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That Elusive FA Cup

Posted by Keano! on May 31, 2009

Not since the grand old season of 2004, which saw players like Diego Forlan, Quinton Fortune, Kleberson and Djemba-Djemba don the United shirt, have we won the world famous FA Cup. Eleven times it has had our name engraved into its illustrious list, but Manchester United has evaded it for long enough I think.

Its not that we haven’t been good enough, no. More complacency, bad luck and poor refereeing decisions are the deciding factors to why United haven’t grabbed a 12th, 13th and maybe even 14th FA Cup.

A footballing injustice was witnessed at Cardiff in 2005 as Arsenal stole a Cup with our name ready to be engraved, away from us after being completely dominated for the entire 90 minutes, entire 30 minutes of extra time when penalties came, it was the Gooners who prevailed with Mr. Viera dealing the river card which sealed Arsenals flush. It led Mark Lawrenson on BBC to say that “over the course of the whole 120 minutes, Manchester United have been mugged”.” It was heartbreaking for United fans and players too, with Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo both tasting defeat on the big stage for the first time. To this day, Rooney still has no FA Cup medal to hang around his neck, loosing in two finals.

In 2006 it was our dear rivals Liverpool who sent us out of the cup with a 1-0 victory at Anfield thanks to Peter “Stick” Crouch’s header. Despite the loss, it was overshadowed by Alan Smith’s horrific injury when he bravely charged down a Riise free-kick.

2007’s run ended at the new Wembley and at the hands of Chelsea who once again took over the 90 minutes to beat us thanks to a Didier Drogba goal. Ryan Giggs had a decent claim for a goal ruled out as his motion took himself into Petr Cech who then brought the ball over the line with him. As a United fan I’ll say it was a certain goal, as a football fan I’ll say it was a good decision. Rooney and Giggs also had good chances during the game but it wasn’t to be yet again and United lost an FA Cup final again.

In 2008 you could argue that it should have been the easiest FA Cup United could win as they were dumped out at Old Trafford when Ronaldo was denied a clear penalty, Rooney and Tevez managed to fluff a wonderful chance, Michael Carrick somehow failed to get the ball over the line and then substitute goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak conceded a penalty… With no other keeper on the bench as he was the sub for an injured Van Der Sar, Rio Ferdinand took the reigns and to his credit almost stopped the penalty but alas, it was another seasons FA Cup run ended in disappointment. Later that day Chelsea were knocked out leaving Portsmouth as the biggest team left as it was a year for giant killings.

And finally this season where the semi-final at Wembley (What a joke holding the semi’s at Wembley) was a clash with Everton who had beaten Liverpool to reach the stage. A rather temped affair resulted in, yes…another penalty shootout. You’d think United would be stunning at penalties with all the shootouts they have to face but its all down to the pressure. United sent players like Vidic and Ferdinand forward to take 2 and despite Everton missing their first one, we couldn’t capitalise and it was a Phil Jagielka penalty to send us out and prevent us playing Chelsea in the final.

So will 2010 be our year? Well today I was asked if I would take the FA Cup next season, finish second in the league, go out of the Carling Cup in the third round, loose the Charity Shield and exit the Champions League at the semi-final stage. So basically a very productive season ending with one trophy. Would you take that?

Feel free to leave your comments below and vote on our poll too.

Results of our poll will be revealed on June 7th '09

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