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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Manchester United Vs, Bolton Wanderer Highlights Video Clip

Manchester United [2 - 0] Bolton W.
9' [1 - 0] C. Ronaldo
20' [2 - 0] C. Ronaldo

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Breathing room delights Boss

With an intriguing title race seemingly winding towards a tight finish, Sir Alex Ferguson was delighted to open up a three point lead after victory over Bolton.

Arsenal and Chelsea now trail the Reds by three and five points respectively and, although United rarely scaled the heights against the Trotters, Sir Alex was focused entirely on some welcome breathing room.

"The important thing was that we had the opportunity and incentive to get to three points clear of Arsenal, our nearest pursuer, and we’ve done that," he told MUTV after the game.

"It’s a lead, that’s important. It’s not a significant lead, but it’s a lead nonetheless. With eight games to go, the team that’s most consistent will win the league. If we can keep our consistency we have a chance.

"I think Chelsea hold the key to it, they have ourselves and Arsenal at home, and their home record is very good, so that to my mind is going to make it a really tight finish."

Cristiano Ronaldo's early brace gave a much-changed United side victory over Gary Megson's side, and Sir Alex was keen to salute the professionalism of his players against a spirited Bolton outfit.

"They’re all top players," he said. "I have to have faith and trust in them, and when they get their opportunities they know how important every game is for us. "I think at times we were a bit relaxed. When we sped the game up, played with great precision and penetration in the last third of the field, we could have scored a few goals. In the second half we were charitable again, but nevertheless we played some good football in these moments.

"Credit to Bolton, they’re fighting for their lives at the bottom of the league, and they had a real go at us tonight. They probably deserved better than they got, really. They played some good football at times and kept at us all the time, great credit to their tenacity." Read more...

Rio a doubt for Liverpool

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that his reshuffled defence against Bolton was a pre-emptive experiment in case Rio Ferdinand misses Sunday's clash with Liverpool.

The England defender continues to carry a slight back injury and, with the Merseysiders' visit to Old Trafford looming large, Sir Alex opted to rest Patrice Evra and Wes Brown, fielding a defence of Owen Hargreaves, Nemanja Vidic, Gerard Pique and John O'Shea against Gary Megson's side.

"We made a lot of changes and I think that was necessary because, with Rio Ferdinand doubtful for Sunday, we had to find out about young Gerard Pique," Sir Alex told MUTV after the 2-0 win.

"We’ve got great confidence in the lad and he’s come through very well. That was important. We also wanted to rest Wes Brown in case Rio doesn’t make it, then we’ve got the alternative of playing Wes at centre-back – that’s a decision we’ll have to make.

"We tried Owen Hargreaves at right-back, and we can play John O’Shea there on Sunday and bring Patrice Evra in. It’s important to do these things tonight, simply because of Rio’s injury." Read more...

Manchester United Vs, Bolton Wanderer Result Report

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice and skippered United to victory against struggling Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.

Entrusted with the captaincy for the first time, the Reds’ no.7 repaid his manager’s faith by breaking George Best’s record for goals scored in a season from midfield. The win sent United clear at the top of the league, with Liverpool the Reds’ next opponents on Easter Sunday.

Sir Alex made seven changes to the side that won at Pride Park last weekend, with only John O’Shea, Nemanja Vidic, Cristiano Ronaldo and Anderson retaining their spots in the starting XI.

Despite speculation that Ben Foster would continue in goal after his impressive debut, the manager plumped for Tomasz Kuszczak between the sticks (Edwin van der Sar is expected to be fit for Liverpool’s visit on Sunday) and the Pole was magnificent all night.

Owen Hargreaves was handed a starting berth, although the Englishman was deployed on the right side of defence and not in the centre of midfield. That job was given to Anderson and Darren Fletcher, while Carlos Tevez partnered Louis Saha up front.

In the absence of Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand, Ronaldo was given the captain’s armband for the first time in his United career. And, given his amazing record this season, it was hardly surprising the Portuguese international marked the occasion with the game’s opening goal on nine minutes.

Bolton failed to adequately clear Nani’s corner and when the ball fell to the Reds’ no.7 on the penalty spot, he buried the chance on the half volley.

The Reds continued to dominate and Nani went close on 15 minutes when his shot fizzed over the bar. Bolton almost forced an equaliser three minutes later, however, when Kuszczak was called into action to deny Wanderers captain Kevin Davies from close range.

The Pole’s smart reflex save drew gasps of admiration, but Ronaldo’s free-kick two minutes later brought Old Trafford to its feet. Fouled by Abdoulaye Meite in a central position, the Reds’ no.7 dusted himself off to lash the ball home from 29 yards. Crisp, dipping and swerving all at once, it left goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi with no chance.

The two goals aside, the Oman international didn’t have much to do in the first half. He did display assured handling 10 minutes before the break, however, when Carlos Tevez twisted and turned his way into the box before firing goalwards.

It was the same result shortly afterwards when the Argentinean headed into Al Habsi’s arms after Louis Saha had bamboozled the visitors’ defence on the left. The half then ended with more flicks and tricks, as John O’Shea scissor-kicked just wide from Ronaldo’s clever pass.

Meite was replaced at the break by Nicky Hunt but it was another Bolton defender, Gretar Rafn Steinsson, who was in the thick of the action as the second half got underway.

