Manchester United 3:1 Newcastle United

Wayne Rooney inspired Manchester United to a 3-1 win over Newcastle by scoring twice and setting up another for Robin van Persie, even if Papiss Cisse’s late penalty took some of the gloss off a fine day at Old Trafford.

The victory means the Reds are now unbeaten in eight Barclays Premier League matches and have recorded 11 straight wins on Boxing Day. Such a display also suggested Louis van Gaal was right to let his players spend Christmas at home.

The boss made just one change from the XI that started at Aston Villa, with Paddy McNair coming into his three-man defence so Michael Carrick could move back into midfield in place of the benched Darren Fletcher. Angel Di Maria was the only notable absentee from the matchday squad with an injury sustained during the Reds’ final training session.

United began at a lively pace and looked ambitious in the final third, although the first real chance of the game fell to Ayoze Perez, who took a fresh-air shot when presented with a clear view at goal in the 11th minute. Radamel Falcao, starting at Old Trafford for the first time since 5 October, then headed Ashley Young’s right-footed cross just wide of goal.

Moments later, in the 15th minute, Robin van Persie latched onto Wayne Rooney’s lofted pass and slid a low shot into the side-netting after rounding the advancing Magpies goalkeeper, Jak Alnwick. Daryl Janmaat then forced an excellent save from the in-form David De Gea midway through the first half with a rasping drive from around 25 yards, a minute before van Persie ghosted into the area once again to head Young’s in-swinging cross wide of the far post.

United eventually made a breakthrough in the 23rd minute with an excellent counter attack that left fans purring at Old Trafford. Rooney started it off inside his own half with a lovely pass out wide to Juan Mata, whose brilliantly chipped cross was astutely played back across the area by Falcao for Rooney to claim his seventh goal of the season.

The club captain was celebrating once again in the 36th minute when a superb sliding tackle from Falcao allowed Mata to regain possession outside Newcastle’s area, before the diminutive Spaniard slipped an inch-perfect pass through the Magpies defence for Rooney to clip another guided shot past Alnwick.

After the break, van Gaal’s men made a bright start to the second half and extended the lead in the 53rd minute through van Persie, who escaped his marker to nod Rooney’s deliciously lofted pass home in front of a jubilant Stretford End. Newcastle responded by moving up the pitch and almost got one back through 17-year-old Adam Armstrong as his shot flashed wide of De Gea’s far post.

With one eye undoubtedly on Sunday’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur, Carrick and Falcao were both withdrawn to standing ovations just after the hour mark with Fletcher and young James Wilson coming on. Rafael da Silva later made his return from injury – and a first appearance since the 1-1 draw with Chelsea on 26 October – in place of Antonio Valencia. Those changes affected the flow of the game and the tempo dropped significantly as the clock ticked on at Old Trafford, where heavy rain fell throughout the second half.

Newcastle pressed forward nonetheless and earned a late penalty with three minutes left when Jack Colback was tripped by Phil Jones, allowing substitute Papiss Cisse to calmly fire into the top-right corner from 12 yards. That riposte did not spark a dramatic comeback, however, and United held on to record another fine Boxing Day win.

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Arsenal 1:2 Manchester United

Manchester United’s elusive search for a first away win in 2014/15 came to what had initially seemed like an unlikely end with a 2-1 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. A Kieran Gibbs own goal in the second half, Wayne Rooney’s galloping breakaway effort in the 85th minute and, not for the first time, the heroics of David De Gea at the other end of the field earned the three points.

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Antonio Valencia’s low shot after 56 minutes was inadvertently deflected by Gibbs into his own net to give the Reds the lead, then Rooney finished off an incisive counter-attack to make it 2-0. Angel Di Maria could have made it 3-0 late on but missed a good chance and Olivier Giroud pulled a goal back to make it a nervy finish. But this was a commendable performance of persistence from United in testing circumstances.

With a host of ailments debilitating United’s squad, Louis van Gaal was again forced into personnel and formation changes – this time 3-4-1-2 – with Paddy McNair, Chris Smalling and Tyler Blackett forming a back three, with Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia occupying wide midfield positions. Even that lasted just 15 minutes as Shaw picked up a knock from a challenge by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Ashley Young replaced him as a left-back and United switched to 4-4-2.

