It’s the second FA Cup semi final between Man Utd and Everton today as we find out who wins the right to face Chelsea in the final in six weeks time. Everton will want to reach their first final of any description since 1995 while Fergie’s side look to get a step closer to a quintuple.
Everton’s recent record in the cup is pretty poor and this is the first time they’ve been beyond the quarter finals since 2002. United meanwhile have won the cup a record eleven times, but not since 2004, having lost against Arsenal in 2005 and Chelsea in 2007. Everton’s FA Cup win was against Man Utd of course, when Paul Rideout headed in from about four yards and Everton sneaked a 1-0 victory in 1995.
Everton were rubbish that year, coming 15th in the league.
Man Utd: Foster, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Fabio Da Silva, Welbeck, Gibson, Anderson, Park, Tevez, Macheda.
Subs: Kuszczak, Neville, Evra, Berbatov, Nani, Scholes, Evans.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines, Osman, Neville, Fellaini, Pienaar, Cahill, Saha.
Subs: Nash, Yobo, Castillo, Vaughan, Jacobsen, Rodwell, Gosling.
Fergie picks just two of his first choice eleven with Rio and Vidic playing in defence. The rest of the team is filled with reserves and Carlos Tevez. Macheda gets his full debut after hitting two in two in the league coming off the bench. Rooney and Ronaldo are left in Manchester. The Da Silva twins both play meaning confusion for everyone. If G Nev comes on, he’ll join brother P Nev who captains the Toffees. The Everton team is pretty much full strength bar the injured Arteta. Saha decides he is fit enough to play, but I’ll bet any money he doesn’t complete the 90.
Mike Riley referees but the game isn’t at Old Trafford so maybe he won’t give Man Utd a penalty.
Groundsmen prepare Wembely for the big game.
1 min: Everton kick off. Glorious day at Wembley.
3 mins: Screech Fellaini has won a couple of headers already. Vidic will have to be at his best today to keep him at bay.
5 mins: Macheda turns and shoots but it goes wide.
7 mins: The game is being played at a higher tempo than yesterday’s match between Arsenal and Chelsea. The relative freshness of both teams (neither effectively played midweek bar Vidic and Rio) should mean an entertaining game.
10 mins: Phil Neville breaks free down the right wing but he slips whilst shooting and his shot skews high and wide.
13 mins: Lovely interplay by United as Welbeck and Macheda thread a ball through to Tevez. He steps past a defender but is off balance thus his shot lacks power and trickles wide. Welbeck could have shot but was quite unselfish there. Everton will be concerned about the ease that chance was created with.
15 mins: Baines has time to cross from the left but it’s easily dealt with by Ferdinand.
21 mins: Foster makes a bit of a boo-boo. He tries to take a touch too many after a backpass and just manages to clear before the oncoming Saha after the first attempt hits the Frenchman. This new Wembley doesn’t seem to like reserve keepers. Just look at Fabianksi yesterday…
23 mins: United almost score at the other end. A cross comes in a Welbeck shoots. It deflects of Joleon Lescott and goes just the wrong side of the post. Lescott didn’t know too much about that.
27 mins: Rafael holds back Baines and gets booked for his trouble. Everton free kick in a good position just outside the box. How they’d like Arteta on the pitch right now.
28 mins: Rubbish free kick but a corner is won. Rubbish corner too and eventually the ball is mopped up by the Man Utd defence. Pienaar’s deliveries haven’t been too good thus far…
30 mins: It’s quite open so far but without any real chances being made.
32 mins: The team in red knock it about quite nicely and it’s laid off for Rafael (or Fabio? One of the two) to have a dig from 25 yards. Obviously possessing no power in his left foot, he instead dinks a chip into the box which results in nothing but an Everton free kick after some shirt tugging/pushing by Welbeck.
35 mins: Tevez booked for a foul on Pienaar.
36 mins: Tevez pings one in from about 30 yards but it goes across goal. Anderson tries to win it but flies in two footed and a foul is given. Not really sure why he’s moaning to be honest. Clear free kick.
37 mins: Riley penalty watch – Pienaar is muscled off the ball by Rafael in the box. Everton appeal but it would have been very harsh I reckon. He was stronger, pure and simple.
40 mins: Welbeck, who is playing quite well dribbles inside. Tevez passes to Macheda who gives it back to Welbeck who had continued his run towards the box. The left foot shot is sliced high and wide.
