If you are one of the few damaged souls who still hasn’t been able to sit through the highlights of Saturday’s FA Cup Final, now might be a good time to get it over with.
Whilst the memory of our extra-time defeat to the now departed Louis Van Gaal is still rather raw, there is something rather cathartic about forcing yourself to sit through the highlights of a game that meant so much to each and every one of our supporters.
We could of course focus all of our attention on Mata’s equaliser of Lingard’s wonder-strike to win it, but there were also a whole host of fantastic performances from Palace players on the day, which deserve real credit from our supporters.
Both Joel Ward and Pape Souare did superbly well in their respective roles on each side of the Palace back four, whilst Delaney and Dann performed admirably in the centre too.
The selection of Mile Jedinak as a direct response to the presence of Marouane Fellaini saw the Aussie put in a fantastic shift for the side, whilst Yohan Cabaye, who was eventually substituted for the much discussed Jason Puncheon, produced an energetic and tough tackling display next to James McArthur in the heart of midfield.
Puncheon will undoubtedly have been steaming to have been left out of Alan Pardew’s starting XI on such a huge occasion, but he turned whatever frustration he did have into the perfect response when smashing a left-footed volley past David De Gea’s near post with little over 10 minutes left to play.
That moment and the resulting couple of minutes of celebrations will stay with me for the rest of my life as possibly the happiest I’ve ever felt following this football club. Although we all know of the heartbreak that arrived after it, there is a great deal to be gained from re-watching the footage for that strike alone, given the tidal wave of emotion it unleashed in the immediate seconds that followed.
We may have fallen a tad short at the final hurdle, but the club as a whole gained a huge amount of respect from those watching as neutral bystanders on Saturday evening.
It may prove difficult, but I would definitely recommend giving the highlights package attached above a few moments of your time; if only to draw a line under the day as a whole and wipe the slate clean ahead of the summer.