Danny Welbeck, facing United for the first time since leaving Old Trafford in the summer, had a shot blocked in the fourth minute, before Per Mertesacker headed wide. Welbeck then missed the target with a header of his own and, with Arsenal cranking up the pressure, the former Reds forward teed up Jack Wilshere, who forced a brilliant point-blank range save from United’s outstanding no.1 De Gea.

United’s first opening came from a set-piece on 21 minutes as Rooney fired over the bar. It was rare relief from previous one-way traffic and United had De Gea to thank again when he forced Oxlade-Chamberlain wide in a one-on-one and saved the Arsenal man’s shot with an outstretched leg.

Wilshere was lucky to escape punishment after half-an-hour in an altercation with Marouane Fellaini, but referee Mike Dean chose instead to calm tempers by talking to both players. Although unconnected, that break in play signalled a change of pace for United. Di Maria produced the Reds’ best chance of the half when he cut inside from the right and steered a left-foot shot just wide of the post, while Rooney had a shot blocked and a series of United corners came and went to no avail.

Five minutes into the second half and De Gea once again denied the Gunners as he closed the angle on Welbeck’s shot and United were looking increasingly thankful to the Spaniard’s heroics between the posts, but little more than five minutes later the Reds were in front. Szczesny clashed with Gibbs when the Arsenal goalkeeper came to collect a cross and the loose ball fell to Valencia and his low shot deflected off Gibbs, who was lying prone on the floor, and diverted into the net. It was by no means pretty but United’s persistence in adversity paid off. The collision with Gibbs forced Szczesny off, to be replaced by Emiliano Martinez on his Barclays Premier League debut, but still Arsenal were intent on finding an equaliser.

The last half an hour was tense until Rooney seemed to put the game out of sight, sprinting away to dink the ball over Martinez. Di Maria’s missed chance for an almost identical finish to Rooney could have proved costly when Giroud beat De Gea to give the Gunners a fighting chance of a draw. But the Reds held on for a morale-boosting first triumph on the road.

Watch us go now!

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Manchester United 1:0 Crystal Palace

Substitute Juan Mata came off the bench and to United’s rescue as he fired Manchester United to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.

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The Spanish midfielder had only been on the field for a few minutes when his deflected strike squeezed between the Palace goalkeeper and the post, but his appearance was the ideal impact substitution on a day when United could not make superior possession count in front of goal.

Luke Shaw went close with a shot saved by Julian Speroni, and Marouane Fellaini had a header scrambled off the line. Fraizer Campbell spurned a great chance in the first half for the Eagles, and Mata went close to a second goal when he struck the post late on.

Injuries and suspensions had forced Louis van Gaal to shuffle his pack at the back once again, with Daley Blind shifting into central defence alongside the recalled Paddy McNair. Replacing the Dutchman in midfield was Michael Carrick, starting for the first time in 2014/15.

United went onto the front foot from the start, with Adnan Januzaj whipping a rasping shot over the corner of post and bar after cutting in from the right flank in only the second minute. Angel Di Maria drove a weak effort straight at Speroni, but a succession of corners from the Reds’ record signing failed to truly test his fellow Argentine in the Eagles’ goal.

Carrick roamed forward from his holding position to try his luck from range with a shot deflected wide, and Wayne Rooney’s frustrated response to his own shot that soared over the goal summed up the first phase of the match. But it was the unlikely source of Shaw who stirred the match into life on 28 minutes. Moving upfield out of defence, the left-back unleashed a shot that skimmed the surface and forced Speroni to tip around the post.

The visitors were content to soak it up and hit on the break, with Campbell coming close to getting a touch to a Yannick Bolasie cross that had cut across the home backline. With five minutes to half-time, Campbell raced onto a long ball, but the Palace striker’s lob floated over David De Gea’s bar.

The frustration of the first 45 minutes spilled into the second half, typified by Rooney skewing a shot just wide following a long run from McNair. Fellaini, who had been imposing himself throughout, headed a corner right on target only to see James McArthur scramble the ball away off the line.

