After Wednesday night’s triumph for Crystal Palace against Manchester United at Old Trafford, that was another reason why I’m falling in love again with the Carling Cup — a competition that has often been derided in the past.
Crystal Palace gave a performance that most Premier League clubs would have been proud of. They pressured Manchester United and gave them very little time on the ball to make their passes. Palace’s striker Wilfried Zaha was explosive. Darren Ambrose’s goal was spectacular. All in all, it was a very entertaining match where United just couldn’t seem to score (other than their penalty, of course). Palace deservedly won 2-1 in extra time. They now advance to the two-leg semi-final against Cardiff City, and will definitely fancy their chances of playing in the final against either Manchester City or Liverpool.
It’s been a rough week for Manchester United. Not only did they get knocked out of the Carling Cup, but Manchester United legend Steve Bruce got sacked yesterday. Bruce’s sacking was a long time coming, but the final nail in the coffin was “thanks” to an awful defensive mistake by former Manchester United defender Wes Brown who was very complacent on the ball for Sunderland on Saturday, which allowed Wigan to sneak in and score the injury time winner.
Nevertheless, there were some positives for Manchester United on Wednesday night. Paul Pogba was a bright spark for United, and showed some promising touches. Chris Smalling put in a sound performance over the 90 minutes. But other than that, the remaining United players seem uninspired. Particularly poor was Mame Biram Diouf.
Now that United are out of the Carling Cup, many of the Manchester United B team who were on display Wednesday night won’t get a chance to play for the first-team until early next year if Ferguson decides to pick some of the players for the FA Cup matches. United’s performance will have disappointed Ferguson, but the final result was more indicative of how well Crystal Palace played and how the London team stopped United from playing its game.