Manchester United entered in to the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup with a 3-1 win over Peston. It was not as easy for United as the score line would suggest. Preston took the lead early in the second half and gave a big scare to Van Gaal’s side.
Van Gaal then ringed few changes by sending Ashley Young on for Radamel Falcao and switched Marouane Fellaini up front. The changes paid off as Fellaini scored the crucial second goal and Wayne Rooney, who was played as a striker tonight won and scored the third goal for United.
Manchester United are a team which attract a lot of opinions based on their results and performances every single time. There is something or the other which people like to talk about. We look back at United’s win at Preston and bring out some key talking points from the game and give people some more points to discuss involving Manchester United.
Van Gaal’s crucial tactical changes
Manchester United were trailing 1-0 against Preston when Van Gaal had to live up to his credentials as the widely acclaimed manager. The unpredictable Dutch manager made his first and only substitution of the game by bringing Ashley Young for Radamel Falcao. It must have been hard and embarrassing for the Colombian but Van Gaal did what he thought was right for United and certainly it paid off for the Dutch tactician.
Not only Van Gaal sent Young on but he switched from a 4-1-2-1-2 formation to a flat 4-4-2 and played Young from the left and shifted Di Maria on the right, while he decided to play Fellaini up front. For the first United goal, it was Young who provided the key pass to Herrera and for the second and vital breakthrough, it was Fellaini who scored the goal.
Van Gaal was perfect with his changes on the night and probably he now knows how to bring the best out of the players available to him.
Wayne Rooney starts up front and shows what United have been missing
Leading up to the game Van Gaal claimed Rooney is United’s best striker but vowed to play him in the mid field. Van Gaal made a quick U-turn on his promise and played Rooney up front against Preston and we all know what Rooney can do while playing as a striker, pehaps Van Gaal now knows after seeing Rooney’s brilliant game tonight.
Rooney displayed a master class performance on the night. England captain had 60 touches of the ball in all areas of the pitch. Rooney had 2 shots on target (first time in 2015) and it was Rooney who won and scored the penalty (first goal of 2015) to hand United a 3-1 victory on the night and a Quarter Final spot in the FA Cup.
Manchester United were cautious in playing the long balls
Sam Allardyce’s jibe of United being a long ball side has clearly rattled Louis Van Gaal. First he came out to defend his side’s tactics by handing out A4 pamphlets to project his team’s stratigies.
In his 5th round FA Cup tie against Preston we saw Man United players shying away from playing long balls. Even with Marouane Fellaini in the side United did not play enough long balls to support Wayne Rooney and Falcao from the knock downs.
Angel Di Maria and Luke Shaw have been very direct in their crossing this season but we saw a rather methodical approach tonight as United players looked to play the ball on the ground more than going the direct route. Safe to say, Allardyce has clearly managed to get under Van Gaal’s skin.
Time is slipping away for Falcao to perform
Radamel Falcao, one of the star purchases in the summer for Manchester United is slowly getting closer to the exit doors. United were losing 1-0 and Van Gaal decided to replace the prolific goal scorer with Ashley Young.
Manager and the fans are beginning to loose hopes in Falcao who has failed to impress in his time so far at Old Trafford. Tonight could go a long way in sealing his exit from Manchester United in the way he was brought off with United needing goals yet he was not trusted.
Angel Di Maria stars in his preferred position
Since his £59.7 million move to Old Trafford, Angel Di Maria has been constantly evaluated by the fans and critics. Di Maria has enjoyed a rather up and down kind of a season so far. Since his sublime finish in United’s 3-5 defeat against Leicester, the Argentine has seen a decline in terms of his impact on United’s play.
However, in the last 2 games, Di Maria has looked like his old self and part of the reason has been the fact that he has been asked to play in his preferred wide role.
Di Maria was tried by Van Gaal in the Centre Forward and in the attacking mid field roles behind the striker but the move did not work. With Di Maria back in his preferred wide role he certainly looks the player who was bought from Real Madrid.
Blockbuster Quarter Final match on cards
Manchester United and Arsenal are the best performing sides in the history of FA Cup and those two meet yet again in this year’s Quarter Final. Draw for the Quarter Final was made minutes before the Peston – Man United 5th round clash.
Arsenal beat Middlesbrough 2-0 yesterday, while Manchester United saw off Preston with a 3-1 win tonight. It sets up the Quarter Final beautifully between the two giants of the English game. Arsenal are the current holders of the FA Cup and will look to retain it and do it by getting one over their arch rivals. Dates are yet to be announced for the Quarter Finals.
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