5 things we learned from Manchester United's FA Cup semi-final win over Everton


Manchester United reached their first FA Cup final in nine years thanks to a stoppage-time goal from Anthony Martial in a 2-1 victory over Everton.

Former Toffee Marouane Fellaini put Louis van Gaal's side ahead at Wembley only for Everton to come back after the break, Romelu Lukaku seeing his penalty saved and Chris Smalling's own-goal levelling matters before Martial struck at the death.

Here are five things we learned from the tie.

1. Now the heat really is on Roberto Martinez.

The FA Cup provided a considerable silver lining for Everton boss Roberto Martinez in the 2012-13 season that saw his Wigan side lift the trophy as well as suffer relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

Going into this contest - three days on from Everton's 4-0 hammering at Liverpool - amid growing anger towards him from Toffees fans and reports suggesting defeat would spell the end for his tenure, Martinez needed Wembley to prove a happy hunting ground once again.

But there was no comfort for him in the cup this time as his troubled week got worse. After a poor start, Everton battled back admirably but ultimately they did not have enough, and the Spaniard may well now be left wondering what the future holds for him.

2. The case for Louis van Gaal is getting stronger.

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal laughs with Anthony Martial
(John Walton/PA)

There has been plenty of discontent among Manchester United fans over their club's manager Van Gaal, and talk of him being replaced this summer has been rife throughout what has generally been a disappointing season for the Old Trafford outfit.

But there have been various developments of late that Van Gaal could point to as evidence United should keep him - and this victory was another.

Young talent - such as Marcus Rashford and Martial - has been thriving in the side, Wednesday's win over Crystal Palace was a fourth in five Premier League matches as the push for the top four continued, and this Wembley triumph means United are one game away from claiming their first trophy since 2013.

3. Marouane Fellaini is winning over United fans.

Marouane Fellaini celebrates scoring for Manchester United
(Nick Potts/PA)

Fellaini has long been viewed by many United fans as a player who does not belong at their club. But there have undoubtedly been moments where he has shown his worth, and he certainly did here against his former employers.

The midfielder delivered an excellent performance, capped by a goal, that earned him a rapturous reception when he was substituted late on.

4. Wayne Rooney could be a midfield option for England.

Wayne Rooney playing for Manchester United
(John Walton/PA)

Wayne Rooney is another ex-Everton player who really shone as he once again played in a midfield role.

England boss Roy Hodgson was watching from the stands and must be wondering whether it would be the best way to use the Three Lions skipper this summer at the European Championship.

5. Romelu Lukaku is still prone to major off-days.

Lukaku has had a very good season, scoring 25 goals in all competitions and appearing a lot of the time as if he is now really fulfilling the potential that has always been evident.

But his display here was a clear demonstration that the 22-year-old is by no means the finished article. With Everton really needing a clinical edge from him, Lukaku was guilty of several glaring misses from open play and saw his penalty kept out by David De Gea.