Manchester United secured their place in the FA Cup quarter-final on Saturday evening, thanks to a 2-0 victory away at Huddersfield Town.
The goals were scored in prolific style by Romelu Lukaku, striking in both halves to put the Red Devils in control of the game.
However, another player who deserves credit aplenty for helping United to a positive result is Chris Smalling. The defender has taken some deserved stick from the fans recently, but he put that behind him to put in a commanding performance at a difficult away ground.
Positionally, he was super, Smalling dealt with the physical Steve Mounie excellently, was in control of the whole back line and when Huddersfield’s onslaught came, he stood up and was counted.
This seems to be a recurring theme with Smalling. He’ll put in a couple of bad performances before following it up with a string of excellent displays, then, it’s just rinse and repeat.
For now, though, we have to give praise to the English centre-back. No doubt he’ll be a shoe-in to start against Sevilla away on Wednesday night, in a game that’ll be another physical and mental battle for him.
As you’d expect, the fans were delighted with his performance:
Thought Chris Smalling was excellent today. Despite how frustrated he’s made us recently.
Was more physical and dominant, but has to carry that out every week if he’s to remain here.
— Jordan Clarke (@FourFourJordan) February 17, 2018
I’ve slagged him off enough recently so it’s only fair that I acknowledge that Smalling had a decent game today. I’m still done with him though 💀
— Scott Patterson (@R_o_M) February 17, 2018
I don’t want to praise Chris Smalling, but he probably deserves a mention….
— Richard Cann (@RichardCann76) February 17, 2018
Lukaku clear MOTM, outstanding. Also he’s been poor recently but credit to Smalling, had a very good game.
— 🔴 (@VivaMouri) February 17, 2018
Romelu bagged a brace today, but overall he was shocking 😄 Largely underwhelming display, but #MUFC advance, so job done. And he got plenty of stick post-Newcastle, but Smalling had a good’un today. Barely put a foot wrong. Fair play to him. McTominay tidy again #QueSeraSera
— Jonathan Shrager (@JonathanShrager) February 17, 2018
He’s taken a lot of stick lately, but Smalling was excellent today, so was Lindlof tbf
— Rob Bourne (@redrob58) February 17, 2018