It was certainly a lively start by Arsene Wengers men. In the opening minutes, Arshavin had picked up the ball on the wing, floated past Wes Brown and hit a shot that went straight down the throat of Van Der Sar. Then, on the 10 minute mark, the 40-year old devil threw the ball straight to the Arsenal strike force which allowed Arshavin to have another shot; this time going tamely wide.
Now it was time for Man United to attack. Fabio stormed down the wing to deliver a wonderful ball to his brother, Rafael, who headed up and over the inviting goal. Then it was fairly usual stuff for the next ten minutes: pass, tackle, break, pass, tackle, break. The United fans broke out into a chant, telling the 9000 Arsenal fans that "Your support is f**king s**t" This clearly upset the Gunners, who allowed United to break.
The on-form Van Der Sar threw the ball out to Fabio, who lobbed it wide to Rafael. He ran down the wing and cut it back to Fabio. The younger brother then tapped it to Rooney and he crossed to Hernandez, his header bouncing off the palms of Almunia and into the path of Fabio to strike it into the roof of the net. It was a great free-flowing move that sparked the match into life. 1-0!
Two minutes after the goal, Man United were back on the offensive. Rooney crossing the ball into the waiting Fabio to head in his second goal, unfortunately he could not twist his head quick enough and instead knocked it out for a throw. The end to end match continued it's trend when Robin Van Persie had two chances to score, first of all a curling shot that was tipped by the United keeper and then a second chance when he headed wide from a corner. Arsenal were unable to create anymore real chances in the first half (apart from a near post Nasri shot) due to the defensive dominance of Chris Smalling. The former Fulham defender had the Gunners attack in the palm of his hand, blocking several shots and making important interceptions.
Second half, and Arsenal went out all guns blazing. Van Der Sar was forced to make a double save from Koscielny (what he was doing in attack... nobody knows) and then had to block Arshavins incoming cross.
But all this attacking left the Gunners vulnerable and were quickly punished by a second goal! Rafael clipped the ball into Hernandez whos shot was blocked and deflected into the path of Rooney's bald bonce, which allowed him to nod into the empty net.
It was 2-0 to the Red Devils, and attempts on goal by Nasri, Diaby, Van Persie, Chamakh, Wilshere, Chamakh again and Rosicky all failed to get past the unstoppable Van Der Sar, as Arsene Wenger's men grew more frustrated, but it was about to get alot worse. Rooney and Hernandez broke, Rooney was found by a Giggs long ball, who cut it back to Hernandez and his shot was blocked by a combination of Djourou's body and Almunia's hand. But Djourou's dislocated his shoulder in the process and had to receive treatment on the pitch for over 6 minutes before finally being stretchered off.
During the 8 minutes of stoppage time (because of the injury) Rooney had two chances to score. The first was a weak half volley which was hit straight at Almunia, the second was a poor finish after a sublime pass from Paul Scholes. There was enough time for one last chance for the unlucky Hernandez, who was given the ball by Rooney only to shoot at oncoming Arsenal keeper.
FULL TIME! Arsenal have now not won away since mid-January and must recover from a very bad fortnight after being knocked out of 3 cup competitions and sustaining a season long injury to Johan Djourou. Manchester United go through to the semi's along with Bolton, who beat Carling Cup winners Birmingham 3-2 earlier today.
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Gibbs, Denilson (Chamakh 59), Wilshere, Diaby (Ramsey 71), Arshavin (Rosicky 71), Van Persie, Nasri
Manchester United: Van Der Sar, Brown, Vidic, Smalling, Evra (Scholes 80), Fabio (Valencia 45), O'Shea, Gibson, Rafael (Giggs 63), Hernandez, Rooney
BeeTeeSports Man of the Match: Edwin Van Der Sar (9/10)
(P.S. I must apologise for constant jokes about Rooney and elbows in recent article's, but the BeeTee Sports team found it hilarious)