But Mata lifted spirits around Old Trafford with a sublime goal. The Spaniard, on for Januzaj, took aim from outside the box with his left foot and saw his shot fly into the net via a deflection. Only on the pitch for a few minutes, the midfielder had made the perfect impact to put Umited on course.

The goal deflated the visitors and gave the Reds confidence, and the game could have been made safe in the last 10 minutes. Mata was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet again, seeing another defected shot cannon off the post. Then Rooney opted for placement with a late chance but rolled the ball wide. However United looked comfortable with a one-goal lead that brought the recent winless run to an end ahead of the international break.

GGMU!

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Posted from my MacBook Pro

Manchester United 1:1 Chelsea

Robin van Persie’s injury-time equaliser rescued a point for Manchester United after Chelsea had been reduced to 10 men late on in a gripping encounter at Old Trafford.

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The captain smashed the ball home in the 94th minute, just after Branislav Ivanovic had given away a free kick and been sent off for his second bookable offence. Angel Di Maria’s set-piece allowed Marouane Fellaini a shot which Thibaut Courtois saved, only for van Persie to drill the rebound emphatically home.

Van Persie had seen three earlier chances saved by Chelsea’s goalkeeper, and his heroics snatched a deserved point following Didier Drogba’s headed goal early in the second half.

Stirred by a raucous atmosphere, both sides had played at a high tempo for the opening minutes with a breakaway from Di Maria upping the ante after an early pair of Chelsea corners. The mercurial Argentine’s shooting was not as good as his on-the-ball skills, with two attempts flying high and wide before 10 minutes had gone by.

The visitors asserted themselves and forced a succession of corners, but David De Gea and his defence coped to quell the threat of Drogba in particular. But despite Chelsea’s pressure, it was van Persie who came closest to breaking the deadlock around the 20-minute mark. Breaching the Chelsea back four, the Dutchman saw an angled low effort blocked by Courtois’ right leg, and seconds later his clever back-header was clutched from under the bar by the highly-rated Belgian goalkeeper.

Ivanovic’s claims for a penalty at the Stretford End, for what he felt was a shove, were ignored by referee Phil Dowd, and as tempers began to fray, Di Maria then stung Courtois’ palms with a curling free kick from the right.

United’s defence was bailed out twice in quick succession, firstly when the recalled Chris Smalling raced across to tackle Willian after Rojo had been caught in possession. De Gea then spared the Reds when Drogba was gifted a shooting chance, but the keeper’s legs deflected his effort away.

Both sides exchanged chances early in the second half, Marouane Fellaini firing just wide and De Gea saving brilliantly to deny Eden Hazard. But slack defending at the resulting corner undid the Spaniard’s good work, with an unmarked Drogba rising to nod Chelsea ahead.

James Wilson replaced Juan Mata as United sought a more direct approach with two up front, but it was Ivanovic who went close to grabbing another, rolling a shot across goal from an acute angle. United eventually forced Courtois into action when Shaw wriggled through to feed van Persie. But once again the Reds’ skipper saw an attempt on goal blocked by the Chelsea stopper’s legs, but at least the chance spurred his side on, with Wilson looping a header just over the bar within a minute.

And just as it looked like United would be frustrated, Ivanovic went in crudely on Di Maria near the byline and was shown his second yellow card. The Argentine chipped the free kick into the area, Fellaini’s shot was blocked, but van Persie pounced and Old Trafford erupted.

#Believe

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Manchester United 2:1 West Ham (Barclays Premier League)

Wayne Rooney scored and was sent off as Manchester United secured a hard-earned 2-1 triumph over West Ham at Old Trafford.

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Rooney and Robin van Persie gave the Reds a commanding early lead but Diafra Sakho’s effort, also before the break, made for a nervous second half, exacerbated by the decision to send off the home skipper with around half an hour still to go.

With teenagers Luke Shaw and Paddy McNair making their debuts in defence, the Reds made a confident start and were ahead after five minutes. Rafael escaped down the right and delivered an inviting centre that was met by Rooney’s clever first-time finish.

The Hammers could have been level within a matter of seconds as Daley Blind’s mistake let in Enner Valencia but the Ecuadorian produced a wild shot into the Stretford End. Relieved, the hosts increased the pressure with Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria off target and James Tomkins blocking a Rooney shot after more nice play by the raiding Rafael.

