Having returned to winning ways the previous week by beating Bolton Wanderers, United travelled down to London to face Arsenal in a crunch game for the reds. Traditionally, the fixture between United and Arsenal has been one full of controversy and excitement, as the two great rivals collided to decide the fate of the league title. However, with Arsenal languishing outside of the top four and fresh off the back of two back to back defeats, United were strong favourites going into the clash despite having a relatively poor record at the Emirates stadium. An injury to Rio Ferdinand saw a forced change at the heart of United’s defence, with Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling charged with dealing with the prolific Robin Van Persie. (More …)
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The Faithful welcomes guest writer Kim Willott to our website. Here is her thoughts on our dilemma we currently have at right-back
As you know the injury problems of our defence has risen over the past few weeks, with Jonny Evans now being added to a long list of United players out of action. With Gary Neville deciding it was time to frame the shirt and hang it above his bed last season, it was time for somebody else to step up to the plate. Since then we’ve had Rafael, Fabio, Smalling, Jones and on the odd occasion, Valencia filling in at right back. It’s a problem that’s been facing us for quite some time and needs to be resolved sooner rather than later. (More …)
Following two disastrous consecutive losses, United faced league leaders and rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup third round, looking to avoid a hat trick of defeats, a record United have preserved since 2001. Having succumbed to a humiliating 6-1 reverse scoreline at Old Trafford earlier in the season, the reds were keen to make amends and set the record straight, albeit whilst in their worst run of form of the campaign. United welcomed back Chris Smalling to the defence alongside Rio Ferdinand, with Phil Jones occupying a right back slot after enduring a difficult evening against Demba Ba in midweek. Wayne Rooney was looking to score his 12th derby goal for United, and assure the fans he was committed to club following reports that he is looking to move on in the near future, as he partnered Danny Welbeck in an attacking United line up. Pre match chatter however was diverted towards the shock inclusion of United legend Paul Scholes amongst the substitutes, with news that Scholesy is taking up a playing role with the club for the remainder of the season to avert the current injury crisis. It was to be the first twist in what was a bizarre afternoon of football.
A crackling atmosphere encouraged the home side to a strong start, controlling large amounts of possession and keeping United pinned back into their half for the opening 10 minutes. It was the red half of Manchester that struck the first blow however, when on 10 minutes, the much scrutinised Rooney bravely met Antonio Valencia’s cross to head United into the lead, triggering a match altering 5 minutes. Minutes after taking the lead, United were handed yet another boost, as City skipper Vincent Kompany was dismissed for a two footed lunge on Nani handing the reds a man advantage for the remaining 70 minutes of the tie. United asserted their dominance on the half hour mark, as they doubled their lead through Danny Welbeck, who pounced upon a loose ball in the City penalty area to volley home into the bottom corner. A dream half was complete for United when 5 minutes before the break, Ryan Giggs’s reverse pass to Danny Welbeck saw the England striker chopped down by a rash challenge from Alexsander Kolarov, handing the reds the chance to take a 3 goal lead from the spot. Stand in City keeper Pantilimon saved Rooney’s spot kick, but couldn’t prevent him from nodding home the rebound for his second of the game, sending the 6000 reds into a delirious celebratory Poznan! (More …)
United returned to Craven Cottage for the second of their London away trips in a week, as they took on Martin Jol’s Fulham side who have so far disappointed in the league. Late heartbreak last season, and a humiliating 3-0 capitulation the season before meant United were facing a traditionally difficult fixture against the West London side, but having recently found good form were hot favourites to take the three points back up the M6. An injury to Rio Ferdinand saw Ryan Giggs come into the side for a rare start, with Phil Jones dropping back to centre half, in one of only 2 changes to the side who dispatched QPR at the weekend.
