It’s been over 10 years since United last won the FA Cup, that being said the likes of Carrick and Rooney were yet to win it despite having all other English Titles (EPL, Charity Shield, League Cup). It was a 1990 replay as United wore their white away-kit to a well-rested Crystal Palace seeking to grab a rare opportunity for silverware.
And in typical United fashion when all seemed over until a Jesse Lingard volley stole the FA Cup title from an attacking Palace who looked to capitalise on a Chris Smalling sending off. It took 3 minutes for Juan Mata to cancel out a Puncheon volley.
GK David De Gea – 7
Once again, the Spaniard was United’s hero in the first half when he tipped over a goal-bound header from Bolasie. However the Puncheon goal could have been avoided if de Gea had stuck himself on the post as he was shocked to see the ball not be crossed in. Made up for it in the end with a brave dive to deny Zaha the goal against his old side.
RB Antonio Valencia – 7
A brilliant past few months for Valencia who returned from injury and moulded into the right back role perfectly and was integral in the Lingard goal. Supported the attack when he was given the chance. Palace had to be alert to his speed and power.
RCB Chris Smalling – 5 SENT OFF
Despite an exceptional start to the season, Smalling struggled with Connor Wickham’s strength beaten on a duel that should’ve been a goal. An early booking proved troublesome as he saw red in extra-time for fouling Bolasie.
LCB Daley Blind – 6
A gifted technical player without question. But there remains a question mark against his physical prowess in the English game. Looked shaky at the back in the beginning but slowly eased himself in and played some brilliant diagonal balls to Fellaini. Has great potential in the midfield and hopefully plays there next season under whichever manager.
LB Marcos Rojo – 6 (64’)
Booked. Had his hands full coping with the menace of Zaha. Needed to show all his experience to cope with the danger. Unfortunate to leave the game early after a dangerous sliding challenge.
CDM Michael Carrick – 6
Solid and effective in what could be the last game we see him in the United shirt. But unusually, he gave the ball away when not under pressure. Still a huge asset to United offering great experience and leadership to the youth. Deserves a contract extension.
RCM Marouane Fellaini – 7
Booked. It was a great tussle between Jedinak and the Belgian. He escaped once to hit the post with a fearsome shot in the second half and was crucial in controlling the ball for Mata’s quick-fire equaliser.
LCM Wayne Rooney – 7
Booked. With many critics slating his inclusion in the Euros as an Attacker, as of late our captain Rooney has looked his best in a long time in the midfield role. Almost single handily forced the first goal and revelled in his midfield role as creator rather than predator. Passes with accuracy and imagination.
RW Juan Mata – 8 (90’)
A delight to watch. A graceful footballer who offered a great threat in attack. His goal was superb but unlucky to not finish the game. A constant danger and hopefully he won’t be sold by whoever the manager is.
LW Anthony Martial – 6
Struggled to find the space to be at his most effective. When he was given the chance, he was denied by the post.
ST Marcus Rashford – 6 (71’)
Showed flashes of the excellence that may yet see him on the plane to France for the Euros, should injury blow not be serious.
LB Matteo Darmian – 6 (64’)
A logical replacement for the injured Rojo
LW Ashley Young – 6 (71’)
A new problem for Palace… as a front player.
RW Jesse Lingard – 7 (90’)
Stepped off the bench to win it with stunning volley. A moment he’ll never forget.