Copa Libation–Yeovil Town v Manchester United (FA Cup Third Round)


Drink:  Kahula and Coffee

Snack:  Biscuits and Apple Slices

United traveled to Yeovil Town after a mixed Christmas period—draws with Villa and Spurs and a comfortable win against Newcastle. No one knew anything about the Glovers (although Full Time Devils roused some hatred) but any piece I read or watched made sure to warn me against the upset and remember the magic of the FA Cup.

LvG rolled out a 3-5-2 with Rafael and Shaw as wingbacks and Wilson getting a chance to make his case up top with Falcao. As for the bench, I can’t believe Anderson is still at the club, much less on the bench, but it was good to see Lingard there, as he is coming back from his early season injury, and DiMaria was in the 18 as he is looking for fitness.

Yeovil Town wore a Sondico version of the Celtic jersey from a couple of years ago while United kicked off in their home red shirt.

yeovilCeltic 13-14 Home Kit (1)

The hosts did not hide their direct approach and harrassed United all over the pitch as the visitors had trouble settling into the match.  The trouble started from the back, with DDG having good distribution early but it deteriorated as the half progressed. The Glovers allowed nothing short but forced everything long which played into their plan and United defenders struggled on the ball.  Michael Owen noted several times that the defenders jogged instead of sprinting for loose balls.  Had they done so, it would have given them extra moments on the ball to make better decisions.

Rooney was not sharp and Herrera was invisible for the most of the half but did release Wilson for a good chance which the young striker hit right at keeper.  The Spaniard made a nice move to create a shot at end of half but it was well wide.

On 40 minutes there was a huge incident as McNair handled while dealing with a bouncing ball. No call by the ref but that moment could have been catastrophic if the official had seen it differently.  Minutes later Nugent and Falcao got tangled up and it was hard to see if the Yeovil defender denied a goal scoring chance for the Colombian.

Evans and Mata came on for the second half in place of Shaw and Rafael (who has a possible cheek fracture) as LvG changed to a 4-4-2 diamond with the young defenders as outside backs and Mata behind strikers. With four center backs I was worried about how the team would find width as the midfield consisted of all centrally based players.

United started the half a little better but were still susceptible to big ball down the middle.  Ten minutes into the half Keiffer Scott had a chance for the shock lead but scuffed his shot. Angel Di Maria was introduced on the hour mark for Falcao as the Red Devils looked to attack the Yeovil backline with pace.  The visitors made the breakthrough as Herrera swiveled and hit a thunderbastard (courtesy of the Guardian Football Weekly podcast).

The goal brought some calm to the Red Devils and, while the possession was better in second half as Yeovil tired and had to chase the game, the quality was poor from a team of this ability.  Misplaced passes, poor choices and creating unneeded 50/50 chances. In the end, Di Maria sealed the points with a breakaway at the end of the 90 minutes and United made it over the line.

di maria

The atmosphere for the game was quite good.  Fans of the hosts got to the game early and drowned out pregame coverage from the BT Sport coverage I was watching, although they were a little quiet during first half.  They picked things up in the second half and I enjoyed the chant based on Hey Jude—laaa la la la la laaa Yeovil.  The United fans made themselves heard with 12 Cantonas ringing out midway through the first half.

Finally, it’s time to call it a day for Darren Fletcher.  I have had a love/hate relationship with him during his time with the Reds. Really didn’t like him in the mid-2000’s but his efforts and contributions towards the end of the decade could not be ignored.  His recovery from illness is commendable but it’s time to move on.

On to the next round.

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