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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Manchester United Vs. West Ham United Match Result Report

United were just too good. The Reds dominated right from the start and West Ham's futile resistance only lasted until the 33rd minute when Wayne Rooney opened his account for the season from the penalty spot. Goals of unquestionable class from Nani and Dimitar Berbatov followed after the break, sealing as convincing and comfortable a 3-0 win as you are ever likely to witness.

Avram Grant’s side arrived at Old Trafford bottom of the table and without a win in their first two games – defeats to Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers, which on both occasions saw them concede three goals. Their narrow 1-0 midweek win over Oxford offered some respite, but the second round of the League Cup is a far cry from Old Trafford, and the gulf in class was brutally apparent.

However, United too had a point to prove – which Sir Alex's men would do emphatically – after dropping two against Fulham last weekend. Sir Alex made three changes to the team that drew 2-2 at Craven Cottage. Rooney, who missed the Fulham trip with a stomach bug, replaced Javier Hernandez up front alongside Berbatov. Nani was drafted in for Antonio Valencia, while Ryan Giggs replaced Ji-sung Park.

The autumnal weather in Manchester – a seemingly random mix of wind, sun and rain – left a slick surface which, as well as encouraging a few late sliding tackles from West Ham’s feistier players, allowed United’s rapid passing to blossom.

Rooney registered the first effort on goal after 10 minutes, shuffling across the Rooney, Berbatov and Nani at the centre of it. The latter two men combined on 20 minutes for a move that should have yielded the first goal. Vidic’s long, diagonal ball forward picked out Berbatov in space. The Bulgarian – nonchalantly as is his way – flicked the ball back into the path of Nani, whose thunderous effort crashed off the crossbar via a vital fingertip save from Green.

West Ham, for their part, offered energy and industry but little genuine quality. And after 33 minutes United finally took the lead from the penalty spot. Paul Scholes' sumptuous pass picked out Ryan Giggs on the left and he befuddled former Red Jonathan Spector and was subsequently clumsily fouled by the American. After Nani’s miss last week at Fulham, and with United’s talisman back in the team, there was no doubting who would take this penalty. Rooney stepped up confidently, arced his run and sent Green the wrong way to give United a deserved lead.

Clearly in the ascendancy the Reds went searching for a second before the break. Darren Fletcher forced another fine save from Green, this time with a curling effort from 25 yards that West Ham’s shot-stopper turned around the post. Then Berbatov fired over from six yards with a difficult shot on the bounce, while Nani also shot over the bar with a lob that required a far more delicate touch to beat the onrushing Green. United went in at the interval with a slender 1-0 lead; fully dominant thought not completely ruthless in front of goal.

But there was no profligacy from Nani five minutes into the second half. The Portuguese winger cut inside from his station on the right, had defenders back-tracking and falling over their own feet, then struck a vicious left-footed shot past Green from 18 yards to make it 2-0.

United’s football at times was sublime, the neat trickery and interchanging play between Berbatov and Nani in particular catching the eye. Admittedly, West Ham looked lost defensively. Kieron Dyer hit the outside of the Edwin van der Sar’s post after 55 minutes, but it says it all that the Hammers fans almost didn't notice, they were preoccupied with entertaining themselves with their repertoire of songs.

The Reds’ third goal was the best of the lot and came after 69 minutes, unsurprisingly with Nani and Berbatov combining to score it. Nani pitched up a cross to the far post and Berbatov waited unmarked before scissor-kicking the ball past Green. Technically wonderful, with pin-sharp precision, summing up the Bulgarian's input all afternoon.

With the points wrapped up, Sir Alex made a triple substitution with fifteen minutes to go. Chris Smalling came on for his home debut, replacing Jonny Evans; Michael Owen made his first appearance at OT since suffering an injury in February, in place of Berbatov; while Michael Carrick came on for the, once again, impressive Scholes. The Hammers fans' joked “we’re going to win 4-3” and even resorted to pretending they’d scored four goals to clinch victory. There was no chance of that, of course, United were a class above Avram Grant’s side. And while performances like this indicate that the Reds will be challenging at the top end of the table this term, so too it suggests that West Ham will be scrapping at the exact opposite end of the table.

