed off for the other little fella Hernandez), and pressure was piling on WHU, and resulted with 14 mins to go an equaliser for United after Kagawa managed to hit James Collins and both posts with RVP netting the follow up. Apparently he was offside but in true Arsene style i have not seen it, so only one bit of contention for me tonight. We tried our best in the last 20 minutes to throw it away but eventually got it over the line and another point on the board and our second 2-2 against Man U this season.
The score was about right, with Jussi making some world class saves (as usual at the moment), and no one goes home unhappy, unless you count me queuing nearly 20 mins for a tube, while watch plonkers jump over fences and stewards doing nothing at all.
MOTM, could of been James Collins early on, Carroll for his effort, Jussi for the saves, but this time I’ll go for Diame, as he scored a screamer, kept most of the Man U midfield quiet all night (until subbed), and had he stayed on i think we might have edged it. Still not happy with BFS playing RVT but he scored tonight so what do i know !