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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Manchester City Vs. Everton Match Report

Another game, another United win, another record.

This hard-fought victory extended the champions’ lead at the top of the table and, in keeping another clean sheet, Edwin van der Sar has now broken the all-time record in the entire English football league.

Like last season, the game was settled by a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty. This one, which came just before the interval, was the winger’s 14th goal of the season.

And the Reds held off a determined Everton side to end the visitors’ nine-game unbeaten run and go eight points clear of Liverpool and Chelsea, who face off on Sunday.

United had made one change from the side that demolished West Brom in midweek, with Darren Fletcher, scorer at Goodison Park earlier in the season, replacing Ryan Giggs.

Everton were boosted by the availability of Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini after the influential forwards passed fitness tests.

It was a decidedly more cagey opening to the game than United had experienced at The Hawthorns, with both sides preferring to test the water rather than dive-bomb into it.

United enjoyed the majority of the possession early on, however, with Everton content to get behind the ball and punt long balls towards Cahill and the considerable frame of Fellaini.

Unsurpisingly, the visitors’ main threat came from set-pieces and United’s defence had to muscle up to clear more than one dangerous-looking free-kick.

In the seventh minute Ji-sung Park’s low cross evaded everyone and almost deceived Tim Howard, who was at full stretch to prevent the ball creeping in at the far post.

The ex-United keeper was called upon again five minutes later, superbly scooping over a close-range Carlos Tevez stab after Everton had failed properly to clear a Ronaldo cross.

Tevez was at his bullish best and his persistence almost created a chance for Ronaldo as he burst past Leighton Baines and Joleon Lescott but saw his cross cut out.

Just before the half-hour mark Ronaldo had two chances to open the scoring in quick succession. Firstly he toe-poked the ball against the post from the edge of the box, then saw his dipping shot tipped over by Howard.

But Everton refused to buckle and, indeed, were themselves causing United more problems than most sides have done at Old Trafford in recent weeks, with Baines more than happy to get forward down the left to support the attack.

Phil Neville’s clever through-ball presented Fellaini with a half-chance, but the striker failed to control the pass which would have put him through one-on-one with van der Sar.

Carrick flashed a left-foot volley just wide after controlling the ball superbly on his chest, and just before the break he was involved again in winning the decisive penalty.

The midfielder charged towards goal and was tripped by Mikel Arteta, with referee Mark Halsey adjudging the offence to have been committed just inside the area.

Ronaldo did the honours, blasting the penalty down the centre of Howard’s goal for his third goal in five days.

Arteta’s misery was compounded early in the second half when he sliced a presentable free-kick embarrassingly wide.

Carrick thought he had won another penalty a minute later when he charged onto a John O’Shea pass and was sent flying by Lescott, but Halsey pointed to the dead-ball line and not the penalty spot.

Soon after Tevez should perhaps have extended United’s lead when he controlled Park’s cross and made room for himself in the box, only to flash wildly over.

Wes Brown continued his injury comeback when he replaced Gary Neville just before the hour. The United skipper had, in truth, endured a torrid first half in which he gave away several free-kicks.

Arteta fared better with another long-range free-kick but van der Sar clung onto his low drive. By now the United keeper had kept Everton scoreless for the 72 minutes needed to break his second record in a week.

With 20 minutes left Steven Pienaar clattered into Carrick on the edge of the box and Tevez’s free-kick took a deflection, looped up and forced Howard to tip over.

At the other end Pienaar attempted to make amends but curled his shot from 20 yards way over van der Sar’s bar.

Fletcher made way for Giggs and the Welshman’s corner almost led to a second United goal, but Ronaldo headed over when well placed. Then Tevez found space on the edge of the box but mishit his attempted chip into Howard’s arms.

Halsey waved away Everton’s penalty appeals with seven minutes left as Rio Ferdinand grappled with Lescott in the box.

Howard was again on hand to deny the Reds with time running out, blocking Park’s shot from an acute angle.

The Everton keeper had enjoyed a good game on his return to Old Trafford but it was all in vain as the champions won again to march inexorably onwards.

