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FA Cup

  • 12 March 2011
  • • 17:15
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: C. Foy
  • • Attendance: 74693

Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal: Fabio & Wayne Rooney send Red Devils into semi-finals to ensure Gunners' miserable week ends in FA Cup exit

Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal: Fabio & Wayne Rooney send Red Devils into semi-finals to ensure Gunners' miserable week ends in FA Cup exit

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Red Devils still in hunt for treble after reaching last four

Manchester United extended their unbeaten home run against Arsenal to seven games as they sealed their place in the semi finals of this season’s FA Cup with a 2-0 victory.

Goals from Fabio da Silva and Wayne Rooney won the game for the home side and dumped Arsene Wenger’s men out of a third competition in two weeks, leaving them with only the Premier League to concentrate on.

Sir Alex Ferguson surprised many before kick-off by naming a totally new midfield compared to the one from last weekend’s defeat to Liverpool. Darron Gibson, John O’Shea, Fabio and Rafael da Silva all started as the United boss made five changes to his line-up.

Nemanja Vidic returned to bolster the defence with Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez partners in attack. Ecuadorian winger Antonio Valencia returned to the United first-team squad after being named on the substitutes' bench following five months out with a broken ankle.

Gunners boss Wenger made four changes to the side that lost to Barcelona in midweek with Kieran Gibbs replacing Gael Clichy and Manuel Almunia in for the injured Wojciech Szczesny. Denilson was recalled in place of the injured Cesc Fabregas, and Andrey Arshavin was selected instead of Tomas Rosicky but Robin van Persie was fit enough to start in attack.

It was the visitors, roared on by 9,000 travelling fans, who had the first chance of the game in just the third minute through Arshavin. The Russian picked the ball up just inside the United half, raced beyond Wes Brown before playing a one-two with Van Persie on the edge of the penalty area but his left foot shot was easily saved by Edwin van der Sar.

United’s first chance of the game came in the 15th minute as Gibson won the ball in midfield before releasing Fabio on the left wing. The Brazilian delivered an excellent cross into the penalty area where it was met by his twin brother Rafael but he couldn’t keep his header down from seven yards as the chance went begging.

Arsenal settled quicker their hosts and were controlling possession with lots of short passes and movement off the ball, and they nearly made it count nine minutes later when Van Persie tested Van der Sar with a long range effort. The Dutchman received the ball from Bacary Sagna on the right hand side of the penalty area befire cutting inside onto his left foot but his effort was easily saved by the United keeper.

Despite the visitors being in the ascendency it was United who took the lead in the 28th minute through Fabio, his second goal for the club in four games after opening his account against Wigan in the Premier League.

The Brazilian began the move himself by releasing his twin Rafael down the right wing; he played the ball back into his brother who rolled the ball back to Rooney. The striker chipped a cross into Hernandez, his header was saved was saved by Almunia but the keeper couldn’t hold onto the ball and Fabio slid in and fired the ball into the roof of the net.

The goal did little to change the flow of the game as Arsenal continued to control but were unable to create many chances as the United defence remained resolute. The Gunners' best chance came in the final minute of the half as Van Persie found Samir Nasri on the left side of the penalty area, the Frenchman cut inside Brown and sent a right foot shot through the defenders legs looking for the bottom corner but Van der Sar saved well down to his right at his near post.

Fab-ulous start | Fabio celebrates his opening goal

With Nani and Park Ji-Sung both injured United introduced Valencia as a half-time substitute, five months after breaking his ankle against Rangers in the Champions League. The Ecuadorian winger replaced Fabio and was given an warm reception from the Old Trafford crowd.

Arsenal began the half looking to get themselves back in the tie and came very close in the 48th minute through Laurent Kosicelny. The defender played a neat one-two with Arshavin on the edge of the penalty area but rather than shoot he looked to play in his team-mate only for a United defender to block the cross. The ball fell back to the Frenchman but his right foot shot was well saved by Van der Sar.

One minute later United made Arsenal pay as Rooney doubled their lead. Rafael went on a jinking run through the Gunners' defence in the penalty area but while his low cross was stopped by Djourou in front of Hernandez, the ball bounced up to Rooney who headed into the net from five yards.

The goal stunned Arsenal who had looked lively in the opening minutes of the half, and they got their composure back to create another chance in the 57th minute. Sagna delivered a right wing cross which was only cleared as far as Nasri on the edge of the penalty area but his long range strike was straight at Van der Sar.

The visitors were desperately looking for a way back into the game but were struggling to find that killer touch to peg United back. In the 64th minute Van Persie came agonisingly close with a curling shot; receiving the ball inside the area from Wilshere but his seeing effort dropped just over the top corner of Van der Sar’s goal.

And five minutes later the United goalkeeper was called into action again, this time by substitute Marouane Chamakh. The Moroccan striker replaced Denilson and nearly scored with his first sight of goal; the chance created by Arshavin as he teased Brown before rolling the ball into the striker’s path but his low shot was smothered by Van der Sar.

Arsenal continued to press and brought Tomas Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey on to try and open United up and they came close in the 75th minute after a wonderful run by Jack Wilshere. The youngster dribbled across the penalty area before playing a pass into Van Persie who returned the ball to the England midfielder but his left foot shot was just wide of United's goal.

One minute later they should have got on the score sheet through Chamakh but the Moroccan was unable to convert a great cross from Sagna. The French full-back delivered an inch perfect cross onto the head of the striker, and he headed it into the ground but it was too close to Van der Sar who palmed away the shot.

Yet another chance for the visitors came moments later but they found United’s goalkeeper in excellent form. Rosicky and Nasri worked some space for the Czech midfielder 25-yards from goal but his long range shot was well saved again by Van der Sar.

United were playing very much on the counter attack and with 10 minutes to play they nearly extended their lead further through Hernandez. Substitute Ryan Giggs released Rooney behind the Arsenal defence, his low cross was met by Hernandez, but his flicked shot deflected off Djourou and looped towards goal only for Almunia to claw the ball away.

Unfortunately for the defender a clash with team-mate Sagna saw him stretchered off with a suspected shoulder injury, leaving Arsenal with ten men having made their three substitutions earlier in the game.

In the first of eight added minutes Rooney came close to doubling his tally as a Valencia cross found its way to him at the back post but his volley was easily gathered by Almunia.

Rosicky had a fantastic chance to grab a consoloation goal for the visitors in the 95th minute, but as Sagna's low right wing cross fizzed across the six yard line the Czech missed his kick and the ball rolled to safety.

With game almost over United were denied a third by some great goalkeeping from Almunia. A excellent ball from Scholes released Rooney down the left wing, his low cross was met by Hernandez but the Spanish keeper saved well with his body.

The result caps a horrid week for Arsenal - dumped out of two cup competitions and leaving them with the the league title to concerate on. United, by contrast, carry on their search for the treble.

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