Shearer Says: “The hard work starts now for Marcus Rashford. He is not unknown anymore and people will suss out what his strengths and weaknesses are…”
Caballero was the star of the show in the shootout
Manchester City were the better team at Wembley at the weekend and they deserved to win. They certainly had more chances and really should have had the game wrapped up before extra-time.
Once it went to penalties, Caballero was the star of the show. He was never fooled by the false run up, but he was sneaking a yard on every penalty but the officials didn’t spot it. He said after the game that he did his homework on where he thought the Liverpool players were going to put them. So he should but that’s good professionalism from him and City in case it did go to a shootout. They were the better team and deserved to win.
I am not a fan of the stop-start run up that some of the Liverpool players chose, including Coutinho who ended up missing his penalty. You do have to do whatever suits you best though and what makes you confident.
It’s a horrible feeling having to go to a shootout, I’ve been there many times myself. My method was always to pick a spot and do my homework on the ‘keeper I was coming up against. I’d always look at if I had taken a penalty against him before, if so, where did I put it. Once I decided where I was going to put my penalty, I’d never change my mind.
There were some good penalties at Wembley. Yaya Toure’s to win the shootout was great. Emre Can’s dink down the middle was incredible for the first man up. That took some balls!
But I didn’t understand Liverpool’s order of penalty takers. Their best striker, Daniel Sturridge was not even one of the first five and I’d have thought Milner, who I saw take penalties at Newcastle and is experienced would have been higher up the order.
You have to start the shootout with your best players as it might not get down to the fifth penalty, as proved to be the case. I was always first up when I was involved in a shootout. It is crucial to get off to a good start as it puts pressure on the opposition.
City will now want the Premier League and Champions League on top of their Capital One Cup success. Pellegrini gambled, playing the kids in the FA Cup and it didn’t pay off in that game but they have one trophy in the bag now, with two still to play for. It looks like they are going to get to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, but they have a lot of work to do in the Premier League.
You do have to have some sympathy for Liverpool because it is never nice losing at Wembley, particularly on penalties. I’ve been there before with England at Euro 96 where we lost to Germany. When you’ve got all the way to the final and lose on penalties, it is very tough to take. However, Liverpool will admit that they were second best on the day. It goes to show Jurgen Klopp has a lot of work to do at Liverpool.
Hard work starts now for Rashford as he is no longer an unknown
It’s been a good week for Louis van Gaal and Manchester United with three wins coming their way in different competitions. Yes, they were expected to beat Shrewsbury and Midtjylland but this season that has been far from guaranteed and the win against Arsenal was a huge result especially considering the side they had to field.
Marcus Rashford has been given his chance by default as he would not have been playing if it wasn’t for injuries in the squad. He’s taken his opportunity with both hands. He could not have had better start scoring four goals in two games. It’s alright coming in being the unknown but now it’s all changed. Everyone knows who he is and the hard works starts now for him. People will suss out what his strengths and weakness are.
We’ve seen it many times before at both at Manchester United and elsewhere with kids coming through early in their careers. Macheda is a prime example of that. He was meant to be the next big thing after he scored at a young age for the first team. 5-6 clubs later, at the age of 24, he is now at Cardiff. Rashford should not go chasing the rewards. He should get his head down, work hard and the rewards will follow.
I scored a hat-trick on my debut for Southampton at the age of 17 so I was a year younger than Rashford. I then didn’t score for 5-6 games afterwards because people work you out and you have to work out how to adjust your game to overcome that. The lad has had a fantastic start though and it is great to see.
Questions were asked of Leicester and Tottenham and they found the answers
Both Leicester and Tottenham left it late this weekend to score their winners but at this stage of the season it is all about three points, something Arsenal were meant to clinch. When the teamsheets were handed in at Old Trafford and those Arsenal players looked at that makeshift back 4 and inexperienced team, they would have been thinking what a chance they had. Instead they started sluggishly, got worse and were useless all day.
Leicester and Tottenham weren’t at their best this weekend but they still ground out the three points. It doesn’t really matter how you play at this stage of the season. It’s about fighting and scrapping for the title which is there for the taking.
If you had said at the beginning of the season that with 11 games to go Leicester would be top of the league and Tottenham second, people would have thought you’d have been on the sauce!
I’ve looked at all the fixtures for the four teams still in this run-in and it would not surprise me if it went down to the last game of the season and the league was won on goal difference.
The good news for Arsenal is they don’t have a week to sit on that result. They have a great opportunity at home to Swansea on Wednesday where they can try to rectify the performance. There was a lack of organisation, leadership and character against United. All those questions we have been asking about Arsenal over the last 12 years are still coming up now.
Do you agree with Alan’s views? Then why not head to Coral and place your bets on the latest Premier League action this midweek?