A second goal duly arrived on 22 minutes when the busy Ander Herrera tackled Alex Song cleanly and Falcao, ignoring calls to shoot from the crowd, slipped in van Persie. The Dutch striker eased his way past Winston Reid and buried a low drive inside Adrian’s right-hand post.

United were flying, as one glorious move involving van Persie and Herrera led to Di Maria failing to apply the finish, but the visitors gained a lifeline when Stewart Downing’s corner was sloppily dealt with. David De Gea failed to make a convincing punch and, after Enner Valencia hit the bar, Sakho was left with a simple header into an unprotected net.

The second half began at a slower pace until Falcao collected a Shaw pass and saw a deflected shot from outside the area pushed away spectacularly by Adrian. De Gea also had to make a save, at his near post to thwart Sakho, before United were reduced to 10 men just before the hour mark. Rooney halted Downing’s break inside his own half with a crude foul but there was incredulity as referee Lee Mason’s decision to show a red rather than a yellow card.

Sakho headed into the side netting as obvious gaps at the back started to appear so Louis van Gaal withdrew Falcao for Darren Fletcher. The Reds lost the influential Herrera to yet another injury as he departed the scene holding his back and it became clear the hosts were content to try to repel the Hammers, without worrying Adrian’s goal.

Enner Valencia cut inside to deliver a deflected shot wide and, after referee Mason failed to produce a second red card for Sakho’s foul on Rafael, McNair was forced into a brilliant headed clearance deep inside his own box with seven minutes remaining. There was an almighty let-off in the closing stages when Carl Jenkinson’s cross was converted by Kevin Nolan but the assistant referee’s offside flag rescued van Gaal’s men.

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Will Miss you Rooney until November 2!:(

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Manchester United 4:0 QPR (Barclays Premier League)

Manchester United sealed a first win of the 2014/15 season on Sunday – and in some style – as the Reds, inspired by new signing Angel Di Maria, romped to a 4-0 win over Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford.

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Di Maria, playing his first match for the Reds in front of the home crowd, was in sizzling form throughout and kicked off the scoring on 24 minutes with a curling free-kick. He played a part in United’s second goal from Ander Herrera, before Wayne Rooney added a third before half-time. Di Maria then set up Juan Mata for a fourth after almost an hour.

It was a day of debuts at Old Trafford as Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao, who began the game on the bench, all made their United bows. There were also welcome returns from injury for Rafael and Herrera, while there was a return of a different sort as Rio Ferdinand came back for his first match since his summer departure. In tribute to 12 years of service, the defender was presented with a memento of his time at United by Sir Bobby Charlton before kick-off.

Despite having begun his tenure as United boss with three at the back, Louis van Gaal opted to switch to a tried-and-tested back four with Rafael, Jonny Evans, Tyler Blackett and Rojo the chosen ones. Blind sat just in front of them with Herrera, Di Maria and Mata ahead in a diamond midfield formation, while Rooney and Robin van Persie were up front.

It was Rooney who began the move to create the first real opening of the game on seven minutes with a lovely cross-field pass to Rafael on the right. He slipped the ball to Herrera who found Mata, but the Spaniard blasted over from just inside the box. But after a spell of good possession, the Reds took the lead on 24 minutes through Di Maria. The British record signing curled a free-kick from the right into the box and it evaded everyone, including QPR keeper Rob Green, as the ball sailed in at the far post.

Van Gaal’s men were determined to keep the pressure on and after Herrera had a penalty appeal turned down following a tackle from Clint Hill, van Persie headed over. United and David De Gea in particular breathed a sigh of relief at the other end when the stopper came rushing from goal to intercept Niko Krancjar’s pass over the top to Matt Phillips. De Gea was thankful to have Evans on hand to block Phillips’ effort on an empty goal.

Di Maria threatened every time he had possession and it was his bursting run forward that led to United’s second goal nine minutes from the break. As the Argentinian reached the box he slipped a pass to Rooney and after his initial shot was blocked, he teed up Herrera to drill low shot into the bottom corner for his first competitive goal for the Reds. And the game was all but over as a contest on the stroke of half-time as excellent link-up play between Mata and Herrera led to Rooney receiving a pass from the latter before powering home a low drive.