Manchester United Vs. Everton Highlights Video Clip

Manchester United [1 - 0] Everton
44' [1 - 0] C. Ronaldo


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

West Bromwich Vs. Manchester United Match Report

A scintillating display of attacking football ensured United’s biggest win of the season at The Hawthorns as the Reds set a new defensive record of 11 clean sheets.

Goals from Dimitar Berbatov, Carlos Tevez, Nemanja Vidic and a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo sealed a 5-0 victory over West Brom, who lost their skipper Paul Robinson just before half-time.

At the other end, Edwin van der Sar kept his 11th consecutive sheet to break Chelsea’s 2004/05 Premier League record and ensure the Reds moved three points clear at the top of the table.

Reports going into the game suggested United could be without as many as 12 first team squad members. While it was certainly true to say United were missing some key performers, including Wayne Rooney, Patrice Evra and Anderson, they were boosted by the return of Rio Ferdinand at the heart of the defence for the first time since the Club World Cup final last month. Ji-sung Park was also available after a hamstring strain had kept him out of the FA Cup win over Spurs, as was Cristiano Ronaldo who had been forced off with a virus in the latter stages of the cup win. Wes Brown meanwhile was named on the bench following three months on the sidelines with an ankle problem.

West Brom had injury problems of their own with ex-Red and Baggies’ skipper Jonathan Greening (knee), striker Luke Moore (hamstring) and defenders Leon Barnett (hamstring) and Jonas Olsson (knee) all out.

Having been forced to wait and additional half an hour after the kick-off was delayed due to traffic congestion, both teams seemed keen to make up for lost time.

Just two minutes in Park found Berbatov, coming in from the right touchline, but the Bulgarian’s daisycutter was straight into the grateful arms of Scott Carson. Almost immediately the home side headed upfield with Marc-Antoine Fortune winning a corner off Rio Ferdinand. The subsequent set-piece pinballed around the area, before being punched clear by van der Sar but only as far as Borja Valero whose bobbling effort was booted off the line by Michael Carrick.

A minute later Gary Neville was caught in possession by Jay Simpson, Arsenal’s on loan striker, who burst forward. Thankfully his deflected shot, which had van der Sar scrambling low down to his right, flew wide.

The action showed no signs of abating as Park fired a 7th minute shot straight at Carson after being found well by Michael Carrick. The Baggies’ stopper came to his side’s rescue three minutes later when a defensive mix-up between Pele (no, not him!) and Ryan Donk let Berbatov in. But Carson was there to smother the ball as the striker looked to lift it over him.

After a couple of early scares, the Reds were beginning to slip into gear. And on 22 minutes Berbatov slipped the ball through Carson’s legs to give United the advantage. Giggs fed the Bulgarian who brilliantly swapped passes with Carrick before calmly slotting home his 11th goal of the season and third in as many games.

The Reds were at their breathtaking best three minutes later. Giggs collected possession in his own half before powering forward and finding Ronaldo on the left. The winger continued the surge forward and found Tevez with a low centre, but the Argentine’s snap-shot went the wrong side of the post.

Soon after Gary Neville had a strong penalty appeal turned down (although replays showed Chris Brunt got the slightest of touches on the ball), while Ronaldo lifted the ball over Carson, after being put through by Giggs, but wide of the far post.

West Brom still posed a threat at the other end and Gianni Zuiverloon fluffed a good chance to draw the home side level six minutes from the break. Fortune and Vidic both jumped for the ball which fell to the unmarked Zuiverloon but he volleyed horribly wide.

Seconds later Tony Mowbray’s side found themselves down to ten men, albeit rather harshly. Park and Paul Robinson both slid in for a 50/50 challenge, but referee Rob Styles deemed the Baggies’ skipper’s attempt to win the ball as a little too malicious for his liking and promptly produced his red card. Three quarters of The Hawthorns exploded in frustration and you could understand why. Thankfully Park was quickly up on his feet after some brief treatment from physio Rob Swire.

