Player Ratings: De Gea let United down; Fred and Sancho are not United quality – big improvements needed in the summer for United

Ten Hag will not be happy with the lack of quality in his team

Manchester United were beaten 2-1 in the Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley. İlkay Gündoğan opened the scoring inside 13 seconds to put City ahead. A 33rd minute penalty from Bruno Fernandes levelled the score with it still 1-1 at half time. Gündoğan then scored the second goal six minutes into the second half, which was the winning goal.

United started the match terrible with İlkay Gündoğan opening the scoring inside 13 seconds after Kevin De Bruyne played the ball into him, then the midfielder sending the ball past David De Gea, who did not even move. It was the fastest FA Cup final goal ever. Ten Hag will not have been happy with what he saw from his goalkeeper – with this possible being his last game for United with his contract expiring in the summer and a new one being held up.

City almost doubled their lead in the fourth minute of the match after De Bruyne fed Rodri at the near post but his effort glanced the side netting. De Bruyne then fed John Stones but United managed to make the clearance. In the 12th minute, Casemiro followed through on Manuel Akanji, which drew criticism from the commentary team. Nothing was given against the foul and VAR did not suggest a red card was due – got away lightly there I think.

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United then started to get into the game, trying to gain some ground against this heavily attacking City side. United needed to dig deep to get something and that is what was expected from them. United had some involvement in the City half but did not look like they were going to get something from it. However, in the 31st minute of the match, a penalty was awarded against Jack Grealish, who handled the ball in the area when rising to beat Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Bruno Fernandes stepped up to take the penalty, sending Stefan Ortega the wrong way and equalising for United. It was a great penalty for the Portuguese midfielder – his 14th goal of the season. After the equaliser, United started to find their feet and progress into the City half, seeking a goal to win them the match. City are beatable – that has been seen this season but they seem to think they are the best there is and they have not really earned that.

Towards the end of the half, United seemed to be better than they started the match and will be facing Ten Hag during the half time break, which would rollock them for conceding the opening goal and make them do more to take this trophy away from City this season. The treble is on for the noisy neighbours but a cop double is on for United – so each side has something to gain from this. Four minutes were added on at the end of the half, which ended 1-1.

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There were no substitutions at the start of the second half. United had a big job to do to keep City away from their goal and an even bigger job to find a winner here. Six minutes into the second half, Gündoğa found a second goal with De Bruyne finding him again in a good position with a sight on United’s goal. De Gea made a dive to try and save it this time, but it was unavoidable. United were once again back to the drawing board to come from behind again.

De Gea made a decent save to deny De Bruyne in the 61st minute after it seemed he was through on goal. United were seemingly, at least at this stage, seeking to push back and find another equaliser and try to win the FA Cup. Ten Hag made his first substitution in the match in the 62nd minute with Alejandro Garnacho replacing Christian Eriksen, who did not really get much involvement in the match. United needed the Argentinian international to inspire them.

United started to string something together after the substitution with Wan-Bissaka playing the ball forward, but City making the clearance. Victor Lindelof then got the ball, ran it into the final third, passed to Fernandes before Marcus Rashford was fed the ball and launched a shot which just rose over the crossbar. City seemed annoyed that they gave United a chance to level once again. Ten Hag will be hoping that his team can get another equaliser and push to win.

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As time was getting on in the match, United’s chance to get back in the game was disappearing. Ten Hag made a second substitution in the 78th minute with Wout Weghorst replacing Jadon Sancho, who I feel did not do anything spectacular. Fred was then booked a minute later for a could on Grealish, which was not all that big in my opinion. Two minutes later, Ortega was booked for wasting time in despatching the ball. United still needed a miracle at this point.

Ten Hag then made his third substitution with Scott McTominay replacing Victor Lindelof in the 83rd minute. United seemed to be throwing everything at City to try and find an equaliser to maybe take this to extra time to seek a winner. It was not going to be easy and pretty much impossible after what we’ve seen City can do. United pushed to try and get level but were not getting there.Four minutes were added on at the end of the second half. Could it be for United?

