Manchester United cruised into the semi-finals of the FA Cup courtesy of a goal in each half, making it a thoroughly miserable couple of weeks for Arsene Wenger who has now seen his side crash out of three competitions in that period.
Mindful of a forthcoming vitally important Champions League tie with Marseille on the horizon, Sir Alex Ferguson made some interesting changes in his starting eleven none more so than in midfield where the central combination of O`Shea and Gibson were joined by our Brazilian boys, Fabio and Rafael. Up front Hernandez was preferred over Berbatov to partner Wayne Rooney.
The action got underway and it became immediately clear that Arsenal had settled the better with the away side having far more of the possession but, in their usual way, failing to make any significant breakthroughs when they hit the penalty area. Whenever any tempting balls were played in the reliable Van der Sar was on hand to deal adequately with any threat.
Despite the early pressure United had a glorious chance to take the lead when Rafael met a cross form Fabio but, wastefully, headed the ball over the bar. Slowly though United were getting into the game and just before the half hour mark went ahead.
Rooney delivered a cross into the box and when Almunia pushed Hernandez`s firm header away there was Rafael lurking to hit the rebound high into the net after a lung busting run to ensure he got there.
United 1 Arsenal 0 (Fabio – 28 minutes)
The goal stunned Arsenal and they carved out two opportunities to equalise but both Van Persie and Nasri could only sit back and admire the brilliance of Edwin Van der Sar.
Half Time – United 1 Arsenal 0
If Arsenal were looking to get back into this game quickly, after the break, their dreams were to last a mere four minutes until United doubled their lead with the goal coming from the head of Rooney. Djourou thought he`d thwarted the attack by blocking a ball in from Hernandez but Rooney was alert enough to loop a daring header that went in just inside the far post.
United 2 Arsenal 0 (Rooney- 49 minutes)
Two goals to the good, Arsenal now knew they had it all to do but United were to stand fast with Van der Sar, once again, pulling off some good stops, saving well a Rosicky drive from twenty yards and a downward header from Chamakh.
With Arsenal pushing forward trying to rescue the game, United could have extended their lead but Almunia did well to deny Hernandez.
Wembley here we come then!
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