The Reds weren’t about to settle for three goals and after De Gea saved well with his feet from Krancjar early in the second period, Mata and Rooney both went close. The Spaniard made no mistake on 58 minutes though when, after being found by Di Maria, he smashed home from close range. It might have been five when Falcao entered the fray on 67 minutes and was denied a debut goal six minutes from time as he followed up on Blind’s 30-yard drive which had been parried clear by Green. The QPR keeper recovered well to block the chance and also kept out substitute Adnan Januzaj late on.

Overall, it was a job well done by the Reds with attacking play aplenty, goals, a clean sheet and, most importantly, a first win of the season.

Now watch us go!

GGMU

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Red Devils (3) @ Merseyside (1)

Manchester United ended the tour of the States on a high by beating rivals Liverpool to win the International Champions Cup in sultry Miami.

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Louis van Gaal’s men overturned an early Steven Gerrard penalty – the third spot-kick United have conceded on tour – to claim victory through second-half goals from Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard.

Brendan Rodgers’ side, at the end of their own tour of the States, provided easily the biggest test of United’s pre-season so far as the two rivals from England’s north-west tried to outdo each other 4,000 miles from home.

United were perhaps not quite as sharp as in the previous tour games, not quite as commanding in defence, but found a way to win and head back to Manchester with five wins from five under van Gaal – and a first trophy under the Dutchman.

The 51,000 fans inside the Sun Life Stadium were treated to fireworks before kick-off and, while the game itself didn’t quite provide any, there was a competitive edge and feistiness and not normally seen at this time of year.

Javier Hernandez, starting in place of the injured Danny Welbeck, spurned an excellent chance to give United an early lead when he couldn’t convert Ashley Young’s whipped-in cross from close range.

Antonio Valencia then ended his birthday on a sour note, trudging off the field with an apparent injury. Luke Shaw replaced him, with Young moving over to the right wing.

Liverpool fired a warning shot moments later when Jordan Henderson headed over after Hernandez had failed to clear Gerrard’s free-kick.

But the Merseysiders were given the opportunity to take the lead in the 14th minute as Phil Jones was adjudged to have tripped Raheem Sterling in the box, though the defender was aghast at the decision.

Up stepped Gerrard to send David De Gea the wrong way from the spot as United fell behind for the first time under van Gaal.

From then onwards, Liverpool were content to sit back and soak up United’s attacks. Mata had a left-foot shot blocked but that was about as close as the Reds came for the rest of the first half.

At the other end, De Gea made an excellent low save from a powerful Phillipe Coutinho drive, before Sterling, Liverpool’s most dangerous player, had a penalty appeal turned down, with replays suggested he may have been upended by Ander Herrera.

Van Gaal made two changes at the break, bringing on Tyler Blackett for Jonny Evans and Tom Cleverley for Darren Fletcher.

Rickie Lambert missed a good chance to extend Liverpool’s lead when he shot tamely at De Gea in the box after receiving the ball from Gerrard, who had intercepted a Herrera pass.

Soon after, Coutinho played a superb through-ball to Sterling, whose shot deflected inches wide with De Gea stranded.

Liverpool were on top but, in the space of two minutes, United turned the game on its head. First captain Rooney, who had been relatively quiet in the first half, equalised when he met Hernandez’s arrowing cross with a neat left-foot volley across Simon Mignolet.

And Mata put the Reds ahead two minutes later when his shot deflected off Mamadou Sakho to wrong-foot Mignolet.

Just after the hour mark, there was an unusual moment of controversy when Young swung a high ball over from the left, which apparently bounced off the crossbar into the path of Rooney, who had the simplest task to tap home.

Referee Mark Geiger awarded the goal but Liverpool protested that the ball had actually bounced off the goal stanchion, which replays proved, and the decision was overturned.

Van Gaal continued to ring the changes, bringing on Nani, Shinji Kagawa and Lingard for Hernandez, Mata and Herrera.

Chris Smalling made a last-ditch clearance to deny Martin Kelly, before Lingard made the game safe when he controlled Young’s cross and fired a low half-volley from the edge of the box beyond Mignolet.

You shall always walk alone!:P

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Cheers

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