Everything about this game is memorable, every moment full of epic drama... and really this was United's 1998-99 season in a nutshell.
David Beckham's wonderful strike to put United ahead. Dennis Bergkamp's deflected long strike to level it, which turned the tide in Arsenal's way the last 25-30 minutes of normal time. Nicolas Anelka's goal wiped off for offside (United had a goal incorrectly wiped off for offside in the first semifinal game). Roy Keane's sending off thereafter, reducing United to 10 men. Peter Schmeichel denying Bergkamp's penalty in stoppage time. Ryan Giggs tearing the best defense in the country at the time for one of the greatest and most important goals ever.
After that game, I really believed United could do the Treble. Think I'll post United's brilliant comeback at Juventus in 1999, next Wednesday on April 21.
Football loyalties aside, April 15th marks a somber anniversary not just for football, but a horrific tragedy plain and simple.
April 15, 1989 was the day of the Hillsborough disaster. Liverpool were set to play Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup semifinal at Hillsborough, Sheffield Wednesday's ground. There was overcrowding on the Liverpool end and sadly hundreds of Liverpool fans were injured, 96 of them died, being crushed against the fences blocking the pitch. The sad thing is, to this day no clear responsibility has been shouldered on the FA, the police, and stadium security.
Right, FA Cup semifinal between Man City and Man United tomorrow. I'm (cautiously) confident about this game for a couple of good reasons. City not having Carlos Tevez hurts them more than it does Wayne Rooney's absence for United. Without Tevez, they lack a match-winner who can take the game by the scruff of the neck with his pace and scoring. Neither Mario Balotelli nor Edin Dzeko pose that kind of dynamic threat up front. The other reason is Roberto Mancini's much-ballyhooed tendency to come in with a conservative plan. Aside from David Silva, City don't have another creative playmaker from midfield. On the flip side, Nani and Antonio Valencia will both be a handful for City's suspect fullbacks to cope with. As long as this match doesn't drag itself out into an extra time stalemate into penalties, then I fancy United's chances.
There's the small matter of Real Madrid-Barcelona tomorrow as well, but with Barca having an 8 point cushion at the top, the league match loses a bit of luster compared to the next three matches. Wednesday's Copa del Rey and the Champions League semifinal legs will prove to be more significant.
The big match on Sunday is Arsenal hosting Liverpool in the Premier League. I won't lie, I'd like to see Liverpool deny Arsenal a win. Bolton and Stoke is the other FA Cup semifinal and I'll tip Bolton to win that one.
A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:And once again it comes down to officiating. *sigh*
How can there be a penalty in the 12th minute of 8 total minutes of stoppage time?
Easy explanation. There's a MINIMUM of 8 minutes of stoppage time. When Arsenal were gifted yet another soft penalty and Van Persie scored from the spot, the ref had to add more time.
That said, Andre Marriner had a shocker of a game. He gifts Fabregas a penalty, the Liverpool free kick outside of the Arsenal box was a penalty to begin with, and Eboue tangling up with Lucas was rather soft too. Eboue was an idiot to do such a daft thing in the first place. A draw was a fair result.
I'm still a bit peeved about United's performance vs. City yesterday, but Arsenal bottling it (yet again) cheered me up.
I heard someone say f*** twice and so, the FA should ban whoever that was. It might be Kenny Dalglish, but I absolutely loved it when he told Arsene Wenger to piss off when Wenger was irate that it wasn't a penalty.
Right, United-City. I won't lie, losing to City in an FA Cup semi hurt. I think while the Premier League and Champions League are greater priorities (especially winning #19 in the PL), this was a glorious chance to win the FA Cup and the winner being big favorites to beat Stoke for the Cup. Being bounced out by a rival is worse. The performance from United was really disappointing in the second half. First half was good and United should have been ahead with Berbatov not missing a clear sitter. Carrick's mistake cost United the game, but I'd say the tactics were a letdown (Berba doesn't do well in 4-3-3) and the team was just lethargic in the second half. Scholes being sent off for a not-so-clear-as-day red card clinched the result. If Scholes wasn't so daft to go in with a poor tackle, I would've fancied United to level it. Fair play to City, they put on the better effort on the day.
Real Madrid-Barcelona was a tepid one, as expected. It finished 1-1 with Messi and Ronaldo hitting from the spot. A really poor game, in truth. The big thing to extract from this is Mourinho made better tactical adjustments in that the Madridistas played tight in midfield. That said, if Barca weren't so complacent with a 1-nil lead and Real down to 10 men, they would've won. A draw pretty much seals the league for Barca. The big matches start this Wednesday in the Copa Del Rey final and culminating with the Champions League semifinals.
It would be wrong of me to get mad at an inbred spastic like Mario Balotelli or yourself.
You know, the kind of person who can't put his training bib on. The kind who is too small-time to taunt United fans and not go to his own club's fans and celebrate with them. Worse yet, the kind of person who "supports" a football club - let alone of Citeh's "massive" standing - and attempts to hide his lack of footballing knowledge with a trollfaced meme that only goes well with pretentious teenagers finding the "internets" for the first time.