Alex Ferguson had Robin van Persie on the bench in case the Hammers got up to any funny stuff.
BIG SAM ALLARDYCE loves a cup tie and they don’t come any bigger than a visit from the record cup-winners, Manchester United.
Welcome along to our liveblog of the FA Cup’s glamour tie.
Here are the starting line-ups:
Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Evans, Smalling, Vidic, Buttner Welbeck, Scholes, Cleverely, Kagawa, Hernendez.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Collins, Tomkins, Potts, Diarra, Nolan, Collison, Joe Cole, Vaz Te, C.Cole.
Who will ever forget this bizarre FA Cup moment when Fabien Barthez tried to outfox Paolo di Canio at Old Trafford?
YouTube credit: barbarian981
Here is the United bench – Lindegaard, Ferdinand, Valencia, Giggs, Young, van Persie, Macheda.
Cleverley almost slides Hernandez in but there is too much on his pass. Hammers fans in good voice. Joe Cole starts for West Ham and Rafael is in the Man United midfield, as is Paul Scholes. Buttner, who chopped and hacked United to a League Cup exite at Stmford Bridge, is in at left back.
Here are the WHUFC subs: Spiegel, Reid, Jarvis, Taylor, Noble, Spence, Lee.
Possession football from United but no vital incisions yet. Cole tracks back and blocks a Rafael cross. He then battles against Smalling to earn a free out.
Close! Scholes finds Smalling striding down the right flank and dinks a ball straight to him. Smalling squares across the six-yard line but it just evades the lunge of Hernandez.
Even closer! West Ham nearly score from a corner but Scholes, on the line, flicks away a Carlton Cole header. It lobs across the goal-line before Vidic heads clear for another corner.
East-ender David Beckham is in the crowd and one of his brood is wearing a red, woolly United hat.
Ball in the net but Hernandez is flagged for offside and Welbeck’s effort will not count. A moment earlier Collison had a drive outside the box but it was always rising.
Off the line again! Potts hacks away a Vidic header as Welbeck lurks nearby. Back-and-forth stuff. 20 minutes gone.
GOAL! Tom Cleverley ’22 (Man United)
Sweeping United move and Hernandez takes on a first-time pass from Rafael and hooks in a low cross. It evades Welbeck but Cleverley is charging in. He keeps his composure to slot in a fine goal.
GOAL! James Collins (West Ham) ’26
Vaz Te passes to Joe Cole and Paul Scholes is nowhere near tight enough to prevent the cross. Cole picks out James Collins near the penalty spot and his header goes in bottom righthand corner with De Gea helpless to stop it. His first goal for the Hammers.
Collins was unmarked as he met the cross.
West Ham fans screaming for a penalty as Nolan goes down easily after a nudge in the penalty box.
Joe Cole made his league debut, as a sub, against Manchester United and I was in Old Trafford to see it. United were 4-0 up so Roy Keane decided to personally man-mark Cole. He got about two touches and was well and truly roughed up by the final whistle.
Welbeck streaks clear and really should pick out Hernandez a he peels off to the back post. The English striker shows some commendable greed and shoots straight at Jaaskelainen. The Mexican throws his arms up in frustration.
United are living in fear of West Ham frees and corners and De Gea has not come out to claim a single one. Welbeck gets clipped to stop a promising move but United waste the free. Vaz Te then locates a fan in Row W and finds him with an off-target swang of the boot. That’s not a typo – I meant swang.
Here is the Man United opener:
YouTube credit: futbolmanager2
We are into first-half injury time.
And the Collins equaliser:
YouTube credit: futbolmanager2
Manchester United started off well and deservedly took the lead but West Ham have battled back well and, through Collison, Nolan and Cole, were starting to hold sway in the midfield.
What do you make of the action so far? Is an upset on the cards or do United have enough quality [and van Persie in reserve] to see this one out?
The teams are back on the pitch at Upton Park and West Ham will kick-off. Here we go…
Van Persie and Ferdinand warming up on the sidelines as Joe Cole has the first blaze in anger of the second half. Well over. Rafael the lines up a strike and it smashes into Collins’ abdomen.
Rafael and Welbeck link up again and the ball drops to Cleverley but he can not keep his shot on target this time.
The United players are doing their best to avoid any passes to Buttner. He has made two good dashes up the left in the second half but Scholes, then Cleverley ignore his waves. Smalling has two attempts to get a good cross in. The second finds Welbeck but bobbles out of play. United bossing the second-half possession.
Mumford & Sons have nothing on Beckham:
United gnome loves United. (Credit: Dinara Buttner)
Flying save from De Gea as Cole gets a clear header. A bit of extra effort made for the TV cameras.
GOAL! James Collins (West Ham) ’59
Carbon-copy of the first goal as Cole is given acres to cross, no-one marks Collins and his header fnds the corner of the net with De Gea stranded.
Another super dinked pass hurtles 40 yards but just bounces past Smalling and out of play. Van Persie and Valencia are coming on for 25 minute cameos.
67 minutes gone and Buttner wins United a corner. Hernandez and Scholes off for Van Persie and Valencia. The Dutchman gets a head to the outswinger but it is wide and a goal-kick.
Jarvis does well to get a cross in but United clear. Van Persie and Buttner link up down the left and the chipped cross is headed over by Welbeck, who was airborne for an unnatural amount of time. Into the final 20.
Spot the difference – here is Collins’ second goal:
YouTube credit: rossisportsTV
Alex Ferguson has Macheda, Young and Giggs left as attacking options and the elder statesman is getting the nod. All hands on deck, and behind the ball, for the Londoners.
Giggs on for Smalling. Guy Demel (my Fantasy Football chum) makes a road-cone out of Welbeck but hooking a ball over his head and passing calmly out of danger. Just over 10 minutes are left.
Two United corners come to nothing before Vidic flicks a Valencia cross well wide. Hernandez looks on from his new position, on the bench. West Ham are dealing with every attack handily thus far.
Jarvis earns his side a breather as he teases Vidic then takes the foul. Free in the left-hand corner. Noland flicks on, Vidic clears and Collison thumps the ball into the stratosphere. Six minutes to play.
Valencia gets clear down the right but overhits his cross. How they could use an in-form Nani here. Hammer head likes what he sees:
(Nick Potts/PA Wire)
De Gea does just enough, with a stretched out leg to get a touch to a knock down intended for Carlton Cole and prevent a certain goal. Into the 89th minute now. Man United have been listless.
That’s the chance United were waiting for! Rafael cross and a charging Giggs meets it with his head from four yards out. Well over though.
GOAL! Robin van Persie ’91 (Man United)
Wonder goal for United. Giggs from the left flank finds van Persie with a raking 60 yard pass. The Dutchman takes a sublime, cushioned touch with his left and fires in low and hard with his right.
Buttner earns United a corner in the 93rd minute. Cleared by Cole. Giggs chips back in. Kagawa squares for Valencia on the edge of the box but he blazes over.
That was the final chance. FULL-TIME and a replay at Old Trafford awaits.
That’s it from us but, fear not, we will endeavour to find a clip of the United equaliser and stick it up as a stand-alone post. The pass, the touch, the finish, the goal – it was that good. Cheers for the company.
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