Cleat Geeks

Manchester United ‘Match & Top 4 Place’ Abandoned In The Manchester Sunshine & Off To Wembley

Sunday May 15th 2016 will be remembered, but not fondly, at Old Trafford when other days in this seasons long premiership campaign have been forgotten. The day itself was scheduled to be the final weekend of the premiership season for all twenty clubs but fate had another idea.

The day’s highlight, according to Sky Sports, was whether the United of Manchester could usurp the City of Manchester to fourth place in the table. For that to happen Swansea City would need to beat Manchester City while at the same time Manchester United would need to defeat newly promoted Bournemouth at Old Trafford.bournemouth-vs-manchester-united

However through a series of blunders, none of which it seems were Manchester United’s fault, the final home game was abandoned due to a suspicious package being found in the ground. The end result of the series of calamitous events was Old Trafford being evacuated, the match being abandoned and the premier league season lasting a few more days.

It turned out that the suspicious package which caused the exodus was nothing more that a dummy training device used to train sniffer dogs. It had been left by mistake earlier in the week when a security firm had been employed to use their expertise with our canine friends.

It did not take long for Twitter to ring full of gallows humour but in realty it was a serious incident which the authorities dealt with in a truly profession manner. As you may know Manchester City duly got a 1-1 draw at Swansea City to qualify for the champions league in fourth place in the table. Manchester United played the abandoned match against Bournemouth on Tuesday May 17th 2016, at 8pm, four days before their FA Cup final against Crystal Palace at Wembley.

Tuesday 17th May 2016
Manchester United 3 Bournemouth 1
With the chance gone to qualify for the Champions League and an FA Cup final four days away and a half empty stadium, it was no surprise the match started very flat. It was almost like a testimonial or pre-season friendly to begin with and stayed that way most of the first half.

wayne-rooneyThe only bright note was the opening goal scored by Wayne Rooney which was also another landmark in his Manchester United career. It was Rooney’s 100th league goal at Old Trafford and has edged him closer to becoming United’s all time goal scorer which, if he keeps fit, he should reach next season.

It would be wrong to give all the credit to Rooney as the goal was a team effort which proved that somewhere in this group of players talent abounds. With a half time score of 1-0 there was to a certain extent an amount of apathy in the watching crowd perhaps with a little anger. In winning the match 3-1 United drew level with Manchester City who qualified for the Champion League because they scored more goals. The decision by the manager Louis Van Gaal to sell proven strikers at the start of the season and not replace them hadDavidDeGea come home to roost in a very big way.

The second half of the match was more upbeat and goals from Marcus Rashford and a rare one form substitute Ashley Young almost gave United the perfect finale. I say almost because an own goal by Chris Smalling denied David De Gea the chance to share the award of the Golden Glove with Petr Cech the Arsenal keeper.

In his short address to the fans after the match amid a polite chorus of a few boo’s Van Gaal spoke of the fans being the best in the world. He also said United wanted to win the FA Cup for them, which in light of their performances in the last few weeks, is not a given. Crystal Palace have one or two dangerous players which will test United at Wembley none more so that Wilfred Zaha. Zaha who was bought by United in the last days of the reign of Sir Alex Ferguson and went back to Crystal Palace in the early days of David Moyes.

The Manchester United travel bus now heads to Wembley stadium for the FA Cup final on Saturday May 21st. It is still unclear how the disappointment of finishing outside the top four in the league will effect the future of Louis Van Gaal. In a season of underachievement it is a severe failure not to finish at least fourth for a club the stature of Manchester United. Whilst winning the cup will be a bonus it would not be the choice of the money men in this commercialized world.

Rumours and counter rumours are nothing new in the world of sport in that sense Louis Van Gaal has heard it all before. However failure in the cup final is unthinkable and would surely precipitate the beginning of the end of his management at Manchester United. The last time United won the FA Cup was in 2004 so at  least Van Gaal has the chance to do something positive in this most disastrous of seasons.

louis-van-gaal-FeatureUnlike the last time these two teams met in the FA Cup final there are no longer any FA Cup final replays, the match is settled on the day with extra time and penalties if needed. Win or lose on Saturday the debate about the manager will carry on unless there is a clear statement from the club in the next week or so. One way or another it will be an eventful week in the history of Manchester United, win or lose,Van Gaal in or out; at this moment any scenario is possible.

In the last few weeks of the season the bus taking Manchester United to Tottenham was stuck in traffic delaying the match itself. Then on its way to Upton Park the Manchester United bus was pelted with bottles as some hooligans marked West Ham’s final home match with dishonour. Finally last week a potential bomb scare caused the abandonment of the match against Bournemouth at Old Trafford on a day of high drama and the race for fourth place in the premier league.

Manchester United, its board, its management and its fans will be keeping their fingers crossed that the end of the season will finish more on what happens on the field and not off it. They are all off to Wembley to win the FA Cup, in a season that has been highly forgettable, this is something they will be hoping to remember for a long time to come.

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