With goals being the only thing lacking from United’s recent performances, the reds looked keen to set the record straight with a scoreline to send out a message to the rest of the league. With just 4 minutes on the clock, United were in front, Nani capitalizing on some tentative Fulham defending before cutting back to the grateful Welbeck, sweeping home his 6th of the season. It was an irrepressible United performance, roared on by the red masses gathered in the Putney End with Antonio Valencia, Nani, Rooney and Giggs all ripping into Fulham with regularity and aplomb. An injury to Phil Jones whilst worrying, did little to dampen United’s momentum, and they were soon 2 ahead after Giggs’s undefendable cross was nodded home by Nani at the near post, putting the reds out of sight. The icing on an almost perfect first half was added by Giggs, who’s deselected shot looped over the helpless Stockdale, handing the Welshman the enviable stat of having scored in every single Premier League season, and condemning Fulham to a long second half. (More …)
As the festive period approaches, United took on the first of two London away days in a week agains newly promoted QPR at Loftus Road. Fresh off their confident 4-1 victory over Wolves, United were looking to continue their good league form and temporarily go back to the top with City playing later in the day. With injuries ravaging the squad, Ferguson named an unchanged line up for the first time since October, as the boss looked to maintain the consistent league form which has seen United recover well since the defeat to City.
With the chance to really put some pressure on City for the first time, United came out of the traps with real gusto, and were ahead before QPR could even pause for breath, as Antonio Valencia’s inch perfect cross was nodded home by Rooney for his 3rd goal in 2 games. Having got off to the dream start, United were looking back to their imperious best and looked favourites to double their lead, with Welbeck and then Nani going close. However, as the half continued, QPR’s began to adapt to the frentic pace of the contest, and began to forge some chances of their own, with Helguson and Bothroyd going close for the home side. It was United however who forged the clear cut chances, and both Evans and Jones were guilty of squandering guilt edge chances to kill the game off. Firstly, Evans managed to head onto the cross bar from 6 yards with the goal at his mercy, and then Jones tamely shot at Cerny’s legs after being magnificently played through from Rooney, leaving United with a deserved but precarious 1-0 half time advantage. (More …)
In what has been a somewhat lack lustre season for United in the champions league so far, the reds travelled to face Swiss side Basle in the finale of what had proved to be a troublesome group C. With United needing only a point to qualify, albeit against determined opposition, there was a feeling that things would be alright on the night for the reds, with a full strength line up including Ryan Giggs and Phil Jones in the centre of midfield. Basel welcomed back star man Shaqiri to their midfield, who had previously missed the game at Old Trafford earlier in the campaign, as the Swiss side looked to spring an unlikely upset. (More …)
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Following 2 home draws against Benfica and Newcastle United, the reds looked to get back to winning ways with the visit of championship side Crystal Palace in the quarter finals of the carling cup. With rivals City and Liverpool already in the draw for the semi’s the prospect of a mouth watering tie in the next round provided all the incentive for a young United side, many of whom had plenty to prove following last years dismal exit to West Ham at the same stage. Having impressed in his brief cameo against Aldershot, starlet Ravel Morrison found himself on the subs bench, whilst the much maligned Darron Gibson was handed his first start of the season, looking to force his way back into the United reckoning. (More …)
High fliers Newcastle United were the visitors to Old Trafford as United returned to Premier League action following the dissapointment of the mid week draw against Benfica. With Alan Pardew’s side defying pre season predictions that they might struggle by sitting in the dizzy heights of fourth, United knew they were in for a tough afternoon against one of the in form defences in the league. United were relying on the returning trio of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Ashley Young to provide the goals which had been lacking of late, despite a good run of form for the reds. (More …)
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United welcomed Portuguese side Benfica to Old Trafford for the penultimate game of their Champions League group stage campaign. Having endured a relatively poor start, United had to win to ensure top spot in the group and a berth in the last 16 of the competition, importantly avoiding European giants such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the next round. With Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck both ruled out with injuries, Dimitar Berbatov was handed a rare start for United, only the Bulgarian’s 5th of the season, as Ashley Young also returned after a spell on the sidelines with a tow injury. (More …)
Many club football fans typically abhor international breaks. They spend the intermittent time between their club’s fixtures to deplore the lack of “proper football” and complain about their national teams. I certainly am no exception and my distaste for the US national side is well-documented. But unlike others, I have come to enjoy the international breaks, mainly because it allows a brief respite from the cacophony of the regular season and provides perspective.
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