Custom Search

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Manchester United Vs. Arsenal Result Report

United spectacularly banished memories of their derby defeat with a stunning 4-0 win over Arsenal to book a place in the FA Cup quarter finals.

The Reds oozed energy, class and goals to register a memorable Cup victory and, perhaps, strike a key psychological blow in the race for the title.

Wayne Rooney opened the scoring on 16 minutes before Darren Fletcher made it two four minutes later. Nani put the Reds three-up seven minutes before half-time, while Fletcher grabbed his second on 74 minutes.

Sir Alex made five changes to the side that lost to Manchester City last weekend. Rooney and Patrice Evra returned from suspension, while Ji-sung Park, Michael Carrick and Fletcher were all handed starts. Ryan Giggs, Owen Hargreaves and Cristiano Ronaldo were rested, no doubt with Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Lyon in mind.

United lined up in a 4-5-1 formation with Rooney working the line as the lone striker. Support was close at hand from Fletcher, Nani, Carrick, Park and the outstanding Anderson and it was the Brazilian who produced the Reds’ first effort on goal. With nine minutes gone, Anderson lashed a first-time volley goalwards after Evra’s attempted cross was block. The shot was on target but Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann saved well down to his right.

The Reds continued to press and both Rooney and Fletcher came close to capitalising on a stray Arsenal backpass. Luckily for the Gunners, their German stopper was alert to the situation as he sprinted from goal to clear.

Skipper for the day Rio Ferdinand had remarked in the matchday programme how the Reds were determined to banish the memories of last weekend’s derby defeat and they duly did that after just 16 minutes.

Arsenal failed to clear Nani’s left wing corner, allowing Anderson the chance to head the ball back into the danger area. It fell to the unmarked Rooney who duly headed past Lehmann from five yards. It was only his third ever headed Reds goal – the first came against the Gunners in the 2-1 defeat at the Emirates last season.

There was a real zip to United’s play, a feature that had been devoid throughout the City game. Much was made of Rooney’s absence last weekend and how it contrived to United’s downfall and on this showing it seemed a plausible argument.

Having opened the scoring, Rooney played his part in United’s second, which arrived on 20 minutes. The striker picked up possession in midfield and laid the ball off to Anderson, who fed Nani down the left. The Portuguese winger twisted and turned before reaching the goal-line and clipping an inch-perfect cross to Fletcher, who headed home via a slight deflection off William Gallas.

It was the Scot’s first goal of the campaign in only his seventh start of the season. It was nothing more than he deserved, however, after a superb first half display full of endeavour.

Rooney went close to making it three just after the half-hour when Evra sent Lehmann’s poor goal kick into Rooney’s path. Unfortunately the 22-year-old dragged his shot wide and did the same again a minute later.

after brilliant work from Fletcher.

The electric atmosphere inside Old Trafford – earlier buoyed by news of Liverpool’s FA Cup exit – was further boosted by a third goal for the Reds seven minutes from the break. Carrick collected the ball in midfield and sent a pinpoint pass over the top to Nani. The winger kept his cool, controlling the ball well and setting himself in one movement, before firing a low left-foot drive past Lehmann.

The Reds continued where they left off after the restart. Carrick looped a pass towards Park who out-muscled Traore and fed Rooney, who took one touch before letting fly. Lehmann stood firm, however, and parried clear.

United’s lone frontman went close again shortly afterwards, this time from a free-kick. With Cristiano Ronaldo watching from the stands, United's other sharp-shooters were afforded a rare opportunity to take aim from set-pieces. Rooney’s effort, which took a slight nick off Fletcher, was well held by Lehmann.

Arsenal’s chances of somehow finding a way back into the game were all but dashed on 49 minutes when Emmanuel Eboue was dismissed for a high tackle on Evra, although replays showed the red card was rather harsh from Alan Wiley.

Rooney’s duel with Lehmann continued just after the hour when the German stopper foiled the striker once more after Anderson had slid him through on goal.

Having been under the cosh for most of the game, Arsenal registered their first real effort on 64 minutes. Even so, Eduardo’s header was always going over and Edwin van der Sar never looked troubled.

Arsene Wenger made a triple substitution six minutes later – introducing Flamini, Adebayor and Senderos – but it was too little too late. Paul Scholes and Louis Saha also entered the fray, with Rooney and Anderson given standing ovations as they trudged off the pitch.

United grabbed a fourth on 74 minutes through Fletcher. Nani, who impressed throughout, floated a cross to the back post where Fletcher was waiting to power a header past Lehmann.

