Manchester United head into their FA Cup quarter-final clash on Monday in fourth place after Ashley Young’s late winner secured all three points for the Red Devils. John Carver’s side were unlucky not to take anything from the game, but in the end, paid for not taking their chances and making a suicidal error in defense, even if the refereeing in the game left a lot to be desired for.
Here are the major talking points from the game.
1. An emotional game…
Given the money that is involved in the game, sometimes it is easy to forget the fact that the players are still human beings. They all have families and aren’t too dissimilar to the rest of us, even if they earn more in a month than what most of us make in our life time. For all the talk of Angel Di Maria’s poor form over the past few weeks, lest it be forgotten, the 26-year-old’s home was broken into, in the aftermath of the 3-1 win over Leicester. Since then, Di Maria has had to move his family into a hotel and travel with round the clock security.
Irrespective of the amount of money he earns, the safety of his family is certainly a concern that might be weighing on his mind, when he goes out. But on Wednesday, there was further evidence that life was far more important than football. In the 17 months since his last game for Newcastle, Jonas Gutierrez has been diagnosed and since recovered from testicular cancer. And when he came onto the pitch, the roar from the fans spoke volumes of just how much it meant to them that he was alive and well, let alone ready to kick a ball in anger. Stories like these reiterate the fact that, for all the money in football these days, it is still about humans, and their frame of mind and their stories have a huge bearing on what they do on the pitch and the reception they get from the fans.