Analysis

The Week In Manchester United: Silver lining for season in sight for Van Gaal's men

 Republik of Mancunia writer Scott Patterson hails Anthony Martial and Maroune Fellaini for their decisive showings in the FA Cup semi-final win over Everton.

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This week in five words

 
We're going to Wembley... again. 
 

What went well 

 
After picking up an easy three points at home against Crystal Palace midweek, United booked their place in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
 
Considering how many awful weeks United have had during the course of the season, this week has to go down as one of the best ones in Louis van Gaal's time at the club. 

 

What didn’t 

 
Manchester City won, meaning United didn't close the gap on them with their win against Palace on Wednesday. Arsenal's draw with Sunderland was good news though. 
 

Quote of the week 

 
Ander Herrera, on his compatriot and friend David De Gea, who made lots of great saves at Wembely, including Romelu Lukaku's penalty: "What can I say? I am not objective - he is the number one in the world.
 
"In England you know that, but in the rest of the world they think they have better goalkeepers, but I don’t think so. He has a special talent. When you are born with that quality and ability, you are so lucky. The rest of us humans, we have to work more."

The need-to-know facts

  • Marouane Fellaini has scored two goals in five FA Cup appearances this season - double the amount he's scored in the league (1 in 17 apps).
  • Four of Anthony Martial’s seven assists for Manchester United this season have come in the FA Cup.
  • Romelu Lukaku has missed his last two penalties for Everton after scoring his previous five for the club (all comps).
  • Chris Smalling scored his first own-goal since April 2010 (all comps), when he did so against Everton while playing for Fulham.

Video/GIF of the week

 
Scenes outside Wembley as that man Martial popped up once again with another vital intervention, this time the winner that sends his side to the FA Cup final.
 

 

Winner of the week 

 
While the answer to this is obviously Martial, Fellaini certainly deserves a mention here.
 
Playing against his former team and getting booed by the blue half of Wembley whenever he went near the ball, Fellaini looked delighted to put United 1-0 up. He played well for the rest of the time he was on the field too, making some key clearances and winning the ball back well for his team.

 
But, clearly, Martial deserves this one, after scoring an injury time winner to send United to the FA Cup final. 
 
Having missed a good chance in the first half, Martial more than made up for it with his late goal, before diving in to the United end to celebrate. This will go down as one of his greatest moments at the club. 
 

Loser of the week 

 
Having played all season, Juan Mata must be gutted to lose his place in the starting line-up to Jesse Lingard.
 
Finally, United have the chance of winning silverware, something the Spaniard must be desperate for after being spoilt at Chelsea, but he's losing his place in the team to an inferior player.

 
He needs to do something over the next few weeks to prove to Van Gaal he deserves to play in the FA Cup final.