The Reds made the most of their numerical advantage a minute before the break when Carlos Tevez doubled their lead. A Giggs free-kick from the right was inexplicably dropped by Carson allowing Tevez to pounce and blast home from three yards.

United showed no signs of letting up after the restart when Giggs found himself through on goal virtually from the kick-off, but his attempted chip sailed over.

Berbatov had a goal chalked off for offside on 53 minutes – he was… just. Four minutes later Donk smashed a scorching shot against the post after some neat interplay on the edge of the box, but United were still dominating proceedings. And they went 3-0 up on the hour-mark when Vidic stooped to head home his sixth goal of the season from a Giggs corner.

Both players were involved in the Reds’ fourth goal and what a goal it was. Having manfully held off two West Brom players, Vidic found Tevez who slipped a pass into Giggs. The Welshman could have shot, but he opted to find Ronaldo who slammed the ball home.

On 73 minutes the winger scored his second of the night, slotting through Carson’s legs after great play again from outstanding Berbatov. It was the 21st time the winger had scored twice in a game for the Reds.

Brown, Tosic and Eckersley were all given a run-out in the closing stages, during which United almost netted a sixth, but Tevez's shot was brilliantly palmed away by Carson.

The victory edged the Reds three points clear of Liverpool at the top of the table and on this form United look set to stay there for a while yet.

West Bromwich Vs. Manchester United Highlights Video Clip

West Bromwich [0 - 5] Manchester United
22' [0 - 1] D. Berbatov
44' [0 - 2] C.A. Tevez
60' [0 - 3] N. Vidic
65' [0 - 4] C. Ronaldo
73' [0 - 5] C. Ronaldo

0-1 D.Berbatov 22'

0-2 C.Tévez 44'

0-3 N.Vidic 61'

0-4 C. Ronaldo 65'

0-5 C. Ronaldo 73'


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Manchester United Vs. Tottenham Match Report

United’s quest five major trophies continues apace in spite of a crippling injury list, as the Reds beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 in the FA Cup fourth round.

Harry Redknapp’s men took a surprise early lead through Roman Pavlyuchenko, but United’s first half display was otherwise outstanding as goals from Paul Scholes (albeit via a wicked deflection off Tom Huddlestone) and Dimitar Berbatov against his former club secured the win.

Even with injuries limiting Sir Alex’s selections, the boss has the ability to surprise with his line-ups. Fabio, twin brother of Rafael who has impressed this season, was drafted in for his debut at left-back, with John O’Shea moving across the back four to right-back. Fellow teenager Danny Welbeck was asked to play in a wide-right position. While not his preferred position, it isn’t an altogether unfamiliar role for the 18-year-old forward who played there in his first season with the U18s. The six changes to United’s line-up from the midweek victory over Derby County are a sign of how injuries have hit the Reds, but Sir Alex could still boast nine internationals in his starting eleven.

Redknapp has also struggled with injuries. But, despite widespread reports that he would field his weakest available team, he made only three changes to the team that, despite losing 3-2 to Burnley on Wednesday, booked their place in the Carling Cup final against United on 1 March with a 6-4 aggregate victory.

With selection problems for both teams it was little surprise that the game was open from the start. But it was Tottenham who made the first coherent attack, and scored from it. Having penned United into the corner, Huddlestone's cross from the left saw Pavlyuchenko do what so few forwards have this season – beat Nemanja Vidic to a header. And the Russian’s glancing touch took the ball past the stranded Ben Foster.

The goal came after just five minutes and sparked the home crowd into life, while the away section fans sang, “…we’re going to Wem-ber-ley” – premature perhaps, unless they were stating mere fact at their impending visit in the other domestic cup competition. United upped a gear and soon asked serious questions of Tottenham’s resilience. Berbatov sent a low shot skimming wide on 10 minutes, while Tevez thundered a left-footed effort against the bar on 18. Welbeck was next up with a jinking run into the area. He was only denied a shot when Chris Gunter made a last-ditch intervention. Seconds later Tevez forced a fine save from Spurs keeper Ben Alnwick when he volleyed goalwards from Berbatov’s knockdown.