41 mins: Welbeck again get some space down the left. Tevez waits in the box but the resulting cross is terrible and goes straight out. The youngster is playing well but is constantly having to do stuff with his left foot, which is not his strongest.
43 mins: Some crowd shots as we head to half-time. Seems a bit restrained and quiet. I imagine a lot of people are very tired having had to make to journey to London from the north west. Not that much to cheer about either to be honest.
45 mins: Macheda tried to play in Welbeck but the pass was overhit and Howard gathers.
Half-time: Goalless at the break. No real clear cut chances but the game is entertaining enough I suppose. United’s youngsters are playing quite well but this games needs a goal to liven things up. Everton have had a bit of joy down the left flank with Baines and Pienaar but the final balls need to improve if Fellaini is to use that afro to score. As usual, I plan to avoid the thoughts of Teddy Sheringham (seems to be a full time gig he has these days with ITV) and shall be making some tea instead.
Basically I'm a human cliché.
46 mins: Man Utd kick off the second half.
49 mins: Vidic looks winded. That reminds me that I have to photoshop him for this week’s Guardian gallery.
50 mins: Fellaini handballs but only because Rio was holding him from behind and he couldn’t actually move his arm out of the way. Bit harsh.
51 mins: Saha is barely running about at all. Not in a injured way, just in a unfit lazy way. He’s literally just standing around doing nothing. 88141 have come down from the north-west and from Surrey. Which is 38 more than came from N5 and SW6 yesterday…
53 mins: Much better atmosphere now. Cahill strikes a good shot at Foster who saves well. It was just about to bounce as it reached the Man Utd number two, who did well to palm it away.
56 mins: Both teams pushing forward a bit more now, and the crowd have responded in kind to the extra action. Still no clear cut chances though.
58 mins: Anderson “takes” a terrible free kick. He lined up, I blinked, the next thing I saw was it was an Everton goal kick. It must have been pretty poor. Like any good pro, he looks down at the pitch and shakes his head. I think it’s not the pitch that is to blame but his mediocrity.
60 mins: Fellaini awaits in the box for a free kick. Cleared easily again though.
62 mins: Fabio looks injured.
63 mins: Park cuts inside and shoots outside of the post.
64 mins: Evra on for the injured Fabio. Typing the words Fabio injured always reminds me of when cover star of a thousand trashy romance novels Fabio, killed a bird whilst on a rollercoaster. Don’t ask me where I first heard about that, might have been Eurotrash or something.
That would make for a good cover.
67 mins: Darron ‘with an O’ Gibson hits a good shot but it’s too close to Howard to cause him any problems.
68 mins: Scholes on for Park. Welbeck tackled by Jagielka in the box. Looks a penalty but amazingly nothing given by Riley. Replays show he didn’t really get the ball but probably didn’t take enough of the man to warrant the penalty. Well that’s Riley’s excuse anyway. Did Moyes’ comments during the week have an effect? Fergie is absolutely fuming. It would have been given at Old Trafford. Fact.
70 mins: As predicted, Saha comes off. He’s been worse than useless. Anonymous all game. Jack Rodwell comes on to replace.
71 mins: Ironic cheers as a free kick is given against Vidic for a high boot.
74 mins: Everton corner. Fails to clear the first man. They’ve played ok but have really missed the expertise of Arteta at dead balls.
76 mins: Anderson strikes from a tight angle. Just over but not a bad effort.
77 mins: Really open now in the sense that it’s end to end but still no real opportunities. Not sure I can be dealing with 30 minutes of extra time.
79 mins: Man Utd are edging closer it seems. A bit of scramble in the box as Macheda and Welbeck both try and get a shot. Both fail.
83 mins: Welbeck runs at Hibbert before trying to curl one in from the edge of the box. Too high. Sportboy sigh.
84 mins: Fellaini gets his first yellow since February. Pretty impressive given his previous record of about 11 until then. Once again he was challenging for the ball whilst using his elbow. He caught Ferdinand in the face with his fist. Plenty more players have come off worse this season.
86 mins: Macheda mishits a volley. Goalless games do not make the Sportboy jolly.
87 mins: Berba warming up. Fellaini gets blown up for something or other (handball I think). Feels he is being persecuted. It’s a fair claim given he didn’t handball it.
89 mins: Everton corner. Pienaar actually puts in a half decent ball in but Rio prevents Joleon from doing anything with the header.
