Liverpool 0:1 Manchester United

Wayne Rooney netted Manchester United’s 100th Reds goal against Liverpool at Anfield as Louis van Gaal’s men claimed a famous late victory over the Merseysiders.

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The United captain struck with 12 minutes left when he smashed home from close range after Marouane Fellaini’s header had come back off the bar. It’s fair to say the hosts dominated much of the 90 minutes, but the Reds grew into the game after half-time before Rooney struck the killer blow, although it must be said that David De Gea was once again outstanding.

Louis van Gaal kept faith with the starting XI that played out a 3-3 draw against Newcastle United four days earlier, with the only change to the matchday squad being Guillermo Varela replacing James Weir on the bench.

United had won two of the last three league meetings at Anfield, including last season’s Juan Mata-inspired victory, while van Gaal had enjoyed three league wins from three against the Merseysiders since his arrival. Both sides came into the match in mixed form and it seemed strange for a United/Liverpool game equating to a match between sixth and ninth in the table.

It was the hosts who had the first sight of goal on 10 minutes, following a cagey opening. A ball over the top from Lucas found Adam Lallana, who tried his luck with a header as De Gea sprinted from goal. The Spaniard got a strong hand to the effort and was relieved to see Roberto Firmino drag a follow-up shot wide with the goal gaping. James Milner blasted over soon after, while tensions were raised between the sides after Fellaini and Lucas clashed twice in quick succession.

The Reds were quiet as an attacking force with Liverpool enjoying the best of the few opportunities in the first period. Captain Jordan Henderson had one of those on the half-hour mark but his cross-shot, after being flicked in by Firmino, flew wide. Firmino found himself through on goal with half-time approaching as Liverpool broke from a United corner, but Anthony Martial got back brilliantly to take the ball off his toe.

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson replaced the injured Ashley Young just before the break as Liverpool finished the half on top.

The second period began as the first finished with Jurgen Klopp’s men dominating and five minutes in Emre Can almost broke the deadlock after powering past Chris Smalling but, thankfully, De Gea saved with his legs.

At the other end, Martial had United’s best chance of the game so far on 56 minutes after the Reds worked the ball well. Borthwick-Jackson’s cross eventually dropped to the French striker, who dragged a shot just wide of Simon Mignolet’s left-hand post. The chance sparked encouragement in the away end, which featured the watching Phil Jones, Michael Carrick and Marcos Rojo, as the Reds gradually worked their way into the match.

De Gea still needed to be alert at the other end and soon after last season’s Anfield hero Mata had replaced Jesse Lingard, the Spanish stopper pulled off a brilliant double save from Can and Firmino.

Memphis Depay’s arrival, in place of Ander Herrera, prompted a tactical reshuffle as Martial went up front with Rooney switching to the no.10 role, and Memphis and Mata flanking them down each side.

After playing such a key role in this fixture last season, Mata turned provider this time as the Reds looked to stage a smash and grab. His cross from a short corner landed on Fellaini’s head and after the ball smacked against the bar Rooney was there to blast home into the roof of the net. It was the striker’s fifth goal in four games and it also meant Rooney has now scored more goals in the Premier League for one club than anyone else, edging ahead of Thierry Henry to 176.

The Reds survived a couple of scares late on, but held out for another important victory with none sweeter than against our great rivals.

Nothing sweeter than a victory at Anfield!

Glory MUFC!

Cheers

Ss

Posted from my iMac

Manchester United 2:1 Swansea City

Wayne Rooney scored a second-half winner as Manchester United got 2016 off to the perfect start by defeating Swansea at Old Trafford.

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The Reds’ winless run had looked in danger of being extended to nine games after Gylfi Sigurdsson cancelled out Anthony Martial’s opener.

But with just over 10 minutes remaining, Rooney flicked home Martial’s cross to net his 238th goal for United, moving him above Denis Law into second place in the club’s all-time highest scorers list.