There was plenty more to be positive about – with Welbeck’s enthusiasm and skill on the right, and Fabio’s attacking intent on the left a welcome surprise. In fact, United had every reason to feel unlucky to be behind. But that was soon put right. The ceaseless pressure paid off on 34 minutes when Carrick’s corner found Scholes unmarked on the edge of the area – never a good idea for opponents – and his shot beat Alnwick via a hefty deflection off Huddlestone.

Two minutes later United had the lead when Carrick again provided the killer pass. His lofted ball put Berbatov through and the former Spurs man ruthlessly fired his shot into the bottom corner. The United fans gleefully turned to the away supporters and sang “que sera sera…”, scolding the Spurs fans’ for their earlier bragging, and shortly after added a “that’s why we’re champions” and “you’re going down with City” for good measure.

Fabio’s impressive debut unfortunately came to an end shortly after half time when he was forced off with an injury. The young Brazilian was replaced by another debutant, Richard Eckersley. The Salford-born right-back is a more traditional, defensive player compared to Fabio’s flair and penchant for creeping forward, but it was an equally proud day for the young defender.

The tempo dropped dramatically in the second half; perhaps the motivation to expend maximum energy in the midst of hectic fixture schedule wasn’t top priority. It was a shame because the first half had been so entertaining but, in the long run, was probably necessary for both teams. Redknapp offered one final attempt to inject vim and vigour into his side’s display by bringing on Jermain Defoe with 20 minutes left, while Sir Alex gave a third debut of the day to Zoran Tosic, who replaced Ronaldo. The changes – though good for United fans to see the latest sprightly addition to the first-team ranks – made no impact on the scoreline as the Reds booked a place in Sunday’s fifth round draw, and edged a step closer to another Wembley outing.

Manchester United Vs. Tottenham Highlights Video Clip

Manchester United [2 - 1] Tottenham
5' [0 - 1] R. Pavlyuchenko
35' [1 - 1] P. Scholes
36' [2 - 1] D. Berbatov

0-1 Pavlyuchenko 5'

1-1 Scholes 34'

2-1 Berbatov 36'


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Manchester United Vs. Derby County Highlights Video

United can add a third League Cup to the honours board on 1 March after booking a place in the Wembley final with a thrilling 4-2 win at Old Trafford.

Trailing 1-0 from the away leg, the Reds wasted little time in taking control of this tie with first-half goals from Nani, John O’Shea and Carlos Tevez. But the world champions needed a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo to make absolutely sure of victory in the second half when substitute Giles Barnes claimed a memorable brace for brave Derby County.

Sir Alex Ferguson made two changes to the side which slipped to a first-leg defeat at Derby, with Ben Foster making his first start in goal since the quarter-final victory over Blackburn and Ryan Giggs replacing Paul Scholes in midfield.

Though United started strongly, Kris Commons soon reminded us why the Rams came to Old Trafford with an advantage when he unleashed a tremendous shot not dissimilar to his goal at Pride Park; this one swerved just wide with Foster pawing the air.

Moments later Ryan Giggs tested his former team-mate Roy Carroll with a teasing ball towards the back post and while the Derby goalkeeper coped well with this one, he had no answer to United’s glorious opener.

If stunning goals marked Nani’s arrival at Old Trafford, then another could reignite his form in a challenging second season. There seemed little danger to Derby when he picked up the ball close to halfway but seconds later it was nestling in the net after the Portuguese raced at the Rams’ defence and cut inside to strike an unstoppable shot beyond Carroll.

Rafael’s rash challenge on Derby left-winger Steve Davies brought the game’s first yellow card. In the ensuing play from the free-kick, Gary Neville was twice called upon to make commanding headers at the heart of defence, the second directed into the hands of his own goalkeeper.

John O’Shea doubled United’s lead in the 22nd minute when Danny Welbeck fed a first-time ball into the area and the Irishman steadied himself before sliding a low shot to Carroll’s right. O’Shea lapped up the applause and why not, it being his first goal since April 2007 when he scored in the pivotal 4-2 league win at Everton.

