Game: Manchester United Vs Sunderland
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
Competition : League Match
It was 3 points at stake but I think it’s safe to say the guard of honour and the unveiling of the Sir Alex Ferguson stand were the major highlights of the day. This game had victory written all over it for United and boy I was glad this was the game they handed Man Utd to celebrate the Gaffer’s quarter of a century of being in charge of the club. 25 years? 1 club? That’s out of this world. Despite back to back victories after the 6-1 drubbing by City, United have not been playing as well as they did when the season kicked off. Sunderland manager (a former United player) has played against Sir Alex 16 times just before this game without victory. My close friends had written Sunderland off and they were so sure Bruce would gladly tell his lads not to be a their best so Fergie can have a sweet celebration (LOL). I don’t know how that can be possible.
Sir Alex was able to play Vidic and Ferdinand together for the 1st time since the 1st game of the season. He also decided to start with Anders Lindergaard. His starting line up had Lindergaard, Jones, Evra, Vidic, Rio, Fletcher (300th appearance for United), Park, Rooney, Nani, Welbeck and Chicharito. Steve Bruce with a number of ex United players (John Oshea, Wes Brown, Kieran Richardson, Phil Bardsley) handed a debut to goalkeeper Kieren Westwood. Westwood, Richardson, Bardsley, Brown, Michael Turner, Jack Colback, Lee Cattermole, Stephane Sessegnon, Seb Larsson, Connor Wickham and Nicklaus Bendtner made up the starting line up for the Black Cats. 3 ex United players in defence? Now I see what my friends meant.
The 1st half kicked off with United dominating as expected but no clear cut chances to set up a goal. The best chances fell to Sunderland with Lindergaard forced to make a save from Bendtner and Larsson’s effort deflecting off Evra. Hernandez (Chicharito) would have put United 1 goal up if he didn’t fall tamely from a Larsson challenge in the Black Cats’ box. Phil Jones would have scored for the Red Devils in the 43rd minute but his volley went way off target. Man Utd then took the lead in injury time. And it was United’s ex player (Wes Brown) who scored. He turned in a Welbeck header into his own goal. So I guess my friends were probably right about Sunderland doing us a favour. 1st half ends with United a goal up.
The 2nd half didn’t start with the same excitement as the 1st but United still had the larger share of the possession. They came close to scoring in the 64th minute but Richardson stopped Nani with a fair challenge and Richardson made a goal line clearance from Chicharito’s header off a corner by Nani. There was a moment of controversy where ref Lee Mason appeared to have awarded Sunderland a penalty. It looked like Korean Ji who came on for the injured Wickham was fouled. Mason pointed to spot but 1 of the assistant refs called his attention. After a lengthy discussion the penalty decision was rescinded and Ji booked for handball. Debutant Westwood was forced to make a double save in the 71st as United pressed for a 2nd goal. He parried Rooney’s shot and tipped Evra’s follow up over the bar. Bendtner could have equalised for the Black Cats if he had connected with Larsson’s cross. Game ends 1-0. Another three points in the bag for the Red Devils.
I must point out that Rooney played in the midfield and I hope Sir Alex knows he got it wrong by not investing in a world class midfielder, no offence to the others. He really needs to replace Paul Scholes. Man of the match for me shockingly was Rio Ferdinand but Rooney and Evra also impressed me. Special mention to Kieren Westwood who had an awesome debut.
All the big guns in the EPL had victories except of course King Kenny’s army (Liverpool). Though my games of the weekend were QPR versus Man City and Newcastle versus Everton.
Thanks a whole lot for your time……………………. Bless
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