Though there was only one change to the side that drew with Chelsea on Monday – Phil Jones replacing Matteo Darmian – the Reds began the new year in a different system, with Jones joining Chris Smalling and Daley Blind in a three-man defence flanked by wing-backs Young and Martial.

United had lost three consecutive games to Swansea by a 2-1 scoreline but quickly set about trying to end that streak and, within a minute, Ander Herrera had a shot blocked inside the box after an incisive one-two with Juan Mata.

It was another bright and breezy start from Louis van Gaal’s men but the next real chance did not arrive until the 21st minute, when Young’s cross found Rooney on the far side of the box but the captain could only fire into the side-netting. At the other end, it was half-an-hour before David De Gea was tested as he comfortably clutched Wayne Routledge’s drive.

A sharp piece of thinking almost resulted in Mata putting United ahead as Herrera played a quick free-kick on the edge of the box forward to the Spaniard, whose initial shot was blocked by Neil Taylor before his second weaker effort was saved by Swans goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

Fabianski was called upon twice more before the break, firstly clinging onto a Mata shot after Young had beaten Leon Britton to reach the byline and pick out the United no.8, before saving a Rooney header from another Young cross.

Van Gaal brought on Darmian in place of Jones at the start of the second half and, almost instantly, Rooney had a left-footed shot blocked by Ashley Williams. But it wasn’t long before the Reds took the lead as Young crossed from the right to find Martial and the Frenchman headed emphatically past Fabianski.

Swansea looked for a swift reply and, after Gylfi Sigurdsson broke down the right channel, Darmian did well to recover and block his shot, with De Gea collecting the loose ball.

As the game began to open up, Young was a real threat down the right and twice came close to creating further chances with dangerous deliveries that were headed away by the visitors.

But Swansea had now come out of their shells and Andre Ayew came within a whisker of equalising when he headed against the post, with De Gea beaten. Angel Rangel picked up the loose ball and went down under Darmian’s challenge but was booked for diving.

That chance encouraged the visitors and, with 20 minutes left, they equalised through Sigurdsson, who sent a looping header from substitute Modou Barrow’s cross beyond De Gea’s despairing dive.

Old Trafford was stunned but United were not deterred and immediately pushed for a winner, which duly arrived in the 77th minute when Martial beat Federico Fernandez on the left and crossed for Rooney to flick home, cueing joyous celebrations in the Stretford End. The goal made Rooney the second-highest Premier League scorer of all time, ahead of ex-Reds striker Andy Cole but behind Newcastle legend Alan Shearer.

Back came Swansea and Barrow had a shot well saved by De Gea as the game entered the final 10 minutes. In stoppage-time, Michael Carrick replaced Herrera to make his 400th appearance but United then survived two huge scares at the death. Firstly, De Gea made a superb flying save from Williams’s shot, before Swansea sent Fabianski forward for a corner and the goalkeeper headed inches wide.

The Reds survived and claimed the points – let’s hope there will be plenty more this year.

Glory Glory Man United

Happy New Year!

Ss

Watford 1:2 Manchester United

Despite a raft of injuries, picked up before and during the visit to Watford, Manchester United earned a dramatic 2-1 victory at Vicarage Road with Memphis Depay scoring on his return to the side and Bastian Schweinsteiger playing his part in an injury-time winner.

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In a game dominated by Louis van Gaal’s men in the first half and controlled by the Hornets in the second, Memphis’s fine first-half goal and an own goal from Troy Deeney, who had equalised for Watford, secured a vital win and, at least temporarily, took United top of the table. David De Gea’s part in the win cannot be overlooked either after a string of top saves from the Spanish stopper.

Van Gaal made four changes to the side that started the Reds’ last match against West Brom, with Phil Jones, Morgan Schneiderlin, Ander Herrera and Memphis all coming in. They replaced the injured pairing of Michael Carrick and Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney, who is ill, and Marcos Rojo, who was named on the bench after a long journey back from South America for international duty. After recently including youngsters Axel Tuanzebe and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson in his matchday squad, van Gaal named two more prospects among the substitutes – striker Marcus Rashford and midfielder Sean Goss.

