English Football League Cup - EFL

After the bore fest of Sunday’s FA cup games, I was looking forward to last night’s EFL cup semi final between Manchester United and Hull City. It’s safe to say it would have been a bit awkward for the recently sacked Mike Phelan, who was the guest of dishonour for Sky Sports. Simon Thomas, the presenter for the match, was clearly trying not to bring up his recent sacking which was as discreet Ronaldo’s “tax free” reference having won the Ballon D’Or.

The now slightly more mature, hair transplanted and slightly less podgy Rooney was the focus of the evening. One more goal and he would have broken Sir Bobby Charlton’s all time goal scoring record for United. Ironic really that he didn’t get a kick all game, despite United’s dominance. Those dodgy blokes who sell knock off special occasion football T-Shirts outside Old Trafford are kicking themselves, won’t be long lads… honest.

Hull City have so many players injured the Red Cross has been called into the King Com stadium to prevent a player crisis, the word on the grapevine is that volunteers are being recruited if the situations get worse. A few years ago the Hull owner wanted to change the club name to Hull Tigers, I have a suggestion if he ever wanted to change. That name would have to be clearly Robert Snodgrass FC.

The reason I suggested this is because apart from him, Hull have so far this season not had any decent Premier League quality in the starting eleven. Forget injuries, Even with a full strength side, Snodgrass is head and shoulders above the rest and I’m not adding in a Joe Hart transfer rumour there!

United dominated the opening period as Mata, Rashford and Mkhitaryan went close for the home side early on. Paul Pogba showed he is a dab hand for United as he dominated the midfield. I was quite surprised that United were not five nil up after twenty minutes. Hull were left with only a few Snodgrass free kicks to float into the box then out again for a goal kick and there was an occasion when Diomande hit the post but it was ruled offside. That was it from Hull’s point of view.

Steve Bruce was caught by the Sky cameras watching the game with his son Alex, who also plays for Hull. No doubt Sky will spin that into a transfer saga given the lack of any action so far in the January window but to be fair to Alex Bruce I would rather play for Villa the Hull at the moment. Twelve months ago it was probably the other way round, what a difference a year makes.

United struggled towards half time with Pogba showing how well spent eighty million pounds was spent on him by deciding to duck out of header when it was easier to score from a Valencia cross. So a goalless and pretty uneventful first half, the highlight being the Hull fans singing ‘City of culture we know what we are’ which, if you have been to Hull, you know how laughable that title is really. I noticed that Mourinho did his usual attention seeking ploy by walking off into the dressing room before the rest of the team, you could see him look for the cameras as he is walked into the tunnel the little rascal.

The half time analysis wasn’t much better than the game, Mike Phelan was still depressed from earlier on and for some reason Phil Neville was asked to do punditry, Gary must not have been available. The second half started as I made my way back to my seat with a cuppa, I was literally an armchair supporter this evening ladies and gentlemen!

Early in the second half Mkhitaryan and Rashford nearly ran into each other before the former passed the ball into the Hull keeper’s hands. A brilliant Pogba ball to Rooney saw the striker drag his shot wide of the near post on the fiftieth minute, I noticed for the first time ever during this game how much of a lump Antonio Valencia is. That guy has some guns, not actual guns just for the record as I can’t really prove that.

The goal finally came when Antonio ‘The Lump’ Valencia crossed to the far post, Mkhitaryan headed it to the near post and Mata made sure of it. Mkhitaryan won’t be getting a mention from Wayne Rooney when he breaks the record after the number of times he failed to play Wazza in. It was if he didn’t want his skipper to grab the headlines.

Rooney was replaced by Anthony Martial, meaning the record rolls over to another day. The Frenchman is having a mixed season so far. Even the United fans sing a song about Martial with the lyrics making a reference to fifty million down the drain. Hull’s only real chance in the second half came from Diomande who tried his very best Christian Benteke impression with an overhead kick that must have ended up back in Hull faster than the team coach after the game.

A contender for worst free kick of the season was also appeared. Mata had the ball on the edge of the Hull area but instead of crossing or shooting, he played the ball straight to a Hull player rather than the five United players in the penalty area. This was the kind of stuff José got annoyed with Juan for down at Chelsea, so it was a good thing he scored the goal. That free kick summed up the United performance, although Pogba showed Mata how to do it by smashing a near perfect free kick onto the post soon after.

You know you are desperate when, with twenty minutes to go, Fellaini is being brought on as an impact sub. How they are getting rid of Schneiderlin and keeping him I will never know. What was even more laughable was the Sky Sports commentary team made reference to Adel Hernandez, saying he was a poacher. A poacher of what is still a mystery. From what I’m seeing he’s more like a poached egg than a poacher and there was more movement when I was cracking my eggs into the frying pan than Hernandez demonstrated in the opposition penalty area. Speaking of eggs, the game was wrapped up when Fellaini, who is a complete egg of a player, headed the ball across goal to make it two nil to United. I’ve always rated that Fellaini, top player.

Jose will look back on this game with a feeling of relief. United look set for a place at Wembley. It was quite one sided with big parts of quality missing throughout, not only did Hull lose the game but they lost a further two players to injury in this game. Those Red Cross volunteers will come in handy if the rumour mill is correct.

United went to Hull and back and planned a trip to Wembley in the process. It was an easy win for the Reds. Maybe the Liverpool game will be better?