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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wigan Athletic Vs. Manchester United Match Report Result

A goal either side of half-time from Javier Hernandez and late strikes by Wayne Rooney and Fabio da Silva settled an entertaining, end-to-end affair at the DW Stadium in Wigan on Saturday.

The victory, only United’s fourth away from home in the league this season, wasn’t as straightforward as the scoreline suggests, but restores the Reds’ four-point lead at the top of the table.

With United next in action on Tuesday evening at Stamford Bridge, Sir Alex’s men have a chance to stretch that lead to seven by the time title rivals Arsenal play again. And that gap could prove psychologically damaging to a Gunners side that haven’t won the league since 2004.

At Wigan on Saturday, Ryan Giggs and Michael Owen had been tipped to return, but neither was involved in the Reds' matchday squad. Sir Alex did make two changes from the side that drew away in Marseille during the week, though, with Paul Scholes replacing Darron Gibson in the centre of midfield and Dimitar Berbatov making way for Hernandez.

The home side started brightest and enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening quarter of an hour. Nemanja Vidic was forced into a fine block tackle on the edge of his area to deny the onrushing Charles N’Zogbia while Hugo Rodallega volleyed over the bar from 12 yards.

The biggest scare came on 13 minutes, when Victor Moses charged down a Paul Scholes pass and ended up clean through on goal with only Edwin van der Sar to beat. The Dutchman, in his 250th United appearance, stayed big to block Moses’ effort with his shoulder and keep the match goalless.

It didn’t stay that way for long, though. Two minutes later, Hernandez put the Reds ahead with a clever finish from close range after Nani fired a low ball into the six-yard box. The temptation must have been to hit the ball hard but the young Mexican, who’s scored in each of United’s four away wins this term, chose instead to deftly flick the ball over Ali Al-Habsi in the Wigan goal.

It was a terrific finish, albeit against the run of play, and United were again indebted to van der Sar when, within a minute of the restart, he dashed off his line and smothered James McCarthy’s effort.

On a patchy pitch, against the league’s 18th-placed side, the Reds may have expected a bruising battle at the DW Stadium. Instead, the two teams produced more goalmouth action in the opening 20 minutes than United fans experienced all evening in Marseille during Wednesday's bore draw.

But for a heavy touch on the edge of the penalty area, Hernandez may have netted again in the first half, while Nani rounded off a well-worked passing move by smashing a left-footed shot off the inside of Al-Habsi’s post.

expected a bruising battle. Instead, the two teams produced more goalmouth action in the opening 20 minutes than United and Marseille served up all game during Wednesday night’s bore draw.

But for a heavy touch on the edge of the penalty area, Hernandez may have netted again in the first half, while Nani rounded off a well-worked passing move by smashing a left-footed shot off the inside of Al-Habsi’s post.

Even so, Sir Alex’s men never looked in complete command. Every time Wigan attacked they did so in numbers and when the Latics lost the ball they pressed United high up the pitch in an effort to win it back.

Moses, Rodallega and McCarthy were particularly impressive and will no doubt have felt aggrieved trudging off at the break a goal down.

Neither manager shuffled his pack at half-time and the home side, just as they did in the opening period, flew out of the traps. Left-back Maynor Figueroa stung van der Sar’s palms when he unleashed a rocket from distance, while Rodallega beat Vidic in the air to head goalwards on 50 minutes.

The Reds soon settled, though, and Nani, Evra and Hernandez all wreaked havoc inside the penalty area before Nani rippled the side-netting with a powerful left-footed drive. The Portuguese caused further problems for Wigan on the hour mark when his shot was spilled by Al-Habsi.

Rooney gathered the loose ball and laid the ball back to Darren Fletcher, but by the time the Scot could squeeze off a shot Wigan’s defenders had blocked the path to goal.

Meanwhile, at the other end, Victor Moses skied a difficult chance, teed up after good work down the inside-right channel by Hugo Rodallega, and substitute Franco di Santo’s effort was ruled out for offside in the move’s build-up.

That’s as close as the home side came to piercing the Reds’ defensive line. From that point, all the goalmouth action occurred at the other end.

