With MUFC playing a late game at the Molineux, Arsenal had the opportunity to put the league leaders under pressure, however a shocker of a comeback [the first of its kind in the history of the premier league]from 0-4 down by the Toons, kept the door ajar for the red devils to march on even further ahead.
Sir Alex went in with a full strength squad with Rafael [concussion] returning from injury and Fletcher [eye] cleared to play. Rio Ferdinand having picked up an injury during warm-up was replaced by Evans.
Wolves started very positively putting pressure all over the ground, not giving United any time on the ball. But once again the visitors managed to pull off an early goal when Nani was released from the half line, took on two defenders and cut in to send one past the near post of the keeper.
The whole ground went silent but it didn’t take long for the home team to strike back when a complacent united outfit were too slow to react to a corner quickly taken, and an unmarked Elokobi headed well past a stretching Van der Sar.
The equalizer shifted the momentum well in favor of the home side, and with the crowd spurring them on, United began to display some shoddy passing and irresponsible defending with hardly any forward move of noteable outcome. The solidarity of the Vidic – Rio partnership lacking, the frailties and the lack of confidence of the young centre back was exposed time and again by the relentless work ethic of Kevin Doyle, who was simply outstanding for the entire game.
As the half grew on, Wolves were growing in confidence while United were surprisingly sedate and poor.
Another set piece, and another poor display of defending resulted in another headed goal this time Doyle getting the final touch and United were in a hole walking to the dressing room at HT.
46’- 90’ [+5]
Tactical HT time change brought Paul Scholes on for Carrick. It took the magician just his second touch to get his radar right, but such was the quality of defending by the Wolves, throwing bodies on the line, they were desperate to hold onto an unexpected opportunity of coming away with 3 points against the visitors. Little Pea has been consistently scoring off the bench and he was brought on to replace Berbatov while Smalling came on to replace a not so impressive Evans. But the lack of quality service from the midfield meant Chicharito did not have any good opportunity to work the keeper at all.
An uncharacteristic Ryan Giggs was seen to vent his frustration at Doyle, by kicking him while play was stopped, but got away without any booking. An attempted ‘Hand of God’ by Paul Scholes helped him register himself not alongside Diego Maradona, but in the ref’s book!
TO SUM UP
- Manchester United played one of the worst games as a defensive unit and meager in attack. Their dismal poor run away from home was once more affirmed and their unbeatable run came to an end against a bottom 3 team.
- The missed opportunity to go 3 points ahead and punish the Gunners for dropping 2 points – can be considered significant as Arsenal could so easily have been out of title contention after their ill fortuitous fumble at St. James Park.
- With the derby due next week, and Rio ruled out with injury for 2 weeks, testing times ahead, no doubt.
- In a day when 41 goals were scored with some fantastic individual performances, this game doesn’t qualify under the highlights package.
Van der Sar 7.0 Evra 7.0 Vidic 7.0 Evans 6.0 Rafael 7.5 Giggs 6.5 Carrick 6.5 Fletcher 6.5 Nani 8.0 Berbatov 7.0 Rooney 7.0
Subs: Smalling 7.0 Scholes 6.5 Hernandez 6.5
IN OTHER NEWS
- Birthday Boy Carlos Tevez treated himself to a hattrick with 2 penalties and one in open play.
- Louis Saha may have been offside when he scored last week, but there was nothing speculative in the 4 goals he thumped in this time around.
- Robert Huth scored 2 and assisted one to get Stoke to victory after trailing twice against Sunderland.
- Tiote ‘s equalizer to level the game at 4-4 with a beautiful volley strike from 40 yards is my pick of the week – to cap of the most successful comeback ever in the history of EPL.
- With 4 teams yet to play on Super Sunday, we have already seen 41 goals scored, the highest ever in a gameweek!