McTominay had a good chance in the first few minutes of added time, seemingly it looking like he would head the ball into the back of an empty net but it didn’t work like that. United were down on their luck and out of the game. Nothing was going to work for Ten Hag’s side. The final whistle came and City had done a domestic double, a week away from a possible treble. Ten Hag will now be looking ahead to the summer and probably a failure to invest.

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Player Ratings

David De Gea: Just stood there for İlkay Gündoğan’s goal. Not good enough. Never even looked to try and make a save. This is where Paella Dave comes unstuck at times like this. He did made a good save but it is not enough. ★★★★

Aaron Wan-Bissaka: Won a penalty for United in the 31st minute with Jack Grealish handling the ball in the box. Booked in added time in the first half for a foul on Grealish – not sure he touched him. One of United’s best players in the first half. I am proud of him. ★★★★★★★

Raphael Varane: Missed a chance in the first half. Defensively astute and dealt with the threat of Erling Haaland, who opted to go against Victor Lindelof instead. The Frenchman is a great player for United but would have been better with Lisandro Martinez at his side. ★★★★★★

Victor Lindelof: Struggled against Haaland throughout the match. Lapsed concentration, especially in the opening 13 seconds as he seemed to be the player whose hesitation cost him. He’s had a good season though but should have been more in the game. ★★★★★

Luke Shaw: The left-back was both quiet and disciplined against City. His defensive ability was not questioned but in terms of getting forward, there was not enough of it for my liking. City had United pinned back for much of the match. United are lightyears behind. ★★★★★★

Casemiro: Haaland got the better of him in the air seconds before the opening goal. He did well in the midfield, holding his own against a superior midfield. It is crucial that United improve the midfield this summer, plus in other areas – no penny pinching. ★★★★★★

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Fred: Probably his last ever match for United. It was always going to be either good or bad – and bad has been around for much longer. He made many fouls and was booked for one eventually. City capitalised by scoring from the free-kick awarded against him. Terrible. ★★★

Bruno Fernandes: Stepped up to take the penalty for United, beating Stefan Ortega to equalise for United – scoring his 14th goal of the season. He got involved to change the outcome of this match. He’s going to be annoyed United lost but it will get better. ★★★★★★

Christian Eriksen: The Dane was not able to keep up with the rigours of this match. He seemed out of energy early on in the match and I am surprised he lasted as long as he did. City had their game plan perfect against United in this match. ★★★★★

Jadon Sancho: This was a dire performance from the former City academy player. He just has not cut it at United. For the money he cost, his performances have not matched it. Had United had Antony ahead of this match, Sancho would have been benched. ★★★

Marcus Rashford: Did not perform as the striker all that well, proving that he is better on the left wing. Blazed one over the crossbar. United will need to invest in a top striker this summer, or be left behind once again – which is where the club lies at this time. ★★★★★

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Substitutes

Alejandro Garnacho: Replaced Eriksen 62′. He was a massive upgrade on Sancho. Should have started this match. He had a great chance on goal, but it curled wide of the target. He’s going placed if this Argentinian international. A player in the making. ★★★★★★

Wout Weghorst: Replaced Sancho 78′. Had no impact in this match. I wanted him to succeed but it really was dire for the majority of the time. He worked well though but when United needed to come back, a proper striker is needed. ★★★★★

Scott McTominay: Replaced Lindelof 83′. Nearly found the equaliser in added time at the end of the second half but headed wide rather than into the back of the net. Could have been his last ever match for United. Talented player but United need better. ★★★★★★

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Match Information

Goals: İlkay Gündoğan 1′, 51′; Bruno Fernandes 33; penalty

Assists: Kevin De Bruyne 1’, 51′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Lindelof (McTominay 83′), Shaw; Casemiro, Fred; Fernandes, Eriksen (Garnacho 62′), Sancho (Weghorst 72′); Rashford

Substitutes Not Used: Butland; Maguire, Malacia, Dalot; Pellistri; Elanga

Bookings: Stefan Ortega 81′, Rodri 90′; Aaron Wan-Bissaka 45+4′, Fred 79′

Written by John Walker

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About editor 2092 Articles
I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.