After 120 minutes of football failed to separate Everton and Manchester United in their FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley, Phil Jagielka stroked his penalty into the bottom right hand corner of Ben Foster’s United goal, sending Blues fans into raptures, and Everton into the FA Cup Final 2009 – where they meet Chelsea, who were victorious against Arsenal yesterday evening in their semi-final.
United fans may point to referee Mike Riley’s decision not to award a penalty to Danny Wellbeck – who was felled in the latter part of the second half of normal time by eventual penalty taker Phil Jagielka – as the main reason for their defeat. Other than that, however, there was little by way of chances in normal, or indeed extra, time. In fact, Everton could have won it in the extra period as United seemed content to play for penalties, lumping the ball forwards aimlessly for the last ten minutes.
Ex-United keeper, Tim Howard, saved two Man United pens and essentially won the game for Everton. That said, Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand hit poor penalties – Berbatov’s was dreadful, and capped a lethargic half hour display.
Without their stars, Man United were lacklustre, though their young team could well have gone through with a different referee.
Chelsea, on the other hand, look to have hit form at the right part of the season, and will be far happier to be meeting Everton than Man Utd. Perhaps the loudest cheers in the capital were coming from the Blue part of London. Their performance in beating fellow Londoners Arsenal was very workmanlike, coming from behind to beat a defensively weakened Gunners team. Arsene Wenger was left kicking the turf amid moans and groans about the quality of the playing surface, in truth his youthful side were outclassed.
All talk of 5 trophies is now over, put to bed for one more year: professional football just ain’t that easy. Fighting a war on five fronts has proved a bridge too far even for a team of United’s seemingly limitless resources.
The FA Cup Final 2009 takes place on 30th May 2009 at 3pm.