Manchester United vs. Arsenal: Winners and Losers from 2014/15 FA Cup

Jerrad Peters@@jerradpetersWorld Football Staff WriterMarch 9, 2015

Manchester United vs. Arsenal: Winners and Losers from 2014/15 FA Cup

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    Arsenal's first victory at Old Trafford since 2006 ensured a 28th FA Cup semi-final appearance at the expense of Manchester United, who finished Monday's 2-1 quarter-final defeat with 10 men after Angel Di Maria's ejection.

    Nacho Monreal's 25th-minute strike from in close opened the scoring for the Gunners, although Wayne Rooney brought United level just moments later when he headed Di Maria's cross past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

    The stage was set for second-half dramatics, and former United striker Danny Welbeck provided them just after the hour mark when he pounced on Antonio Valencia's back pass, rounded David De Gea and scored what would prove to be the winning goal.

    Overall, there were several standout performances in the match, as well as one or two that were rather less impressive.

    Following are the winners and losers from the encounter.

Winner: Santi Cazorla, Who Put in a Workmanlike Shift in Midfield

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    Santi Cazorla continued to excel in his deeper role Monday and played an important part in Arsenal's 2-1 win at Manchester United.

    According to WhoScored.com, the Spain international touched the ball 59 times, completed 87.5 percent of his passes and, most importantly, threw himself into an eye-popping six tackles as he out-worked the likes of Daley Blind and Ander Herrera, who was withdrawn at the break.

    "Cazorla deserves a goal tonight, he's been superb," tweeted Matt Law of The Telegraph.

Loser: Angel Di Maria, Who Disgracefully Got Himself Sent off

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    Angel Di Maria had actually put in a half-decent display until the 77th minute, when he was sent off for a pair of bookings in a matter of seconds.

    The Argentina international had supplied a number of dangerous crosses to that point, one of which provided the assist to Wayne Rooney's goal in the 29th minute.

    But after being rightfully booked for diving, Di Maria grabbed referee Michael Oliver's shirt in frustration and was promptly shown a second yellow card.

    "Di Maria has been a fool there, grabbing referee's shirt. Stupid, stupid way to get sent off," analysed Oliver Holt of the Daily Mail.

Winner: Nacho Monreal, Who Opened the Scoring

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    Nacho Monreal not only held his own opposite Angel Di Maria and Antonio Valencia on the Arsenal left flank, but he also generally out-played the pair and, midway through the first half, opened the scoring for the Gunners.

    Arriving from the left to accept Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's well-placed pass, the full-back finished calmly and accurately from in close as the visitors took the lead.

    Di Maria struggled to get in behind the 29-year-old, whose night looked even better after the Argentinian's ejection.

Winner: Danny Welbeck, Who Scored Against His Former Club

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    Danny Welbeck didn't spare a celebration on Monday at Old Trafford, and you can hardly blame him.

    It wasn't the 24-year-old, after all, who initiated his transfer away from Manchester United in the summer.

    As it turned out, the now-Arsenal front man came back to haunt his old side when he ran onto Antonio Valencia's woeful back pass in the 61st minute, rounded David De Gea and stroked the ball into the back of the net.

    The goal ended up putting the Gunners into the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

Loser: Antonio Valencia, Whose Gaffe Cost His Side the Tie

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    Makeshift right-back Antonio Valencia struggled mightily on Monday and, shortly after the hour mark, committed the error that allowed Arsenal to restore their lead at Old Trafford.

    With Danny Welbeck lurking, the Ecuador international released a soft back pass that forced goalkeeper David De Gea to rush off his line and engage the Arsenal striker in a footrace for the loose ball.

    The Spaniard lost that duel, and Welbeck scored the winner.

    "Antonio Valencia dropping Man Utd in it with a poor backpass," tweeted the BBC's Phil McNulty.

Winner: Michael Oliver, Who Took a Stand Against Diving

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    Referee Michael Oliver will have won no shortage of fans with his performance at Old Trafford on Monday.

    In the 77th minute, he rightfully booked Manchester United attacker Angel Di Maria for diving, and after the Argentinian grabbed his shirt, Oliver was forced to show a second yellow and reduce the hosts to 10 men.

    Then with just three minutes remaining, he correctly booked United substitute Adnan Januzaj for simulation while the Belgium international remonstrated for a penalty.

    "Twitter is a total Michael Oliver love-in right now," remarked Caroline Cheese of LiveWire Sport.