Another Wembley Cup Final trip, this time for the League (EFL) Cup and another win, I had a great weekend catching up with family and friends down south as well as a great day out with my lad on Sunday.
I stayed with relatives down south on the Saturday, which meant my trip to Wembley itself yesterday was a lot shorter than trekking down from Manchester. Of course it was a lot journey back home last night via train and then getting picked up in the car half way home. We won though so I wasn’t too concerned with what time I got back!
Before kick I heard Southampton had been to Wembley only six times in their history. I thought I’ve been more times than that myself, in fact I probably went more times than that during the 1990’s. What with all the FA Cup semi-finals, finals and of course numerous Charity Shields. United ourselves have been to Wembley a whopping 49 times in total and that is quite some feat.
Obviously, all the Southampton talk was about 41 years ago and their first and only major trophy, which they won under Lawrie McMenemy by beating us of course. They obviously thought a second trophy would be magnificent and against us again too. Shame we were going for out 44th major honour then.
Jose had different ideas as he wanted to become the first United manager to win a trophy in his first season. Which is what we’re all about in my opinion. Winning trophies is an addiction so whether it be the league cup or not, win it and that then becomes a stepping stone towards hopefully more. Mourinho had a very good success rate at finals too with just two defeats in the 12 finals he’d taken teams too. With our man Zlatan looking for his 19th major trophy himself.
Onto the game itself, Southampton started with the same eleven as last time out against Sunderland in the league. Their biggest asset though was the fact they’d not conceded a single goal against Palace, Sunderland, Arsenal or Liverpool in this cup run. Our biggest asset was the fact we had six of our starting eleven from last years FA Cup final starting this game and knew the Wembley pitch
The big talking point and still is, was on 13 minutes, when Gabbiadini goal was wrongly rules out for offside. It clearly wasn’t but the speed of the movement and distraction for the linesman mean he got it wrong. Get over it, mistakes happen all over the pitch in every single game that is played. I can think of numerous ones against United but just accept it for being part of the game.
Just five minutes later and a silly late and pointless tackle from Romeu on Herrera allowed Zlatan to smash home a 30 yard free-kick. Southampton had been the better team but we were in front after being more decisive. Herrera was then booked for nothing, I’ve seen the replay and it still baffles me. Southampton kept playing though and they created more chance which De Gea had to save. Their best one being when Tadic easily got in behind but his shot was tame.
Then a great move from our lads, Pogba to Rojo, to Mata, to Martial back to Rojo who found Lingard in loads of space. He controlled it brilliantly away from himself, took his time and passed it into the corner of their goal. 2-0. And on a personal note for him, to make that three goals in three games at Wembley.
Gabbiadini then made it three goals in three games in total for Southampton right on half time to get them back in the game. At that moment the game changed and within a few minutes of the second half he’d showed his strikers instinct. With a wonderful goal or the turn that it so difficult to do, but he made it look easy from the angle he was at.
Southampton’s build up play and crossing had been fantastic all day and stood in the stands at Wembley I honestly thought to myself, that they fully deserved to be back into the game, regardless of our gutted I currently felt.
Everything nearly changed again then, on 62 minutes a Romeu header could have given them the great comeback and lead but thankfully the bar was in the way. A few minutes later was embarrassing though when the saints fans decided to light up their end with the lights from their mobile phones. what was that all about?
With ten minutes to go I was glad to see the back of Gabbiadini as he was replaced by Long. Southampton kept coming and put us under some great pressure but from a second consecutive corner we broke away. It started with Zlatan making another defensive clearance and then followed the ball out quickly and before he knew it, he had the ball back again and heading towards their goal.
Strangely though his run forward stopped, he played the ball off and started walking, then he gets the ball back, plays if off and makes his move by plodding into the box unmarked. By the time he’s in the area, Martial had battled well with the ball, found Herrera who in turn whipped a ball in to find Zlatan’s head and we’d won another trophy.
Mourinho wasn’t too happy with performance, but the win now takes him level with Sir Alex and Brian Clough in winning the League Cup trophy the most times ahead of the like of George Graham and Bob Paisley. Great day out!