Red Devils eliminate Arsenal
Written By: Robert Halter
The two most successful teams in FA Cup history, Arsenal and Manchester United were drawn in the fourth round for a Friday night encounter at the Emirates stadium towards the end of January. In the eleventh minute, Petr Cech blocked a near post strike at him from Paul Pogba, who had combined with Alexis Sanchez. While challenging Jesse Lingard, there was an uncomfortable fall for Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who was taken off for Shkodran Mustafi. On twenty four minutes, Alexandre Lacazette played through Alex Iwobi, whose snap shot was stopped by Sergio Romero. But it was the Red Devils who gained the advantage in the thirty first minute, when Ander Herrera found Romelu Lukaku, who set up Sanchez, and from a difficult angle on the right, Sanchez rounded Cech, and then floated the ball high into the centre of the goal. It was double trouble for Arsenal, when Luke Shaw drove forward before Lukaku provided another assist, as Lingard drilled a right footed shot past Cech, into the bottom right corner, two minutes later. But in the forty third minute, the Gunners pulled a goal back when Iwobi found Aron Ramsey, whose low cross was touched on by Lacazette, as the ball went past Lucas Torreira, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, toe poked the ball into the bottom right corner of an empty net within the six yard box. In first half stoppage time, Ramsey instigated the move and Ainsley Maitland-Niles glided through, before Lacazette’s rising effort was caught by Romero. Going into the half time interval, Lacazette’s pass was put over from Aubameyang, and a cushioned header by Mustafi, went wide of the left post. A minute into the second half from a Maitland-Niles cross, a header by Ramsey, was touched from Romero, onto the top of the bar. Laurent Koscileny got the first caution for pulling down Pogba, but from a direct free kick, Lukaku blazed the ball over, in the fifty fifth minute. An awkward tumble by Koscielny on Lukaku, left the Gunners captain requiring treatment, and Cech took over the captaincy, while Matteo Guendouzi replaced Koscileny, just after Iwobi was taken off for Mesut Ozil. In the sixty seventh minute, through an assist by Aubameyang, the ball was bent high and wide to the right from Ramsey. The Red Devils later brought on Marcus Rashford for Lukaku and Anthony Martial took over from Sanchez. In the seventy third minute, Maitland-Miles supplied Lacazette, whose low strike was fended away by Romero, towards the bottom right corner. In the eighty second minute, after Ozil’s stray ball, Pogba marched through from inside his own half, before unleashing a low shot which was parried out by Cech’s dive, into the path of Martial, who struck the ball into middle of the net, to put the Red Devils 3-1 ahead. Tempers flared up following a clash of heads with Sead Kolasinac and Rashford, who were both booked. A later change was made by Man United as Lingard was taken off for Phil Jones. Ten minutes of stoppage time was played and in the sixth extra minute, through Shaw’s pass, a long range blast from Rashford, went high over the top. Near the end, Guendouzi’s cross, was just past Lacazette, at the far right post, who could not find a connection, as Arsenal crashed out to Manchester United in the second hurdle of the competition, with a decisive win for the Red Devils on route to the FA Cup fifth round.