Cambridge 0 Man United 0: Three talking points
Three talking points as Cambridge force a replay with Manchester United
Man United frustrated as lack of pace prevents real threat
With the gulf in quality that should have been evident in this tie, it was the hosts, Cambridge – some 72 places below their opponents – that looked the better side in the first half. A well-drilled outfit, the side 12th in League Two controlled their possession well and caused plenty of problems to Louis van Gaal’s side. While the visitors did enjoy a wealth of possession in the second half – as much as 80 per cent at one stage – they couldn’t penetrate the disciplined Cambridge defence. Perhaps the most frustrating point for United was the lack of any genuine pace that they managed to create with all their possession. Antonio Valencia was quick down the right wing but sporadic in his advances, while Angel DiMaria and Adnan Januzaj looked dreadfully out of knick. Credit to Cambridge though, they defended resolutely and countered with enthusiasm.
Money masterminds massive payday for Cambridge
While the die hard Cambridge fan would have been dreaming of an historic win for the home side, the manager, chief executive and the rest of the board will be delighted with the prospect of a trip to Old Trafford for the replay. A potential £1.5m day out for Richard Money and his men is just what the FA Cup is all about and it will mean continued financial stability for a club that almost went out of business not so long ago.
‘Twitchy’ Man United’s cup struggles continue
Having been dumped out of the Capital One Cup by MK Dons already this season, and made hard work of their third round win over Yeovil, United would have been keen not to make a meal out of this match. Try as they might, they couldn’t get the ball moved at a pace that was uncomfortable for the hosts. Van Gaal spoke before the match about the 4-4-2 formation causing ‘twitchiness’ among the coaches and it looked like he was far too eager to revert to his favoured 3-5-2 having started with a diamond midfield. The truth is, despite Marcos Rojo impressing for United, their lack of quality at the back means they themselves are unsure of the right system to suit them properly. With indecision comes insecurity and an obvious unease at the mix of tactics. Phil Jones did a good job in the heart of the defence with Rojo but they looked less firm with Carrick at the centre of a back three. It would be difficult to see United achieve anything this season unless they strengthen at the back, and they are running out of time to do just that.