Another homegrown talent who has impressed so much in recent weeks, Jesse Lingard, got United on the attack from the off, and was inches away from connecting with Juan Mata’s right-wing cross with just a minute on the clock. And it wasn’t long before the Reds took the lead.

The danger came down the right once more as former Watford man Ashley Young found Ander Herrera and his first-time cross was brilliantly volleyed into the top corner by Memphis.

United were well in control of proceedings but breathed a sigh of relief on 21 minutes when Young had the ball taken off his toes by Etienne Capoue who sprinted forward. Watford found themselves with two against one as Capoue found Odion Ighalo, but the striker shot wide.

The Reds lost Herrera to what looked like a hamstring injury soon after, with Rojo coming on to join Chris Smalling, captain for the day with Rooney and Carrick both out, and Phil Jones in a makeshift back three. Not long after coming on, Rojo sent a ball into the box which bounced around before eventually dropping to Schneiderlin who smashed a volley just over the bar.

The French midfielder went close again just after the half-hour mark when Bastian Schweinsteiger flicked a corner across the box only for Troy Deeney to acrobatically flick it away to prevent Schneiderlin tapping home at the back post.

Memphis almost doubled his and United’s tally for the day six minutes before the break when he took aim from 25 yards, but Heurelho Gomes got down well to push it clear.

Gomes was called into action straight after the restart when Capoue presented Memphis with possession in midfield. The goalscorer powered forward and slipped a reverse pass in to Lingard whose shot was well saved by the Watford keeper.

Thereafter, Watford took control with De Gea needing to be on red alert on more than one occasion. Four minutes before the hour mark, Watford put together their best move of the game as Deeney caught the ball brilliantly on the edge of the box after being set up by Ighalo but De Gea pushed it clear. The United goalkeeper then had Schneiderlin to thank minutes later when he blocked Ighalo’s effort from five yards out.

Watford continued to turn the screw and De Gea made two superb stops in quick succession after the Reds had lost Jones to what appeared to be yet another injury. The Hornets got the ball into the box and after it had pinged about, Almen Abdi had a go but De Gea got down brilliantly to tip away after it had deflected off Smalling. He then palmed away the resulting corner from almost inside his goal.

Lingard had a chance to seal the victory seven minutes from time but wasn’t able to lob Gomes as he advanced from goal. It looked to be a crucial miss when Deeney levelled proceedings from penalty spot after Rojo tripped Ignalo three minutes from full-time. Referee Robert Madley took some time before making the decision and Deeney made no mistake by lashing past De Gea.

Yet, there was still more to drama to come in injury-time. United piled on the pressure and, after Gomes had saved spectacularly from Smalling, he could only palm Lingard’s shot into the path of Schweinsteiger who sent the ball back across goal for it to be turned home by Deeney, as he tried to scramble off the line. Cue wild celebrations from the Reds and another important three points.

GGMU MUFC

Ss

 

Manchester United 2:0 West Bromwich Albion

Manchester United got back to winning ways in the Barclays Premier League with a 2-0 win against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford on Saturday.

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After long spells of fruitless first-half pressure from the Reds, the breakthrough finally came early in the second period when Jesse Lingard fired home a super finish, bagging his first goal for the club as his star continues to rise. Juan Mata then secured the victory from the spot in injury time as United stayed fourth in the league, notching a sixth clean sheet in seven in the process.

Louis van Gaal named an unchanged side from the XI that had overcome CSKA Moscow in midweek, although Cameron Borthwick-Jackson became the latest youngster to be included in the Dutchman’s 16, following Axel Tuanzebe’s appearance on the bench against Crystal Palace last week.

Keen to build on the aforementioned Champions League win, the Reds started brightly and dominated possession, though did little to trouble Boaz Myhill’s goal in the opening 10 minutes. The first chance of note came just after the 15-minute mark, when Bastian Schweinsteiger found Wayne Rooney, who turned well and was able to prod ball into the path of Mata. The Spaniard arced his body to curl a shot past the reaches of Myhill, but also narrowly past the post.

