chicharito FA Cup

Captain Giggs and the Manchester Trio

7:05 PMAleks Vee

Ryan Giggs continues to be a significant player in cup games.
Manchester United go through to the 4th Round of the FA Cup with a tough 1-0 victory over the Hammers, thanks to a goal by Wayne Rooney. Sir Alex once again entrusted the pitch to Buttner, Giggs, Scholes, and Chicharito, all of whom took part in the first leg at Upton Park. As in the first match, the young talent that is Javier Hernandez provided an assist for the first goal, rolling the ball across the 6-yard box to Wayne Rooney from a position too close to the offside. Although no more goals were scored, United forced West Ham to play an open game, one in which a counter by the home side could have brought more danger to the net at any time. Hernandez played a better game overall, but hasn't quite gotten around to ridding himself of the awful offside habit when receiving brilliant passes. Rooney and Nani both tested the net, but neither were sharp enough to really give West Ham's keeper a big enough challenge. Nani, as usual, lacked the focus that was needed to direct his fiery shots on target. Nevertheless, Sir Alex has mentioned that the winger is not for sale, and although the match wasn't his greatest, it is evident that the 26-year-old player is capable of more. The Hammers defended set pieces well enough to prevent the Reds from increasing their 1-0 lead.

The Reds had a bit of a recurring error, the same one that usually gets them to concede as many goals as teams that occupy the middle of the table. The Hammers failed to score, but it is easy to see how they could have. The second half took off with a West Ham initiative. Manchester United failed to find space with the ball, losing it before they could create any chances. Taylor could have been the player to make the difference for the Hammers, but lacked swiftness on the receiving end. Ryan Giggs was another barrier to the visitors' success, taking care of the midfield as brilliantly as any younger player and keeping the visiting side back. Even when the Reds regained possession, they never quite had the same speed that carried them through the first half. It was Giggs's cross bouncing off a West Ham hand that gave Manchester a penalty, one of the easiest goal-scoring opportunities to use and to miss. Rooney opted for the latter, sending the ball straight up into the stands. One can only ponder how likely it would have been for United to have a 2-0 lead had Ryan Giggs stepped up to the spot. The legendary veteran got the ball to Chicharito, but for the millionth time, the young striker was well offside. There was no late finish for Manchester United, and Sir Alex's side had to make do with a slim victory to carry them through to the next round.

The Trio To Beat

Towards the end, it looked as though Robin van Persie may come on the pitch. Yet Sir Alex chose not to bring him on. The manager's decision can only be admired, as it is unwise to have the team rely solely on the highly productive striker. Nani, Rooney, and Chicharito will have many opportunities to step up their game. Perhaps RVP would have had a Giggs-assisted goal today, but as mentioned in my analysis of the first leg, Manchester United is not and never will be a one-man team. The Red Devils are set to face Fulham for the Fourth Round on January 26 at 12:30 (ET).

FA Cup - 3rd Round, Second Leg
Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 3:05PM EST

Manchester United vs. West Ham - 1:0 (1:0)
Venue: Old Trafford (Manchester)
Referee: Phil Dowd (Stoke-on-Trent)
1:0 Wayne Rooney (Asst. Chicharito) (9')

Full Time Stats:
Shots on target: 6:4
Shots off target: 5:3
Fouls committed: 7:7
Yellow cards: 1:2
Red cards: 0:0
Corners: 8:4
Offsides: 5:1
Possession: 55:45

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