Carroll’s agility thwarted a third inside the first 30 minutes when Welbeck’s shot hit the ground and bounced up dangerously, only for the Rams keeper to flick the ball over the bar. But the Reds would not be denied for much longer and when Rafael whipped in a superb cross from Ryan Giggs’ short corner, Tevez was perfectly placed to nod home emphatically from six yards.

The third goal’s provider almost turned goal scorer when he raced forward yet again, traded a one-two with Giggs and lashed a rising shot into the side netting. It was to be Rafael’s last act unfortunately – picking up an injury, he left the field shortly before half-time to be replaced by Darren Fletcher.

The Reds started the second half in the same attacking manner but when Nani swung a boot with the fans urging him to shoot, the Portuguese found only fresh air under a foul challenge from Rams substitute Robbie Savage. From the resulting free-kick Giggs almost punished his former Wales and United youth team-mate, but his neatly curled free-kick was palmed away by Carroll.

Another near miss left Tevez clutching his head in agony – the Argentine’s aim was true but the linesman rightly spotted he’d strayed offside before beating Carroll again.

Bringing on Cristiano Ronaldo seemed almost a cruel act by Sir Alex Ferguson but far from being intimidated, the Rams launched the very next attack and almost pulled a goal back when Neville’s touch on Rob Hulse’s cross skidded fractionally wide of the far post. Hulse later won Derby’s first corner with a shot on the turn and when United struggled to clear the setpiece, Paul Green fired just over the top.

Derby’s reshuffle after an injury to centre-back Andy Todd reflected their predicament – chasing the game, Nigel Clough sent on Dutch attacking midfielder Nacer Barazite, a loan signing from Arsenal. Later he replaced Kris Commons, another injury victim, with fit-again prospect Giles Barnes.

The most significant substitution, however, saw Sir Alex give 19 year-old James Chester his United debut. The reserve team captain replaced his senior counterpart Gary Neville in the 67th minute and while the 3-0 cushion suggested it would be an easy introduction, Derby pressed enough to make it a decent test for the teenager. Hulse headed over from Paul Connolly’s cross, for example, as Jonny Evans nursed a worrying injury at the heart of United’s now unfamiliar defence.

Evans’ woes were compounded when his sliding challenge brought Green down in the box and referee Mike Dean pointed to the penalty spot in the 79th minute. Derby sub Barnes despatched the dead ball with aplomb to Foster’s right and set Old Trafford up for a tense last ten with only more goal needed to take the tie into extra-time.

Carroll made a double save to deny a Portuguese one-two, stopping Ronaldo’s shot with his feet and then punching away the rebound effort from Nani. But Derby’s hero in that moment turned villain when he crazily hacked down Tevez for another penalty, this time at the Stretford End, and Ronaldo did the rest to end the contest, surely?

In fact, the action didn't end there. After the Portuguese's powerfully drilled shot made it 4-1 on the night, Barnes struck a free-kick in off the post for his and Derby’s second goal of a dramatic semi-final night in the Manchester rain.

Manchester United Vs. Derby County Highlights Video

Manchester United [4 - 2] Derby County
16' [1 - 0] Nani
22' [2 - 0] J. O'Shea
34' [3 - 0] C.A. Tevez
80' [3 - 1] G. Barnes (pen.)
89' [4 - 1] C. Ronaldo (pen.)
90' [4 - 2] G. Barnes

16' 1-0 Nani [Manchester Unt.]

22' 2-0 O' Shea [Manchester Unt.]

34' 3-0 Carlos Tevez [Manchester Unt.]

80' 3-1 Barnes [Derby]

89' 4-1 (pen) Cristiano Ronaldo [Manchester Unt.]

90' 4-2 Barnes [Derby]


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bolton Vs. Manchester United Highlights Video Clip

Bolton [0 - 1] Manchester United
90' [0 - 1] D. Berbatov


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Christiano Ronaldo's FIFA World Best Player Award Receiving Video Clip


Manchester United Vs. Wigan Athletic Result Report

United moved second in the table and just two points behind league leaders Liverpool with an unspectacular victory against Wigan Athletic, a battle which was over no sooner than it had started thanks to a first-minute strike from Wayne Rooney.

