After finishing West Ham’s chapter in the FA cup in the last ties, United will be marching on to Wembley for the Semi-Final of the FA cup and will be facing the struggling Martinez’s side Everton. Everton will not be an easy side to play against. Though they are struggling in the premier league, the team is on a great form in the FA cup. In their quarter-final tie, the Toffees crushed Chelsea by two goals to nil and will be looking down to replicate the same result at Wembley.
This will be a tough battle and players from both sides will be performing out of their skin because after all, IT’S WEMBLEY. The games like these always deliver a high-quality football and the expectations of the fans are sky high.
Looking at their recent results, United seems to be the favourite side as they have won 4 out of their last 6 games and have lost 2 while Everton have lost 3 of their last 6 games and haven’t won a single game. United have had some good results recent but, a single mistake could cost a fortune in their next game.
Let us look at the 3 key on-field battles that will decide the upcoming match-
Smalling vs Lukaku-
Smalling is having the finest season of his career in which he hasn’t put a foot wrong this season. He has been a tough opponent for every striker in the league. His major obstacle in the next game will be the Belgian, Romelu Lukaku.
Lukaku in his last encounter against Manchester United, targeted Daley Blind as he was the weakest of them all (physically) but, the Dutchman showed what quality he possess and never let the Belgian to get pass through him. Keeping that in mind, Smalling will have to concentrate on Lukaku’s run and help Blind when needed. Lukaku is good in the air and is a pacey striker, plus, he possesses a strong left foot so, Smalling will have some important work to do at Wembley.
Stones vs Rashford-
Obviously, van Gaal will deploy Marcos Rashford up front and the young lad will be facing the tough English defender John Stones. Stones is a pure English defender and know how to approach the upcoming threat. Rashford is quick and so is Stones, Rashford can head the ball pretty well and so can Stones. At this very young age, Stones is establishing himself as one the best in the country.
Rashford will have a tough task and will have to find a way to get past Stones. Martial and Mata, on the other hand, can make Rashford’s life easy with some fascinating through balls that could cut the comedy for Stones and his fellow center back.
Rashford is in a great form recently and is not going to stop that easily, knowing that in mind, Stones will have to work like a horse as the skipper Jagielka is most likely to skip the game following his injury.
Barkley vs Fellaini-
We all are aware of the danger that Barkley can cause to United’s defence. Fellaini has somehow managed to be in the good books of van Gaal and is most likely to start the game against his former side. Fellaini was a hit at Everton. Though he is loved by Van Gaal, the fans don’t want him to be at the club next season.
Coming onto the topic, Barkley is an amazing talent who can rip the defence apart in a single pass. He is a great sprinter and a cool finisher. Fellaini has great strength and is good in the air and that is the reason he can out muscle Ross Barkley in the first place. He cannot match the pace of the English star but can intercept the passes towards him. Thinking practically, Fellaini would be the perfect man to stop the runs of Ross Barkley.