Meanwhile, West Brom, who fielded a side containing Old Trafford old boys Darren Fletcher and Jonny Evans, continued to defend with the tirelessness and commitment that those players had come to embody during their time at United, frustrating the home side for long periods. With the Baggies happy to sit back and soak up the play, the onus was on United to break them down, yet, despite the relentless pressure and possession, few clear-cut chances were created.

Left-sided duo Marcos Rojo and Lingard did provide a bright spark for the Reds, keeping West Brom right-back Craig Dawson on his toes, and it was the latter of the United pair who was next to go close.

Mata collected the ball on the edge of the area before arrowing an expertly-weighted ball to the far post looking for the young winger, but just as it seemed destined to provide Jesse with the chance of the half, Dawson intervened with a perfectly-timed header to clear the danger. Lingard enjoyed another opportunity late in the half, having been put through on goal by Anthony Martial, but Evans stood firm, diverting the ball out of play.

Seemingly not content with creating chances, Martial then tested Myhill himself, but his stinging drive was thwarted by the stopper as the score remained goalless at the interval.

There were no changes to personnel from either side at the break and nor was there a change to the state of play, as United began to take the game to the visitors from the get-go.

Buoyed by chants of ‘Attack, Attack, Attack’, it wasn’t long before the Reds finally turned possession into a tangible advantage and, unsurprisingly, it was the excellent Lingard who broke the deadlock.

With just over 50 minutes on the clock, Martial sent a ball into the area looking for Rooney, only for Chris Brunt to clear the danger. Thankfully, the Ulsterman’s clearance only went as far as Lingard, who took a touch before bending a superb effort past the beaten Myhill. The Warrington-born winger’s first goal for the club was one that belied his young years and was greeted by a deafening roar from the Stretford End, stirred from its first-half slumber.

The goal gave everyone of United persuasion a real lift going into the start of an important second half, but chances were still at a minimum, despite the home side’s continued forays forward.

As the half drew on it was West Brom who began to show more ambition going forward and Evans might well have drawn the visitors level as he seized upon confusion in the United defensive ranks, possibly caused by a double substitution for the Baggies shortly before a free-kick. It was a let-off for van Gaal’s men, who then received another huge slice of luck two minutes later when substitute Saidy Berahino headed over from point-blank range.

Borthwick-Jackson and Ander Herrera were then brought on in quick succession in place of Rojo and Rooney, following the earlier introduction of Phil Jones at right-back. The changes seemed to take the sting out of the game, with United now back in control, and the home side earned the chance to seal the points in added-on time.

The ever-sprightly Martial seized upon the tired legs among the Baggies defence and looked set to fire home before being chopped down by Gareth McAuley. The West Brom man saw red for the late challenge, allowing  Mata to step up and coolly slot home from 12 yards – job done.

GGMU

Ss

Manchester United 1:0 CSKA Moscow

Manchester United’s goal drought ended in dramatic fashion as Wayne Rooney’s header in front of the Stretford End secured a 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.

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The Reds had not found the net in consecutive matches against Manchester City, Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace, which was a cause for concern ahead of this crunch tie in Group B. Although it took 80 minutes to find a breakthrough at a rain-sodden Old Trafford, the captain eventually delivered the goods to achieve a result that places the Reds top of the pool following Wolfsburg’s 2-0 defeat at PSV Eindhoven.

Louis van Gaal made three changes to his starting XI by recalling Ashley Young, Michael Carrick and Jesse Lingard, while crucially sticking with the under-fire Rooney up front. The United and England skipper almost scored in the third minute when his left-footed shot flashed just wide of the post, prompting audible cheers of his name from the Old Trafford faithful who were so eager to celebrates goals from the no.10.

Lingard unsuccessfully appealed for a penalty moments later and quickly hit another effort wide of target, before a fine long ball from Daley Blind on the halfway line led to Juan Mata forcing a decent save from goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev on 15 minutes as the Reds pressed for a first goal since Anthony Martial’s header in the previous fixture against CSKA at Arena Khimki, some four matches ago.

