It was a game that shall long remain in the hearts of every United fan who saw it, it was the game after which we could finally use the word Champions to describe Manchester United again. The Red Devils beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Wembley last night to end their 3 season long trophy drought and lift the FA Cup for a record-equalling 12th time. Jason Puncheon had given the Eagles the lead, but Juan Mata’s equaliser took the tie to extra time, where despite being a man down when Chris Smalling was sent off after getting a second yellow, the team rallied and Jesse Lingard scored a sensational half-volley to take us to the podium as winners. It was a cagey and intensely passionate affair, but it was well worth it. Here are the three things we learnt from the game:
1. We need Luke Shaw back asap
Marcus Rojo was horrible at left back yesterday, Wilfried Zaha repeatedly got the better of him and his overlaps and crossing were way off the mark. Lucky for us, Luke Shaw is back in training again, and although he was rumoured to be on the bench too last night, obviously that didn’t turn out to be the case. Not only this, Shaw had also forged a superb partnership with Memphis Depay on the left side of the pitch at the start of the campaign, and one hopes they can reignite that understanding next season.
2. Rooney is turning out to be a real leader
He can play anywhere, he can do anything, he is Wayne Rooney and he led his team to his first cup last night. The FA Cup medal was the only thing missing from his cabinet before yesterday, and he made sure he added that to his list by putting in a stellar performance. Although his passing was poor in the first half, he more than atoned for his mistakes when he went for that slalom run from midfield to the wings and put the cross in the box for Fellaini to chest it to Mata. One hopes now that he has got his first, there are many more to come.
3. Perfect Swansong for LVG and Carrick
Van Gaal is likely to be replaced by Mourinho in the summer while longtime servant and club legend Michael Carrick is likely to leave as well. Under such circumstances, it was a fitting farewell to those two who had received a lot of flak and criticism throughout the entire season. It was a real pleasure to see them getting what they deserve, and I hope they cherish the memories forever.