Manchester United fans were pleased with Marouane Fellaini‘s display in their side’s 2-1 win over West Ham United in the FA Cup on Wednesday night.
The Belgian’s inclusion prompted an initial outcry of fury from Man United fans, who bemoaned the prospect of a midfield partnership with Michael Carrick (the same partnership seen in defeats to Bournemouth, Norwich and Stoke last December).
But following a tweak in formation, Fellaini enjoyed arguably his finest performance of the season, netting the winner on 67 minutes. United fans were quick to praise the big Belgian:
Fair play to Van Gaal, he's got Fellaini selection right. Horrible for teams to play against when he's playing like this.
— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonESPN) April 13, 2016
Fellaini surrounded by happy teammates. For the first time in the game, players manage to get close to him.
— Andy Mitten (@AndyMitten) April 13, 2016
Fellaini keeps coming up with clutch moments for United. Unreal
— FIFA Match Commissioner (@FootyHipstar) April 13, 2016
Fellaini has been really good tonight.
— HM~257 (@hiza7) April 13, 2016
We all slate Fellaini when he's crap so give him credit for a good performance tonight.It was Rojo's frightening lack of pace that scared me
— Sav84 ???????????????????????????? ???????? (@jonmikesav8) April 13, 2016
Louis van Gaal‘s miraculously uncharacteristic decision to change his formation worked wonders for not just Fellaini, but for the whole team in general.
The Dutchman jettisoned his static 4-2-3-1 and opted for a more dynamic 4-3-3 (the same formation used during van Gaal’s best run of results in the club, in which he won 6 games in a row back in March and April 2015). The result of this tweak was emphatic: the relationship between midfield and attack was fluid, cohesive, and threatening.
Deployed further forward alongside Ander Herrera, with Carrick behind him as a holding midfielder, Fellaini was able to wreak havoc in the centre of West Ham’s midfield, bursting forward on several occasions as he made the most of playing in a more advanced role. United fans will hope to see more of this formation – and indeed more of Fellaini’s prowess – at Wembley.