United completely dominated the first half – both in terms of possession and shots at goal – but were guilty of missing genuine opportunities with Rooney’s free-kick bouncing wide, Lingard’s second shot flying over and Marcos Rojo’s back-post volley missing the target from close range. It was undoubtedly a much-improved performance from the Reds, with just the finishing touch lacking.

The second half began as the first left off, with the Reds missing further chances to score as Rojo nodded wide from just outside the six-yard box before the Argentinian – who used to play for CSKA’s rivals Spartak Moscow – supplied a cross from which Martial headed at the goalkeeper. The Frenchman might have done better, yet his pace and energy suggested more chances would come.

The visitors were defending with all 11 men behind the ball and they rarely ventured past the halfway line, except for the odd counter attack, which posed a conundrum for United. How do you break down a stubborn Russian defence? Van Gaal introduced Marouane Fellini for Martial on the hour mark and the deadlock was almost broken moments later, when Rooney received the ball from Mata inside the six-yard area but was unable to move his feet quickly enough to execute a shot, much to his frustration.

Memphis, who had scored Champions League goals against Club Brugge and former club PSV, entered the fray on 74 minutes and his cross soon led to Carrick firing wide from range. CSKA then went close to causing an upset when Seydou Doumbia forced an excellent save from De Gea before the scorer on matchday three hit a shot on the rebound that was sensationally cleared off the line by Chris Smalling.

The eventual breakthrough could not have been scripted better – Rooney popped up inside the area to head Lingard’s excellent cross past the goalkeeper in front of a jubilant Stretford End, where the captain celebrated by running to the corner flag and wildly punching the air. It was a moment of relief and ecstasy, but more importantly it was a goal that earned three invaluable points in Champions League Group B.

And the Reds go marching ON ON ON!

GGMU

Ss

Everton 0:3 Manchester United

Manchester United got back to winning ways and earned a first victory at Goodison Park since 2011 thanks to goals from Morgan Schneiderlin, Ander Herrera and Wayne Rooney.

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It was the perfect way for the Reds to return to Barclays Premier League action following the international break and a chastening 3-0 defeat at Arsenal last time out. The result also maintained pressure on the leaders, Manchester City, who secured a comfortable 5-1 win over Bournemouth at the Etihad Stadium.

Saturday’s match was tinged with emotion with the news that Howard Kendall, the former Everton player and manager, had died at the age of 69 and the players wore black armbands as a mark of respect. A minute’s applause also preceded kick-off at Goodison Park, where Louis van Gaal made four changes to his starting XI by recalling Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Schneiderlin and Herrera.

A slow start in the previous game at Arsenal allowed the Gunners to score three times in the first 20 minutes and the manager demanded a much-improved opening on Merseyside. He got his wish, too, when Chris Smalling chested Rojo’s shot towards Schneiderlin for the Frenchman to bag his first competitive United goal with a cool finish on 18 minutes. Herrera doubled the lead four minutes later when the Spaniard stormed into the area to head Rojo’s fine cross past former Reds goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Jones briefly left the action on 30 minutes to stem the flow of blood pouring from his nose, which was the result of an increasingly physical first half that also saw David De Gea and Anthony Martial temporarily go down with knocks. Although Everton pressed for a goal before the break, the closest they came was a powerful effort from Ross Barkley that was clawed away by De Gea on 45 minutes.

The second half began with Jesse Lingard replacing Juan Mata to make his first appearance since his first-team debut on the opening day of 2014/15, when he suffered a serious knee injury, and the 22-year-old Academy graduate was quickly needed in defence as Everton piled on the pressure, going close to scoring when Romelu Lukaku’s shot was brilliantly saved by the left boot of De Gea.

United stood firm and scored again after the hour-mark when Phil Jagielka’s wayward pass fell to Schneiderlin on the halfway line, from where he fed Herrera on the right. The Spaniard slipped a neat ball forward to Rooney and the ex-Everton striker executed a fine finish past Howard. Wayne is now second in the Premier League goal charts and level with Andy Cole with 187 to his name, although he still has some way to go before catching Alan Shearer’s record of 260.