As the game drew to a close, the Old Trafford faithful taunted the travelling support with chants of "You’re going out with the Scousers." More importantly, the Reds were through after a performance any opposition team would have found hard to live with. After last weekend's bad day at the office, United are well and truly back on track.

Team line-ups:

Manchester United: Van der Sar; Brown, Ferdinand (c), Vidic, Evra; Nani, Fletcher, Carrick, Park; Anderson (Scholes, 71), Rooney (Saha, 71).
Subs not used: Kuszczak, O'Shea, Tevez.

Arsenal: Lehmann; Hoyte, Gallas, Toure, Traore; Eboue, Gilberto, Fabregas (Flamini, 70); Hleb (Senderos, 70), Bendtner, Eduardo (Adebayor (70).
Subs not used: Fabianski (GK), Clichy

Boss hopes for title impact

Sir Alex Ferguson is hopeful that United's enthralling 4-0 FA Cup victory over Arsenal will further enhance the Reds' title aspirations.

The Gunners hold a five point advantage at the top of the table having capitalised on United's derby defeat last weekend.

However, the Reds produced the perfect response with a superb display against Arsene Wenger's side at Old Trafford and Sir Alex believes United may have gained a psychological edge over the Gunners ahead of their league visit in April.

"I hope this result has an impact on the title race," he told MUTV. "When Arsenal come here in April they know they're in for a really good game.

"Who knows though - it's two months away and both clubs could be in different positions to now. But this result has certainly whetted our appetite for the league game."

Sir Alex was delighted with the overall team performance and had some special words of praise for two-goal hero Darren Fletcher.

"He showed what a good player he really is," enthused the boss. "Sometimes you go with horses for courses and this game was tailor-made for Darren. He always seems to do well against Arsenal. It was Darren's day.

"The whole team can be very proud of themselves. It was a really fantastic performance and a great way to respond to last Sunday's defeat. I think they were all disappointed with themselves. They felt flat and the emotions of the week probably took their toll.

"But they have made amends and atoned for that in a big, big way. It was a marvellous performance. They played with verve and tenacity, and the passing was terrific." Read more...

The perfect response

Derby-day disappointment inspired the Reds to victory on Saturday against Arsenal in the FA Cup, according to Darren Fletcher.

Two-goal hero Fletcher said United desperately wanted to banish the memory of last weekend’s loss to Manchester City.

“It was the perfect response to last week’s defeat,” Fletcher told MUTV. “We were all hurt by that performance and we wanted to put things right today. Our attitude, tempo and work-rate was top-class today and we got our just rewards.”

Fletcher found the net either side of the interval but was typically modest about his performance.

“I’ve scored a few headers for United and today I was in the right place at the right time,” he said.

“We created some great chances today and it could have been even more. But the important thing is we’re in the next round of the FA Cup after a terrific team performance.

“At times it was a bit feisty out there but you expect that in a cup game against Arsenal. It’s part of the game and we enjoy that. Sometimes it boiled over a little bit but I think it was all right today. We try to tackle hard and fair and we enjoy it that way.” Read more...

Rooney: Bring on the Blues

Wayne Rooney says he’ll be delighted if United draw Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter final.

The England international got the scoring underway at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon as the Reds romped to a 4-0 victory against top-of-the-league Arsenal.

Minnows Barnsley and Bristol City remain in the competition, but Rooney would prefer a tussle with Avram Grant’s Chelsea.

“I hope we get Chelsea,” Rooney told MUTV. “Personally, I’d like to play them at home and try to knock them out. After that we’ll be through to the semi final and I’m sure we can take things from there.”

Rooney has twice been on the losing side in an FA Cup final and is determined to add a winners medal to his collection this season.

“The FA Cup means a lot to me. I’ve been excited by the competition from a very young age and hopefully we can now go all the way.”

United swept Arsenal aside on Saturday afternoon even though the Reds began the match missing experienced players.

“Last season we had to play all the players in every game,” Rooney said. “Today we had Paul Scholes on the bench and Ryan Giggs got a rest all together. That keeps them fresh and could be key come the end of the season.

“We were very disappointed after last week’s performance against Manchester City. Training was difficult this week and we spent a lot of time talking about the tactics and how we were going to approach the game against Arsenal. I think we got it spon on.”

The FA Cup quarter final draw takes place on Monday 18 February at 13:30 GMT. Read more...