91 mins: Everton free kick in a good position. Baines swings it in high and deep. Fellaini challenges Foster but a foul is given. Thought it was a fair challenge I think.
Full time: Goalless at the end of 90 minutes. Extra time looming. Arse. Pretty even, Man Utd could/should have had a penalty, but there has been very little action in the box. Why do I always pick the dull games which go to extra time?
Fergie shows his feelings on the game. Plus forgets to trim those nostril hairs.
91 mins: Berbatov comes on for Macheda. Everton kick off the first period of extra time.
92 mins: I always feel if I’m to sit through 120 minutes of a dull neutral game then the least I should get is a penalty shoot out for my efforts. None of this 118th minute winner business.
93 mins: Scholes booked. Cahill fires a good shot on goal from a very tight angle in the box. Foster saves with his foot.
95 mins: Scholes is playing some nice balls forward in midfield. Though just as I say that he gives the ball away.
96 mins: Everton play it down the left. The ball comes to Fellaini in the box who chests, turns and shoots. It’s blocked though.
97 mins: Welbeck offside from a through ball. Tight but right.
99 mins: United play it forward and Berbatov has it in the box. He has time to lay it back to the onrushing Welbeck but the youngster completely misses it. Air shot.
102 mins: Fellaini coming off. James Vaughan coming on. Thought Moyes would have kept him on and taken off Osman maybe but that would be too positive a change for his liking.
104 mins: Everton corner.
105 mins: Dealt with. At the other end Tevez fires a tame shot at Howard.
Halftime: Fifteen minutes till penalties.
106 mins: Man Utd kick off. Fourteen minutes till penalties.
107 mins: Oooh, what a poor miss. Baines crosses it in, Vaughan has an age to pick his spot but scuffs it with his left foot. It deflects off Vidic meaning Cahill can’t tap it in. No corner given though. That was a terrible miss. He had time for a touch if he wanted but hit it first time and wasted it.
109 mins: Eleven minutes till penalties.
110 mins: Cahill booked for clipping Vidic and then moaning about the foul that was given. Silly.
111 mins: Skip.
112 mins: To.
113 mins: The.
114 mins: End.
117 mins: A couple of corners for Man Utd amount to nothing.
119 mins: Foster tries to clear but his kick is charged down by Vaughan. He then rushes out out to try and deal with it but fouls an Everton player out wide. The resulting free kick is inches from Cahill’s head.
Full time in extra time: So I get what I asked for and this will be decided by a penalty shoot out. Man Utd have already won a penalty shoot out at Wembley this season, following Foster and his iPod antics against Spurs. They did lose their last FA Cup shootout though against Arsenal in the 2005 final. Most of United’s penalty takers will be at home. Everton’s most recent shootout was a loss against Fiorentina last season.
Penalty shoot out (Everton score first):
0-0: Cahill takes the first penalty and misses with a blast high and wide.
0-0: Berbatov misses! Lazy, lazy penalty. He just rolls it to Howard’s right. Keeper easily saves. Shocking.
1-0: Baines scores! Power high down the middle.
1-0: Rio Ferdinand misses! Howard saves. Sort of in the corner but not enough. Nice height to save.
2-0: Phil Neville scores! Sends Foster the wrong way, great penalty.
2-1: Vidic scores! Just. He checks Ronaldo style and rolls it just inside the post.
3-1: Vaughan scores! Giant steps and places it in the corner. Foster can’t quite get there.
3-2: Anderson scores! He keeps it alive. Sends Howard the wrong way, calmly placing it the left corner.
4-2: Jagielka sends Everton to Wembley! Oh wait, they’re already there. But you know what I mean. He puts a great penalty low in the corner and sends Everton to the FA Cup final! Nice moment for him as he missed the key spot kick against Fiorentina last season.
So Everton win through 4-2 on penalties. It was perhaps the most likely way for them to win but all in all it was a pretty even game. Fergie will be vindicated that he played his youngsters given it went to extra time and beyond. Have to wonder why Vidic and Rio were taking penalties even if the former scored. Scholes and Tevez were nowhere to be seen (though presumably one of those would have taken the fifth) while the youngsters like Welbeck didn’t seem to fancy it. In any case, there were some pretty poor kicks. The quintuple dream ends and United are left to concentrate on the league and Europe which is what Fergie wanted all along.