Hernandez effectively wrapped up the points on 74 minutes when he and Rooney combined brilliantly 35 yards out to play the Mexican in on goal. He kept his cool to slot the ball past Al-Habsi and net his second of the match and 13th of the season.

Ten minutes later it was 3-0 after Dimitar Berbatov ran onto a long Darron Gibson pass, advanced towards goal, drew Al-Habsi and unselfishly rolled the ball sideways for Rooney to tap into the empty net.

There was still time for another, though, and young Fabio da Silva made it 4-0 with three minutes to play. Sent on to replace Nani, Fabio soon found himself unmarked at the far post and made no mistake from close range.

Wigan Athletic Vs. Manchester United Highlights Video Clips

Wigan Athletic [0 - 4] Manchester United
17' [0 - 1] J. Hernandez
74' [0 - 2] J. Hernandez
84' [0 - 3] W. Rooney
87' [0 - 4] F.d.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Marseille Vs. Manchester United Match Result Report

United may not have followed the leads of Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs in the Champions League's last-16 ties, but the Reds remain favourites to reach the quarter-finals after this stalemate with a decent if unambitious Marseille side.

Goalscoring chances were few and far between on a disappointing night at Stade Velodrome, and Sir Alex Ferguson will hope for more from his attacking players when the battle continues at Old Trafford in a fortnight's time - while asking his defence to remain just as solid against the threat of the dreaded away goal for Marseille.

The United boss recalled eight big guns at the back and in attack for the first leg, but he picked two thirds of the same midfield which laboured to victory over Crawley Town in the FA Cup – Darron Gibson and Michael Carrick – and retained John O’Shea in defence.

Darren Fletcher drove a first-time shot through a ruck of players; Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda saw it late but pulled off a fine save.

After a lively opening, the game’s tempo dipped to a more typical level for a European match. Less characteristic was United’s use of the ball – or rather misuse with sloppy passes from central midfield handing Marseille opportunities they didn’t have the wherewithal to exploit. Fortunately Rod Fanni’s right-flank delivery didn’t match the brilliance of his turn and surge past Rooney, while Brandao’s bicycle kick had style but insufficient substance to concern Edwin van der Sar.

The sides won a corner apiece in the closing moments of the first half, from their favoured right flanks. Remy whipped in a ball that Smalling had to repel from the six-yard line with a diving header; then O’Shea’s cross was blocked by Heinze.

The second period opened in similar fashion to the first, with Marseille and United doing enough in the right areas to suggest a decent half was in prospect. Brandao nodded a cross into the hands of van der Sar, while Heinze used his head at the other end to bale out Mandanda after Rooney’s centre left the keeper unusually stranded.

Smalling and Vidic had to be equally alert as Marseille’s attacks gathered some momentum, with both United centre-backs making timely blocks to thwart Remy and Lucho. In the same dangerous spell, a free-kick won by Heinze’s theatrics and a close call from Andre Ayew’s left foot stirred the biggest roars from the home fans – not that the incessantly noisy bunch, backed by a battery of drummers, needed any encouragement.

After weathering a brief storm, the Reds broke out with O’Shea reaching the byline and pulling the ball back for Nani. The Portuguese winger elected to flick it on rather than fire at goal and Berbatov’s shot found the bulk of Souleymane Diawara

Sir Alex made his first change with 18 minutes remaining, replacing Gibson with the most experienced player at his disposal, Paul Scholes. Keeping possession and staying composed were the key aims following his introduction – anything else would have been a bonus and it might have come had Mandanda not been quick off his line to stop Nani finishing off some fine interplay with Berbatov.

A couple of late corners raised the home fans’ hopes but in the end they – and United – had to be content with 0-0 and no damage done at half-time in this tie.
Marseille made an aggressive start straight from the kick-off, in both senses of the word - Gabriel Heinze lunged at Nani and Loic Remy fired the first wild shot across United’s bows, both inside the first 60 seconds. Nani was closer with his opening crack at goal when Dimitar Berbatov teed up him just outside the box, although again the goalkeeper wasn’t troubled.