Manchester United Vs. West Ham United Highlights Video Clips

Manchester United [3 - 0] West Ham United
33' [1 - 0] W. Rooney (pen.)
50' [2 - 0] Nani
69' [3 - 0] D. Berbatov


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fulham Vs. Manchester United Match Result Report

Despite twice taking the lead, through Paul Scholes' 150th club goal and a Brede Hangeland own-goal, United were held to a frustrating draw at Craven Cottage.

A bright start from the Reds was rewarded with a powerful long-range strike from the veteran midfielder, but Fulham manfully rode out the storm, clawed their way back into the game and equalised when Davies converted Damien Duff's low cross.

In a breathless finish to the afternoon, Hangeland struck twice from corners in the space of five minutes; first deflecting home Nani's centre to put United back into the lead, then powerfully heading in a 90th-minute leveller for the hosts. Irritatingly for United, the Norwegian's pair bookended a missed penalty from Nani which would have sealed victory.

As Wayne Rooney was left in Manchester to recover from a virus, Sir Alex Ferguson retained a 4-4-2 formation, and paired Chicharito with Dimitar Berbatov. The only other change from the side which overcame Newcastle was the introduction of Ji-sung Park, who took the place of Nani on the left wing.

Even without the injured Mark Schwarzer in goal, Fulham's line-up - also in 4-4-2 - appeared more than capable of testing United's will to avoid a third successive defeat at Craven Cottage.

The hosts were on the back foot early on as United popped passes around with conviction, but struggled to find a route through the Cottagers' well-drilled stand-in stopper was helpless to prevent United taking the lead from the ensuing corner.

Antonio Valencia swapped passes with Park and fizzed a low cross into Berbatov. The Bulgarian's controlled layoff to Scholes was inch-perfect, as the onrushing veteran arced a powerful 25-yard effort through a cluster of bodies and beyond Stockdale.

Following on from magnificent play-making displays against Chelsea and Newcastle, Scholes' landmark - and trademark - goal was yet further evidence of his enduring excellence.

Fulham's response was one of defiance, as Simon Davies hooked a volley just over Edwin van der Sar's crossbar and Jonny Evans had to be alert to cut out Clint Dempsey's through-ball for Bobby Zamora, but United's play still carried a menacing edge.

Berbatov slipped below the hosts' radar time and again, dropping deep to collect and spread the ball, while Darren Fletcher governed central midfield with an all-action display. Stockdale was twice called into action by the Bulgarian, tipping away one powerful near-post effort and clutching a stinging 20-yarder into his midriff.

Still Fulham chipped away at United, however, and it took a breathtaking double save from van der Sar to preserve parity. Dempsey's fine through-ball found Dickson Etuhu, whose first shot was parried out by the Dutchman, while his Patrice Evra was left in Duff's wake by a neat piece of trickery on the right flank, and the winger sped towards goal before feeding Zamora. The latter's tantalising pull back into the middle of the area allowed Davies to slot home.

The goal was fully merited for Fulham's spirited, controlled display after a shaky start, and it was of no surprise that both teams harboured hopes of taking all three points in the remainder of the second period.

It was United who came closest to doing so, as Chicharito fired over from 20 yards and a Berbatov header deflected off Scholes, straight to Stockdale. Nani, Ryan Giggs and Michael Owen all entered the fray, at the expense of Park, Valencia and Chicharito, and Nani soon came close with a free-kick from the edge of the Fulham area.

Nemanja Vidic headed Giggs' corner narrowly wide as United cranked up the pressure, but a collective lapse in concentration allowed Zamora to fire wastefully wide when a square ball to Etuhu would have given the midfielder a simple conversion.

Soon enough a white-clad player was on target, but at the wrong end. As the Reds turned the screw, Nani's corner landed amid a cluster of bodies, struck Hangeland on the knee and ricocheted between Stockdale and substitute Jonathan Greening on the line.

If Fulham's sense of injustice was provoked by the slapstick nature of their alive.

The importance of that passage of play materialised in the final minute of normal time. The Cottagers equalised for a second time, as Duff's floated corner was emphatically headed home by Hangeland to cancel out his earlier mistake.

Fulham's spirit was worth a share of the spoils, but Sir Alex Ferguson and his players will share seething frustration at having twice surrendered the lead, and passed up a glorious chance to seal the points.

