Manchester United go into Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final return with Bayern Munich in great heart after goals from Juan Mata, Javier Hernandez and Adnan Januzaj set up a splendid 4-0 success at Newcastle.
David Moyes’ much-changed side coped admirably with the absence of big names David De Gea, Rafael, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck to avenge December’s 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
Mata’s first strike was a devilish free-kick and the second the cheekiest of finishes after good work from Shinji Kagawa and Hernandez. The excellent Kagawa set up Chicharito, who hit a post in the first half, for a predatory prod past Rob Elliot to prompt some disgruntled home fans to leave the ground with 20 minutes still remaining.
Anders Linedgaard made three wonderful saves to deny Papiss Cisse – the final stop truly astounding when a goal seemed certain – to keep a clean sheet that he will cherish on a rare start. Januzaj also sparkled after coming on for Ashley Young, who was taken to hospital with a thumb injury, and added a fourth in stoppage time following a delightful one-two with Mata, setting United up nicely for the midweek mission in Munich.
Bring it on Bayern!
Posted from my MacBook Pro
Manchester United will travel to Germany with plenty of hope of reaching the Champions League semi-finals after a spirited 1-1 draw with holders Bayern Munich at Old Trafford.
Nemanja Vidic broke the deadlock to set the stadium alight before Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was sent off for a second bookable offence late on, hit a superbly-taken leveller to reward the Germans for an authoritative display.
Danny Welbeck lashed the ball into the net from the Reds’ first attack, though his effort was ruled out, apparently for a high boot from the striker. Although Bayern dominated possession, David De Gea’s first save did not come until past the half-hour mark when he dived to claw away an Arjen Robben effort.
David Moyes’ men responded with Welbeck firing an ambitious shot at Manuel Neuer and Wayne Rooney having an effort blocked. After Alex Büttner escaped a handball shout, Welbeck spurned the first half’s clearest opening in a one-on-one with Neuer. A goal did arrive 13 minutes after the break. Rooney swung over a corner from the left and Vidic steered a cute header inside Neuer’s left-hand post after being afforded too much room in the crowded box.
The equaliser was largely unstoppable as Mario Mandzukic headed down to Schweinsteiger, who smacked a rising drive into the roof of the net. After Valencia had a nervous wait to see if a sliding challenge would produce a second yellow, Robben twice went close and Schweinsteiger saw red for a tackle on Rooney. In the end, it wasn’t pretty, but United matched the favourites for the competition with a whole-hearted performance.
We gonna kill it at the Allianz!
~Posted from my MacBook Air
Manchester United roared back from conceding first to Aston Villa thanks to a brace by Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata’s first goal for the club since his record move from Chelsea and Javier Hernandez’s late effort.
David Moyes’ men made a disappointing start and fell behind when David De Gea was unable to keep out Ashley Westwood’s powerful free-kick on 13 minutes. Yet Juan Mata and Shinji Kagawa switched positions regularly to good effect and both were involved in the move that led to the equaliser as Rooney expertly headed past Brad Guzan.
Rooney was on the scoresheet again with an emphatically-taken penalty just before the interval, after Leandro Bacuna chopped down Mata as he dragged the ball back inside the area. Christian Benteke missed a sitter when miskicking and allowing substitute Michael Carrick, on at centre-back, to clear. The muscular striker also headed over a Marc Albrighton cross moments later.
However, Alex Büttner’s brave header led to Marouane Fellaini supplying a touch inside the area and the ball broke to Mata, who calmly found the net in front of the Stretford End for United’s third. Guzan thwarted substitute Adnan Januzaj and Rooney, with Benteke and Aleksandar Tonev unable to convert openings for the Midlanders.
With time running out, the lively Januzaj crossed for fellow sub Hernandez to poke home a fourth as the Reds warmed up nicely for Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Posted from my MacBook Pro
Wayne Rooney scored twice in the first half to help Manchester United to a comfortable 2-0 win over West Ham.
The first was a spectacular long-range effort that evoked memories of David Beckham’s goal at Selhurst Park in 1996, and gave the Reds breathing space with only eight minutes on the clock. In fact David Moyes’ side had already looked comfortable before Rooney’s opener, despite several changes from the line-up that performed so well against Olympiacos in midweek.
Injuries, suspensions and possibly thoughts of next Tuesday’s Manchester derby led to a reshuffle that included Michael Carrick and Phil Jones playing together in central defence. Marouane Fellaini’s early header was cleared away from two yards out by Carroll, while Juan Mata forced Adrian into a save before Rooney’s spectacular effort. Collecting a pass from Ashley Young just inside the opposition half, the striker looked up quickly and caught the home goalkeeper off his line with a looping effort that dipped into the net to stun all those inside the Boleyn Ground – which included Beckham himself.
Mata and Shinji Kagawa both had efforts saved before United struck again with a characteristically potent counter-attack. The hosts were still claiming a penalty for Darren Fletcher’s challenge on Kevin Nolan when Rooney fed Ashley Young, who raced upfield before crossing. Mark Noble’s fluffed clearance went straight to Rooney, who will never score a simpler close-range goal.