Playing on the right of a front three, Nani was putting the home side on the rack in the early stages with his surges beyond Heinze. When one such streak drew a foul and Nani’s free-kick was only half cleared,

Marseille Vs. Manchester United Highlights Video Clips

Marseille 0 - 0 Manchester United


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Manchester United Vs. Crawley Match Result Report

There may be 93 league places between the two teams, but there was no gulf in the scoreline, with a much-changed United side having to work hard to book a place in the FA Cup quarter finals as Wes Brown’s first-half header ensured a narrow victory.

It would be unfair to patronise Crawley Town and describe them as plucky, but they came to Old Trafford with a positive attitude, tried to play football and, most of all, made a testing, trying game of it for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men. For which they should be commended. Their fans may not make the long journey home to the south coast on a wave of euphoria, but they return with plenty of pride at their team’s performance.

For United, this tie was sandwiched between a vital Manchester derby league match and the resumption of the Champions League knockout stages with a first-leg tie away to Marseille on Wednesday. This was about doing a job to get through to the next round, whilst offering playing time to those in most need of it. In that sense, it was a job well done. There was a scoring, solid display from captain Brown, while Darron Gibson and John O’Shea can take positives from their performances.

United made nine changes to the team that beat City in such dramatic circumstances at Old Trafford seven days previously. Match-winner Wayne Rooney was included on the bench as an insurance policy, but when selecting his substitutes Sir Alex might have hoped to be in a position to use three teenagers: 19-year-old striker Joshua King, and midfielders Ryan Tunnicliffe (18) and Paul Pogba (17). Although he was not afforded that luxury, the experience of the day will have served them well.

As expected, it was a high-tempo, positive start from the Sussex club, backed by 9,000 giddy fans. They were clearly confident, and on this stage, having beaten three league sides – Swindon, Derby and Torquay – en route to Old Trafford, why shouldn’t they be? United have all the experience and know-how to beat a team 93 league places below them, but the FA Cup can be neglectful of hierarchy.

The first opening for United came after good work from Gabriel Obertan, briefly having switched to the right flank, and the Frenchman flashed a low ball across the six-yard box. Unfortunately nobody gambled on reaching it. Then after 11 minutes, Crawley midfielder Ben Smith had the visitors’ first opportunity with a speculative shot on the bounce which although going wide had had Anders Lindegaard, on his second start for United, momentarily worried.

The Reds gradually began to take a grip of the game and it was United’s no.28 Darron Gibson’s vision who created the goal on 28 minutes. First, his glorious 40-yard through-ball played Javier Hernandez in, but the Mexican was tackled before he could get his shot off. From the resulting corner, Gibson’s second attempt at a cross was met with a glancing header from Wes Brown that nestled inside the far post. It’s his first United goal since October 2008, and only his fourth goal for the Reds.

It could have been 2-0 five minutes later when Carrick’s scything pass set Fabio bearing down on goal, but the Brazilian left-back’s shot with the outside of his right boot went wide, and shortly after that Obertan had a drilled effort cutting in from the left that Michael Kuipers palmed away.

United started the second half by introducing Rooney in place of Anderson, and before the hour mark Chris Smalling came on in place of Rafael, with John O’Shea shifting to right-back and with 20 minutes remaining Darren Fletcher was called upon when Fabio suffered an injury. It meant none of the hopeful teenagers would get on but the game was still too tight for that. United had been limited to two timid efforts, one from Rooney which went over the bar and another curling effort from Fabio which Kuipers comfortably saved.

Despite United having an increased number of experienced players on the pitch, the performance had become possibly more fractured. And when David Hunt volleyed wide from 12 yards for the visitors with little more than quarter of an hour of the game remaining, the visiting supporters seemed more intent on getting something from then game. And when Matt Tubbs sent an overhead kick narrowly over the bar, there was a palpable sense of purpose about Crawley and their travelling fans.

United were being made to work for the victory, as well they should. That the Reds spent the closing stages seeing this game out rather than rampantly seeking to add to the scoreline tells all about the match as a contest. In fact, Crawley came closest to the game's second goal when substitute Richard Brodie hit the bar with a looping header in stoppage time. Most importantly for United, a place in the last eight of the competition beckons.

Manchester United Vs. Crawley Highlights Video Clip

Manchester United [1 - 0] Crawley
28' [1 - 0] W. Brown