Fulham Vs. Manchester United Highlights Video Clip

Fulham [2 - 2] Manchester United
11' [0 - 1] P. Scholes
57' [1 - 1] S. Davies
84' [1 - 2] B. Hangeland (o.g.)
90' [2 - 2] B. Hangeland


Monday, August 16, 2010

Manchester United Vs. Newcastle United Match Result Report

The Reds’ quest to regain the Barclays Premier League title began at Old Trafford on Monday night with a commanding win over newly-promoted Newcastle United.

Goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Fletcher gave the home side a deserved lead at the break before substitute Ryan Giggs volleyed home a third to underline United’s dominance. By then, though, it was all academic: the result never looked in doubt against a Magpies outfit that struggled to take flight, despite an encouraging opening 10 minutes.

Before kick-off there was greater-than-usual anticipation in the pre-match television build-up, as fans waited to see what sort of side Sir Alex would name for this season opener. It soon transpired there was no room for the summer signings, as both Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandez started on the bench. Berbatov and Wayne Rooney were given the nod to lead the attack, while Patrice Evra, despite not featuring in any of United’s pre-season preparations, took up his familiar left-back position.
Fletcher and Paul Scholes, the latter taking part in his 15th consecutive opening-day fixture, were charged with bossing the centre of midfield and in former Red Alan Smith and tough-tackling Joey Barton found themselves up against formidable and physical foes.

The Magpies endured the expected early spell of sustained Reds pressure, but it was Chris Hughton’s side who fashioned the game's first real opportunity. Andy Carroll had done well to win a corner off Vidic and it was the young centre- should have done better than head wide from six yards out.

At the other end, Sir Alex’s men were restricted to speculative shots from distance. Smith bravely blocked from O’Shea while neither Nani nor Rooney could bend free-kicks around the Newcastle wall. Worryingly for the vocal visiting support, though, Newcastle's stubborn defending appeared to be accompanied by a desire to self-destruct, as James Perch and Fabricio Coloccini both gifted possession to the Reds in dangerous areas of the pitch. But Sir Alex's men did themselves no favours, either: Scholes, masterful for most of the night, uncharacteristically picked the wrong pass when United had the Magpies on the back foot before Rooney unwittingly nicked a volley off Berbatov's toes and then blasted over from 12 yards.

United's perseverance and patience paid off on 33 minutes, though, when Berbatov latched onto Scholes' pass to fire the Reds into the lead. Jose Enrique managed the merest of touches on Scholes' defence-splitting ball but couldn't divert it away from Berbatov, who finished low and hard into the far corner.

The visitors hinted at an immediate equaliser but United soon took the reins again, monopolising possession and asserting dominance. And it wasn't long before the second goal arrived. Good link-up play from Nani and Evra on the left flank released the Frenchman into the penalty area. From there, his drilled cross bounced off Rooney and up, tantalisingly, for Fletcher to hit on the spin and send the Reds into the break with a deserved two-goal cushion.

The interval provided welcome respite for the visitors, but within minutes of the restart Sir Alex's men were terrorising the Newcastle back four again. In fact, the hosts could easily have been four goals to the good by the hour mark. Scholes was denied what looked a decent shout for a penalty under a rash challenge by Coloccini before a delicious move involving five one-touch passes ended with Berbatov poking the ball just wide of Steve Harper’s left-hand upright.

Rooney’s frustrating evening – little came off for the England striker, who’s still without a club goal since March – came to an end on 63 minutes when Sir Alex introduced Javier Hernandez for his Old Trafford bow. The 22-year-old's every touch was cheered by the home crowd and Scholes and Nani wasted no time in playing balls in behind the Newcastle defence for the speedy Mexican to chase.

Berbatov thrice produced clever skill close to goal that was exciting yet ultimately fruitless, while Newcastle substitute Shola Ameobi came closest for the visitors in the second half when he headed Barton’s corner well wide of the mark on 80 minutes.

In truth, though, the contest had been over after 45 minutes. It was clear then where the three points were heading; Ryan Giggs’ superb third – a volley with the outside of the foot after he’d been picked out by Scholes (who else?) at the back post – was little more than icing on the cake.

Manchester United Vs. Newcastle United Highlights Video Clips

Manchester United [3 - 0] Newcastle United
33' [1 - 0] D. Berbatov
41' [2 - 0] D. Fletcher
85' [3 - 0] R. Giggs


Wednesday, August 11, 2010