Sir Alex made five changes to the team that beat Chelsea 3-0 on Sunday. Rafael, John O’Shea, Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick and Nani were all drafted in to replace Gary Neville, Patrice Evra, Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs and Ji-sung Park.

Sunday’s victory took the Reds to within five points of league leaders Liverpool, fuelling Wigan’s visit to Old Trafford with a sense of purpose in the first of two games in hand on the Merseysiders. Steve Bruce’s men may be in flying form, but this was a chance United patently couldn’t afford to pass up.

Wigan are an altogether different proposition to Chelsea. But Sir Alex predicted his side could expect “an equally testing time”. But, when it came down to it, Wigan were like the Nicholas Cage action film: gone in 60 seconds. Less than a minute had elapsed when Dimitar Berbatov’s exquisite pass with the outside of his boot found Cristiano Ronaldo on the right. The Portuguese, who paraded his FIFA World Player of the Year award before kick-off, showed his class with a flurry of stepovers and a drilled pass across the face of goal that Wayne Rooney calmly tapped home.

It seemed like the perfect start. But that was soon tempered by Rooney’s departure from the field after just eight minutes. United’s goalscorer signalled to the bench that he could not continue, worryingly pointing to his hamstring, which is a to his hamstring, which is a notoriously temperamental injury.

Wigan’s powerful front man Emile Heskey had the visitor’s first shot on goal after 20 minutes. Amr Zaki teed up his strike partner’s headed flick on and Heskey fired wide.

By that point the game had become scrappy as United appeared settled on a lead and Wigan struggled to make headway in the final third. Rooney’s replacement, Carlos Tevez, had the best chance to add to the lead when he went clean through just after the half-hour mark. Wigan failed to deal with a loose ball and Tevez took the ball toward goal. He rounded Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, but he stumbled in doing so and Mario Melchiot recovered to make the tackle.

Melchiot again came to Wigan’s rescue with eight minutes to go in the half. The Latics couldn’t clear Nani’s ball into the box and Scholes pounced from 12 yards, but Melchiot was brave with his block. Scholes, whose presence anywhere within 40 yards of goal draws shouts of ‘SHOOT’ from the United faithful, had several shots blocked before they had the chance to ripple the net.

Despite the Reds’ fine start, this was far from United in full flight. Sir Alex didn’t want his side to settle on such a precarious lead, and with half-time approaching was soon out in the technical area making his point clear.

The second half began as scrappily and disjointed as the first had ended, but Wigan still had a menacing edge to their attacks. Jonny Evans did well to block a shot from Antonio Valencia, while Maynor Figueroa's well-struck volley was saved well by van der Sar, before a Valencia header went wide from close range.

The Old Trafford called for United to ‘attack, attack, attack’, and Sir Alex seemed to adhere by switching to a 4-3-3 formation when Anderson replaced Nani with half an hour remaining. Ronaldo pushed up alongside Berbatov and Tevez, but United's attacks were relatively blunt and Wigan were resolute.

Berbatov was unlucky with five minutes to go when a deft shot with the outside of his foot curled narrowly wide of the post. The Bulgarian can reflect on one of his better displays for the Reds, full of commitment and no shortage of class.

For United on the whole, however, this was a case of getting the job done. It may not have been particularly pretty, but points in the bag are all that matter as the title race ups a gear. And with top spot up for grabs, albeit maybe only temporarily, when United travel to Bolton on Saturday, this was mission accomplished.

Manchester United Vs. Wigan Athletic Highlights Video Clip

Manchester United [1 - 0] Wigan Athletic
1' [1 - 0] W. Rooney


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Manchester United Vs. Chelsea Match Report

At the start of a crucial week in United’s season, the Reds sent out a defiant message of intent with an impressive 3-0 victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford. Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov scored the goals on a weekend where United got under the skin of both major title rivals.

