Having an exam in T-11, I wasn’t planning to blog until after, but then thought if I am sitting through 90 min of the game, why not do it as the 90 ticks by.
Manchester United started the game without the in form Nani [whom I captained for my fantasy team] and Fletcher lost to illness. The first quarter of the game was a cold blooded attack by the Red Army bearing fruit as early as the 5th min when Rooney set up Berbatov for his 13th goal of the season. Having been dropped from the last fixture, Berbatov was raring to go after 3 weeks of no football.
This followed two more attempts on the woodwork by Berbatov and Anderson who has continued with his good form. But what was more rousing to watch was Giggs making some wonderful runs to the middle onto the edge of the box.
Don’t take away anything from the rest of the team with Van der Sar ball watching most of the half. As the half grew on, Sunderland started restoring some parity to the 75-25 possession the home side enjoyed, but the half time scored read 1-0 to United with Steve Bruce the happier coach to have only conceded one when the game could have so easily been well and beyond them. Special mention for Park who continues to keep up his good form and workrate.
Second half started in a more open fashion, with more end to end football, Sunderland with a lot more determination to close down United. It took only 12 min for United to double the lead through a shot with the outside of the foot of Berbatov deflecting off Anton Ferdinand and wrong footing a diving Craig Gordon. As much as this goal might be one for the ‘dubious’ goals committee, Sir Alex decided to ring in a couple of changes at the standard 60 min mark bringing on the young Italian Kiko and Gibson for Giggs and Anderson.
68th min corner for Sunderland saw Bent with a half chance with an overhead kick but well off the mark. I read Paul Wilson’s half season report in which he maintains Chelsea will go onto retain the league title, but I have to disagree. Immediately after Dimitar showed one of his characteristic sweet one touch and swiveling strike, but unfortunately straight to the keeper’s hands.
The Sunderland substitute Meyler ‘s mistimed tackle on Rafael brought on pretty much the only blood boiling moment of the game, resulted eventually in a deserved booking. Rooney’s lay off and dropping to play more of the ball has been characteristically positive and looking ominous. He is just a goal away from getting into his stride. Kiko’s display of some quick feet was good to the eye, but a 78min Bardsley cross had the United defence a little worried , eventually ending in a comfortable save off a decent strike from Zenden.
Berbatov made way for Chicharito to a welcoming manager who was all smiles to the rejuvenated Bulgarian who is having his best season in United colors and another good day at the office. Manchester United having taken the foot of the pedal were more than happy to see the game off to a satisfactory victory at home and continue their unbeaten run and stay one step ahead of the pack.
To Sum Up
- United cruises through another home victory to stay 2 points clear of Manchester City [as I blog]
- Park will be missed over the next 4-6 weeks to international duty; Nani will hopefully be back soon, am still wondering what his injury is.
- Sunderland did not justify the form with which they came to this game.
Van der Sar: 7, Evra: 7.5, Vidic: 8.5, Rio: 7.5; Rafael: 8.5, Giggs: 8.5, Carrick: 8.0, Anderson: 9.0, Park: 8.5, Berbatov: 9.5, Rooney: 9.0