The Icelandic international made a clumsy challenge on Tevez just 22 yards from goal, which presented Ronaldo with another chance to fire a free-kick towards the Bolton goal. It was Nani, though, who surprised everyone by curling the ball goalwards and forcing a fine save from Al Habsi by the goalkeepers’ left-hand post.

The visitors did get the ball in the net on 55 minutes but El Hadji Diouf’s wide free-kick was ruled to have been taken too quickly. When referee Alan Wiley was eventually satisfied, Diouf pulled the trigger again and this time Kuszczak made a superb flying save to his right.

The Polish stopper pulled off an even better stop minutes later, acrobatically tipping over Nicky Hunt’s rasping volley. He proved his worth once again in the next phase of play, this time getting down well to push Gavin McCann’s shot around the post.

Bolton were enjoying a rare spell of sustained pressure and, at this point, had registered more shots on goal than the Reds. Pressure counts for nothing if not converted into goals, however, and Bolton have struggled all season to find the back of the net. Tonight at Old Trafford, Kevin Davies led the line in his usual bustling manner, but brawn alone can’t unlock top defences.

But for Al Habsi’s reflexes at the other end, Ronaldo would have netted his hat-trick just after the hour. Louis Saha then blasted high and wide, his final contribution in what was his first start in four games.

The Frenchman made way for Wayne Rooney on 70 minutes, while Paul Scholes came on for Anderson in the heart of midfield.

The change seemed to restore normalcy to proceedings, as United resumed top billing in the possession stakes. Nani was denied once again by a sharp Al Habsi save before electing to shoot minutes later when a pass would have been better advised. Rooney then teed up Tevez to shoot but, like so many other recent Reds chances, his strike failed to find the target.

Still, it mattered little in the grand scheme of things. By then, United were cruising, 2-0 up and three points clear at the top of the league.

United: Kuszczak; Hargreaves, Pique, Vidic (Brown 60), O'Shea; Ronaldo, Anderson (Scholes 70), Fletcher, Nani; Tevez, Saha (Rooney 70)
Subs not used: Foster, Evra

Bolton Wanderers: Al Habsi; Steinsson, O’Brein A, Meite (Hunt 46), Gardner; Diouf, O’Brien J, Guthrie (Giannakopoulos 82), McCann, Taylor; Davies
Subs not used: Walker, Campo, Rasiak

Booked: O’Brien A, Steinsson

Attendance: 75,476

Ben Foster Debut Highlights in Derby Match


Reds ready for physical battle

Sir Alex Ferguson has told his players to be ready for another physical onslaught by Bolton tonight. The Manchester United boss was sent to the stands - and then banned from the touchline for two games - for losing the plot when Kevin Davies escaped unpunished for two heavy challenges on United defender Patrice Evra earlier in the season. The Red Devils can go three points clear at the top of the table with a victory over relegation-threatened Bolton at Old Trafford tonight. And Fergie warned: "Bolton have got Kevin Davies up front - and he'll do everything he possibly can to unsettle us."
David McDonnell, Daily Mirror

Campbell toasts call-up in style

Young United striker Fraizer Campbell gave a timely display of his talents last night (Tuesday) when he scored two goals for loan club Hull City - just hours after receiving his first call-up for England Under-21s.

The 20 year-old's inclusion in Stuart Pearce's squad to face Poland next Tuesday (25 March) is reward for his red-hot form at Hull. He has now notched 13 goals in 27 games for the Tigers, including the double which helped them to win 3-1 at Colchester United.

Campbell's tormenting of Colchester also resulted in a red card for defender Phil Ifil after just 14 minutes. Hull boss Phil Brown was less than impressed by Ifil's challenge, saying: "It was malicious, and it could have caused Frazier serious damage, so I think that the referee has done his job, no matter what anyone says."

Happily Campbell was able to play on, claim his two goals and prompt Hull chairman Paul Duffen to contemplate keeping Campbell on a permanent basis.

"I have said consistently that the challenge is first Manchester United have to confirm they don't want him," said Duffen.

"Then we have to be a Premier League club if we want to attract him. I don't see Fraizer signing for a Championship club. In fact, I would advise him not to, I think he's too good."

Hull are now just five points off the pace for automatic promotion to the Premier League. Read more...

Carrick: Experience is key

Michael Carrick says United’s experience could prove crucial in the side’s quest for Premier League success.

The vast majority of the Reds’ squad have lifted the trophy in the past – Carrick managed the feat in his first season at Old Trafford – and it’s this experience the midfielder says will be priceless as the season approaches its climax.

“We know how to kick it over the finishing line,” Carrick told Manchester United Radio.

“Hopefully last season’s success will benefit us this time around. You can always call on experience to help you through the tough times and this squad has plenty of that.

“I think we have the edge in terms of that and I think we’re the best team. Hopefully time will prove that.”

The Reds’ next test comes tonight against a Bolton Wanderers side battling for top-flight survival.

But although Bolton linger at the wrong end of the table, Carrick says United are mindful of what happened at the Reebok Stadium in November.

“We went there and they gave us a tough game – they beat us – so we’re not underestimating Bolton,” he said.

“They’re fighting for their lives and we want to win every game. If we play close to our best then we should win the match.” Read more...