United, who started the match eight points behind league leaders Liverpool, could feasibly be top of the table by the time Liverpool play their next league fixture, a difficult Merseyside derby a week on Monday. That would require United also beating Wigan on Wednesday at home, and Bolton Wanderers away next weekend. But phase one – beating Chelsea – was comfortably completed on Sunday.

The chaotically congested first half to the season required laying of foundations, and if a game against Chelsea early in 2009 wasn’t enough to announce that the title race really is gathering pace, Rafael Benitez’s bizarre rant on Friday lit the blue touchpaper ahead of a significant weekend in the Premier League calendar. Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Stoke City presented United – and Chelsea, of course – with the chance to really pressure the league leaders.

For Sir Alex, Rio Ferdinand’s absence was a disruption, but the able Jonny Evans again deputised for Rio, who has missed four matches prior to this clash. Michael Carrick was a surprise omission, kept on the bench with Ryan Giggs starting in the centre of midfield alongside Darren Fletcher. But the Welshman was hugely influential.

Sir Alex predicted in his programme notes that he didn’t expect a goal frenzy, and the early exchanges suggested as much with few clear chances. Chelsea postured with possession football, while United hinted at an intent to break sharply from midfield with Giggs and Park’s surging runs.

On 22 minutes United claimed a penalty when Ashley Cole handled Ronaldo’s cross. But the linesman signalled a free-kick instead, which television replays seemed to support, and Petr Cech was forced to punch clear Ronaldo’s inswinging shot. Another set-piece two minutes later from the Portuguese – this time after Deco’s foul on Rooney – was deflected wide.

Howard Webb seemed determined to be at the top of the bill, needlessly brandishing four bookings in the first half an hour, which merely served to increase the tension on an already high-pressure encounter. Disappointingly there were more yellow cards than clear scoring opportunities in the first half. One of United’s best fell to Dimitar Berbatov after half an hour, but his scuffed left-foot shot caused Cech little bother.

United looked more and more threatening as the half progressed. Park was unlucky when a good move involving Giggs, Berbatov and Ronaldo created space for the Korean to shoot, but his attempt was blocked by John Terry.

The Reds were denied a perfectly legitimate goal at the end of the first half when a clever corner routine between Rooney and Giggs proved too clever for the officials. Rooney rolled the ball out of the ‘D’, but pretended that he was leaving the corner for Giggs to take. Without Chelsea realising it, the ball was in play and the Welshman took it goalwards before crossing for Ronaldo to head home. But the perplexed officials disallowed it. Ingenuity of this kind should not be punished, but justice was nevertheless done on the retake, as Vidic headed Berbatov’s flick-on past Cech.

United began the second half with greater control than at the start of the match. The Reds stroked the ball around confidently. And the patience soon paid off. Ronaldo’s backheel down the left found Evra and his cross was side-footed home from a jubilant Rooney. Old Trafford immediately belted out renditions of ‘we shall not be moved’ and ‘are you watching Merseyside’.

Ronaldo went close with two late efforts, one a deflected free-kick which Cech had to tip over, and another long-range effort that fizzed narrowly wide. The Portuguese had a significant influence on United’s third goal, though he did not score it. Ronaldo’s fearsomely struck free-kick from wide on the right was slammed home by Berbatov to complete an emphatic win for the Reds.

If this was indeed the weekend the title race really started to hot up, United responded by scorching a team many still claim could be the Reds’ fiercest rivals.

Manchester United Vs. Chelsea Highlights Video Clip

Manchester United [3 - 0] Chelsea
45' [1 - 0] N. Vidic
63' [2 - 0] W. Rooney
87' [3 - 0] D. Berbatov

1-0 N.Vidic 45'

2-0 W.Rooney 63'

3-0 D.Berbatov 87'


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Derby County Vs. Manchester United Highlights Video Clip

Derby County [1 - 0] Manchester United
30' [1 - 0] K. Commons


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Southampton Vs. Manchester United Highlights Video Clip

Southampton [0 - 3] Manchester United
21' [0 - 1] D. Welbeck
48' [0 - 2] Nani (pen.)
81' [0 - 3] D. Gibson

FC Southampton 0:3 Manchester United-FA CUP - MyVideo