3 Ups and 4 Downs of United’s Narrow Win v. Norwich

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Wasn’t that a load of ****. On paper, the current Man United should walk over the current Norwich but it was anything but a landslide. A late Maguire goal sealed United’s advancement to the semi-finals despite a performance that didn’t warrant it. Some would argue that if Timm Klose wasn’t sent off, ‘The Canaries’ would have won it themselves.

 

In positive thinking, United have progressed to the last four of the competition in which they stand a good chance of winning. So, let’s get into a down heavy ups and downs.

 

DOWN – #FREEWILLIAMS

Get that trending. The line-up created a few questions but the one that shook me was yet another Luke Shaw start. Whatever Shaw has on Ole, it must be the reason why Shaw is playing so much. Williams was brought on in the second half, surprisingly for Diogo Dalot, and put in a good performance but if Brandon can’t get in the starting XI against a bottom placed Norwich in an FA Cup game then what game can he start? We need more Williams.

 

DOWN – LACK OF INTENSITY

There was just an overall lack of intensity from United tonight. The fast paced positive football we saw on Wednesday was non-existent, and yes no two games will be the same, but against a Norwich side, who currently sit bottom of the Premier League, with injury concerns, you would expect a similar performance to the one we got against Sheffield United. Whether it was because of a shakeup in the team or because it was a cup game, but the team was lacking the fire power tonight. Let’s hope it’s a one off and they bring their A game to the south coast on Tuesday.

 

DOWN – MIDFILED MADNESS

Although Bruno Fernandes put in one of his worst United performances, I didn’t actually think his display was that bad hence why it doesn’t warrant its own individual down. The exact same with Paul Pogba. Even though he played a big part in the winning goal, the Frenchman was slow to impact the game and doesn’t warrant either an up or down. Fred and Mctominay were average and the less said about Lingard and Mata the better. Overall, the midfield was the weakest part of the Untied team today and anyone who played in there was far from their best.

 

DOWN – EXTRA FATIGUE IN EXTRA TIME

First off, the FA need a stern talking to for being blind to the current situation and letting extra time go ahead instead of an instant penalty shootout. Anyway, it’s United’s own fault that they went 120 minutes against Norwich. Despite making an unprecedented six substitutes throughout the game, the players will still feel the repercussions of this long-winded tie. So expect a slow start against Brighton on Tuesday.

 

UP – “IMAGINE SIGNING IGHALO”

That’s what many rival fans and even United fans, including myself, said when Odion Ighalo signed for United, but he has proven everyone wrong. He was brought in as an alternative option and boy he has been just that. He isn’t the most clinical striker in Man United’s ranks, but when you need an odd goal, he is there to get it. Other than the goal, he was in and out the game but for his job, he performed well and warrants himself his own up.

 

UP – CAPTAIN, LEADER, SLABHEAD

Harry Maguire’s performances since the restart have what you can only describe as a rollercoaster. Mistake led to the Spurs goal, quiet against Sheffield United but tonight was his best one by far. For the first time, I saw a captain’s performance from United’s resident Slabhead. I’m not one for changing my opinion because of scoring a goal but I saw a good confident captain’s display from Maguire tonight all round. More of that please Mr. Maguire.

 

UP – GETTING CLOSER

Despite the performance, the main thing is progression into the last four of the prestigious FA Cup, a tournament United stand every chance of winning. If this was a league game, I would be more concerned but as Solskjaer said during his post-match interview, a cup game is about winning even if you don’t play well. Could United go all the way and lift the FA Cup under Ole’s leadership?

 

It was far from a stellar performance, but the dub is what matters and I’m sure after a full debrief, the players will be thankfully for that late Maguire clutch.

 

What did you think of United’s win? Leave in the comments below.

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