The home side gave a spirited response after the break, but United kept their opponents at arm’s length and even though Fellaini had a late penalty claim ignored, the Reds comfortably brought the curtain came down on a clinical away win.
Posted from my MacBook Pro
Robin van Persie netted a hat-trick to inspire Manchester United to a thrilling 3-0 victory (3-2 on aggregate) over Olympiacos and send the Reds through to the Champions League quarter-finals.
Not since 1984 – indeed, 30 years ago this week – had United turned around a two-goal first-leg deficit in Europe. But on Wednesday, in front of a raucous Old Trafford crowd, van Persie’s treble ensured David Moyes’ maiden European voyage remained on course for Lisbon and gave United fans a thrilling night to remember.
But while the Dutchman will deservedly dominate the column inches, David De Gea’s stunning double save on 40 minutes – first from David Fuster’s bullet header and then Dominguez’s follow-up at the near post – proved just as pivotal.
Nobody would have blamed the Spaniard had either effort found the net but he saved both brilliantly to preserve the 1-0 lead earned when van Persie had earlier opened the scoring from the penalty spot. Five minutes after De Gea’s double denial, in first-half injury time, RvP swept home Wayne Rooney’s cross from close range. United were 2-0 up, level on aggregate and, crucially, in possession of the momentum and confidence that would ultimately carry the Reds to victory.
Van Persie sealed his hat-trick just six minutes into the second period, curling home a free-kick from 25 yards that had Olympiacos goalkeeper Roberto fooled, rooted to the spot.
There were then nervy moments to endure, particularly when De Gea was called into action again at his near post to beat out Dominguez’s blast, but the Reds held on to claim a famous victory.
Posted from my MacBook Pro
Manchester United slipped to a fourth home defeat of the season to fall behind Tottenham in the Barclays Premier League table.
Emmanuel Adebayor and Christian Eriksen did the damage in a 2-1 reverse despite Danny Welbeck giving David Moyes’ side hope seconds after the visitors had doubled their lead in the 66th minute.
The Reds produced a high-tempo start with Welbeck twice almost released on goal and Hugo Lloris fortunate when a Chris Smalling drive squirmed under him but wide of his left-hand post. For all the hosts’ impressive play, a warning was supplied by Aaron Lennon as he latched onto a Roberto Soldado pass to force David De Gea to save with his legs.
Spurs continued to threaten on the break and took the lead when Adebayor outjumped Smalling to plant a precise header into the corner of the net following Christian Eriksen’s cross from the right. Soldado almost added a second but could not convert a Lennon centre.
After Danny Welbeck had a penalty appeal rejected, David Moyes threw on Shinji Kagawa and Javier Hernandez but the home side fell further behind when Wayne Rooney and Antonio Valencia, who had shifted positions to accommodate the changes, were unable to deny Lennon and Eriksen respectively with the Dane’s stooping header beating De Gea.
It prompted an instant response from the restart as Welbeck raced onto an Adnan Januzaj pass to calmly dink the ball over Lloris to crank up the volume at Old Trafford. Januzaj saw a shot skip just wide and Spurs were forced to defend for their lives in the closing stages. Substitute Ashley Young was clearly caught by a high tackle by Lloris but again referee Howard Webb decided against pointing to the spot with Lloris also saving well from Rooney and Nemanja Vidic before the Serbian headed over in injury time.
Posted from my Macbook Pro
A well-taken goal by substitute Danny Welbeck gave Manchester United an invaluable victory over Norwich City on a hard-fought afternoon at Carrow Road.
The injury-hit Reds were rarely at their best during a largely dour affair, but improved markedly on a poor first half display after the break, and were rarely troubled after Welbeck had put David Moyes’ side into the lead shortly before the hour.
The manager’s preparations were dealt a blow by the absence of Wayne Rooney, who remained in Manchester with a minor groin injury, while Antonio Valencia was also absent through suspension. While Michael Carrick’s first start since early November provided a timely boost, United were disjointed for much of the first period.
The Reds’ two best chances of the first half were separated by 40 minutes. Between those openings – a Shinji Kagawa cross-shot beaten away by John Ruddy and a tame near-post Chicharito effort – Norwich overcame a timid opening to steadily take control of the game. David De Gea needed to thwart Russell Martin, Gary Hooper and Sebastian Bassong, while Jonny Evans bravely blocked a Wes Hoolahan shot and Robert Snodgrass repeatedly chanced his arm from distance without success.
The Canaries had blunted United’s attacking play by regrouping quickly in-between their own periods of dominance, but the Reds grasped control of the game with the half-time introduction of Welbeck. The substitute added much-needed pace and penetration to United’s approach, and he quickly made a telling difference by charging down Ryan Bennett’s clearance and racing onto the loose ball, via a Chicharito touch, before rounding Ruddy and sliding home a finish to settle the game in United’s favour and ensure a six-game winning streak to end 2013.
Hoping for a successful 2014 ahead!
Posted from my MacBook Pro