Soccer Magazine

Super Van Der Sar is Man of the Match, Bolton Headed for Wembley

By Thetoaststaff
Super van der Sar is Man of the Match, Bolton headed for Wembley
Arsenal came out foot on the gas in the early part of the FA Cup quarterfinal tie, but Edwin van der Sar made some stellar early saves to quell the attack.  Manchester United countered Arsenal's offensive weapons with seven defenseman (no, that's not a typo).  The Da Silva twins, both normally left and right side defense, were dispatched along the midfield wings.  Chris Smalling and Nemanja Vidic were the central defending pair while Patrice Evra filled his usual left back position and Wes Brown occupied right back.  Defender John O'Shea paired with Darron Gibson in the center of midfield.  Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez started as the only true offensive players on the pitch.  They employed the "bend but don't break" defense, as Arsenal controlled most of the first half but failed to penetrate United's net.  Despite Arsenal's dominance in possession, it was United who struck.  A pinpoint pass from Wayne Rooney over the top of Arsenal's defense led to a rather impressive headed effort by Javier Hernandez, who was able to get enough on the shot to trouble Arsenal keeper Almunia into merely defecting the ball, which landed right on the foot of Fabio Da Silva who banged home his second goal for the club.  With the first goal in hand, United's super goalkeeper refused to let Arsenal answer.  He first made a fingertip save on a Robin van Persie effort and then came up with a quick save on Samir Nasri before the first half whistle.  Three minutes after play resumed (and after a few more brilliant saves by van der Sar), Rooney squeaked a cheeky header across goal and just inside the far post.  Arsenal would continue to make chances while van der Sar would continue to keep them out.  He was well deserving of his man of the match award as United becomes one of four remaining teams in the FA Cup. 
Bolton Wanderers will join Manchester United at Wembley for the semifinals of the FA Cup after their thrilling win over Birmingham City.  Bolton, a surprising top-of-the-Premier-League-table squad in their own right, has now booked themselves a trip to Wembley as one of the four remaining squads in the Cup.  It was a back and forth affair with Bolton opening the scoring on a 21st minute goal from Johan Elmander after he broke clear from a weak clearance effort by Birmingham.  Birmingham tied it up with a sneaky shot from Cameron Jerome as he put it just inside the post from just inside the box.  Bolton earned penalty in the 65th minute to set up their second goal, a penalty taken by Kevin Davies.  The drama was not to end there, however, as Birmingham equalized again with just 10 minutes left to play.  Kevin Phillips struck home perhaps the best goal of the season (or at least the FA Cup) when he dipped a twisting, half-chance volley over the head of the Bolton keeper, who never stood a chance.  Unfortunately, the goal would come in a losing effort.  No earlier than the 89th minute did Bolton head home their third and final goal to put the game away for the Wanderers.  It was a remarkably entertaining game, certainly one of the best of the FA Cup season thus far.

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