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Everton 0 United 0 (Everton win on penalties)

I did not make trip to Porto mid-week and was gutted to miss it. It was the first Euro away knock out game I had missed in 6 years since we played at the Bernabeu and it was one to savour as well. However, the thing that most were looking forward to in Portugal apart from a result was the weather, which turned out to be miserable and raining all day, unlike Wembley. On Sunday the bright blue sky and sunshine was perfect for a good day out but sadly the result meant it was the blue scousers celebrating.

I don’t like United fans who dismiss the FA Cup. It is arrogant and totally throws tradition and our own history down the pan. However, in the season as it stands already it is clear that the cup is the least of our prorities and, as such, I don’t blame Fergie at all for fielding a weakened side. Fergie’s decision to send out Gibson, Wellbeck, the SilvasĀ and Macheda was almost justified too as the Reds put on a good display in an admittedly dismal game and were unlucky to lose.

There is not much to write home about regarding the game itself, and the atmopshere left a lot to be desired too. It was obvious that this was a far bigger game for Everton than United and it showed all day long. Their fans filled the ground early, crowded around the Bobby Moore statue to take photos and made a huge amount of noise before kick off. At the end their celebrations were huge and no one could tell them that the FA Cup has lost its sparkle. However, for United this was a third trip to Wembley this season alone and comes at a very expensive time of the year for a team in the semis of Europe. Thousands passed on their tickets to save cash and you could tell that a lot of regulars were not there. Too many fans sat down in silence and it was embaressing at times. The Wembley atmosphere is poor and often criticised- especially due to the corporate tier leaving the hardocre isolated in the gods- but if your own fans don’t make any noise you cannot always blame the architecture and ticketing policy.

So to penalties it went and it was not to be our day. We cannot win every shootout and if someone had told me in Moscow that we could win that won and lose this I would have bitten their hand off. So now to the remaining two competitions- the ones that really matter to us if we are honest. If we beat Portsmouth on Wednesday then Fergie is entirely excused for resting players.

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  1. Wayne Thompson :: April 20th, 2009 6:51 pm

    A well balanced view but I feel it is unfair to prioritise the remaining competitions with the FA cup in third place. You are only as good as your last game and with Arsenal to get past in order to get to the champions league final and with Liverpool breathing down our necks in the premiership then the decision to field such an inexperienced team in the semi final of the greatest club competition in the world could easily come back to haunt us.
    I will end with the other talking point namely Berbatov. From the moment he joined the club he has appeared uninterested, he doesn’t tackle or track back, he doesn’t run with the ball and is lethargic. His whole body language when about to take the penalty spoke volumes and he just did not care. If he was sold tomorrow he would not be missed, 30.75 million how many decent, commited players could be bought for that.

  2. Oli :: April 27th, 2009 12:22 am

    Thanks Wayne. Well a week on and things look a lot rosier. The league is getting ever closer and you just wonder whether we would have found the energy to score 5 yesterday had the rested players played another 90 mins at Wembley on that awful pitch. We will never know I guess, but you can see how much more energy we have had since a few stars got a games rest.

    As for Berbatov, he has a lot left to proove and I certainly would not be happy with Tevez leaving and us not replacing him having already spent so much on Dimitar. But having said that, Berbatov was fantastio against Spurs and was even working hard. He would be missed if he left but for 30m you would expect more impact than we have seen.

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