Barkley, the promising England international who was arguably Everton’s best player, hit a rasping free-kick onto the roof of De Gea’s goal on 80 minutes before Marouane Fellaini replaced Herrera to receive a respectful ovation from the home fans who used to cheer his name. The Belgian’s presence in midfield allowed United to consolidate an excellent win, another clean sheet and three more Premier League points.

GGMU

Ss

Manchester United 2:1 Wolfsburg

Manchester United returned to winning ways in the Champions League on Wednesday as goals from Juan Mata and Chris Smalling secured an invaluable 2-1 comeback victory over Wolfsburg.

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The Reds had lost the opening Group B match at PSV Eindhoven earlier this month and, as a result, needed a positive result on matchday two at Old Trafford ahead of a potentially difficult trip to CSKA Moscow, who bagged an impressive 3-2 triumph over the Dutch champions elsewhere in Russia.

Although the importance of this match was emphasised by Louis van Gaal ahead of kick-off, United made a disappointing start and fell behind to Daniel Caligiuri’s goal in the fourth minute after the German-born Italian dribbled down the right flank to exchange passes inside the penalty box before finishing past David De Gea with aplomb, much to the delight of the continuously vocal travelling fans in the away end.

United responded well and Bastian Schweinsteiger hit a speculative half-volley at an open goal just moments later following a dodgy clearance from goalkeeper Diego Benaglio, before Mata’s curling effort was headed over by the physically imposing former Bayern Munich defender Dante. Anthony Martial then went close with a mazy run from the right that led to the Frenchman firing just off target.

The visiting Germans appeared to be content with their early lead and understandably held a deep defensive line for much of the first half, essentially asking what United had got in attack. An answer was almost given in the 25th minute when Martial superbly got to the byline and found Wayne Rooney with a driven pass across the area, though the captain blazed his shot over the bar from around six yards. Memphis was then frustrated as his header from Mata’s superb pass was saved by the goalkeeper.

The Spaniard was quickly celebrating, however, after his cross was handled inside the area by Caligiuri and United were rightfully awarded a penalty in front of the East Stand, which our no.8 calmly stroked into the bottom corner to inspire scenes of great relief and ecstasy at Old Trafford. The mood was only dampened slightly by the sight of yellows cards for Morgan Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger for separate fouls on Maximilian Arnold, just before the half-time break.

Van Gaal intervened during the interval by replacing right-back Antonio Valencia with Ashley Young, who had previously made a positive impact as a substitute this season, and United swiftly took the lead through an unlikely source when Smalling latched onto Mata’s superb backheel to prod home at the back post on 53 minutes, notching his 10th career goal for the Reds in the process.

Andreas Pereira excelled on his first competitive start against Ipswich Town a week earlier and the young Brazilian entered the fray just after the hour mark, taking the place of Memphis after the Dutchman was perhaps unfairly booked for apparently catching Christian Trasch with a flailing arm.

Wolfsburg made their own changes on 70 minutes by introducing Andre Schurrle and Nicolas Bendtner, two players who are both familiar to United fans as a result of their previous spells in the Premier League with Chelsea and Arsenal. The former almost scored with one of his first touches, too, after dragging a low shot from the right flank just wide of De Gea’s post.

Chances were ultimately few and far between in the closing stages as United looked to consolidate the advantage and a potentially crucial victory, basically by dropping deeper and soaking up all pressure that Wolfsburg tried to apply in the final third. This led to a nervous finale at Old Trafford and, in truth, the Germans looked like the team more likely to score as the clock ticked towards full-time.

Schneiderlin could and perhaps should have been sent off for a second bookable offence following a foul on Julian Draxler, which led to Ricardo Rodriguez curling a powerful free-kick inches wide on 85 minutes. That proved to be the final opportunity and United held on to claim three important Group B points.

Off to Emirates next!

Let’s get those 3 massive points!

GGMU

Cheers

Ss