Wayne Rooney put on a splendid solo effort for Manchester United as they outplayed Arsenal at every aspect of the game in the fifth round of the FA Cup. Rooney scored the first goal for United after 16 minutes and Carrick extended the lead to 2-0 just four minutes later with a header from Nani’s dangerous cross. Before half-time, Michael Carrick played a long ball to Nani and he provided a cool headed finish to give united a 3-0 lead.
Just after the break Emmanuel Eboue was sent off in the 48th minute after a shocking challenge on Evra. Shortly afterwards Nani assisted another Flecher headed goal to put united 4-0 ahead and in absolute control.
England manager Fabio Capello was a spectator in the stands appreciating Rooney’s brilliant performance as he applauded the England striker when he was substituted with 20 minutes remaining. United didn’t have Christiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs in their line-up, while Emmanuel Adebayor and Mathieu Flamini for Arsenal were on the bench. Evidently Arsenal suffered the most from the changes made in the starting line-up.
Rooney, returning from suspension, had a point to prove against their old foes as he tore them apart with his assaults on goal. Although he scored just once, he kept the defense always on their toes and tested Jens Lehmann several times.
The Gunners, who enjoy teasing their opponents with dominating performances, had a taste of their own medicine. William Gallas was lucky not be punished for launching an ill-mannered kick on Nani, which he claimed to be accidental. With two minutes remaining in the match substitute Louis Saha almost scored the 5th goal for United before Lehmann, who had a blameless performance for arsenal, saved again.
[by Shahnawaz Alam]
Photo: Getty Images