Manchester United came out on top once again this season against arch rivals Liverpool by beating them 2-1 on Sunday at Old Trafford.
Man Utd started the game with David De Gea between the posts. The formidable defensive pair of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand were back together after a long time accompanied with Patrice Evra and Rafael DaSilva. The midfield consisted of the in form duo of Tom Cleverly and Michael Carrick with Shinji Kagawa floating in and out. Ashley Young And Danny Welbeck took to the flanks and Robin van Persie played as the lone striker (as if he needs someone to support him! :D)
United started the game on the front foot and pinned the opposition in their own half for most parts of the first half. The hard work finally paid off on the 19th minute (a fitting minute :)) when Robin van Persie tapped home a sweet cross from Patrice Evra, his 20th of the season. The move was a perfect show of one-touch-pass game United execute in such style. Cleverly found Evra in space on the left wing who laid a grounded pass right into the feet of van Persie who was bound to score from 4 yards out.
The Red Devils kept the pressure on with Ashley Young finding van Persie yet again with an acute pass but van Persie failed to double his lead by firing his shot into the stands. Ashley Young once again was the provider with a cross inside the box which Joe Allen heading the ball away, but only to find Tom Cleverly. Cleverly blasted a volley just inches the wrong side of Pepe Reina’s goal post. Joe Allen was again guilty of giving away possession cheaply with a stray backpass. Welbeck pounced on the opportunity but failed to seize the moment by taking too long to pull the trigger and allowing Daniel Agger to block his shot. Another opportunity went begging when Rafael managed to stumble into the penalty box and play it into the path of van Persie but his brilliant effort from a backheel was saved by Martin Skrtel on the goal line. The ball fell into Kagawa’s feet but he rather felt like going for Pepe Reina instead of playing the ball. 😉
It was all Manchester United in the first half. David De Gea hardly touched the ball with Ferdinand, Vidic and Carrick making sure Raheem Sterling and Luiz Suarez (Liverpool’s star players, at the moment) never had the ball with them for more than 3 seconds!
The second half started no differently. Nine minutes into it, United get a freekick at the edge of the box. Van Persie stepped up and delivered it right on Evra’s head. The ball was goal bound, for sure, but since Vidic had his head brushed on the ball last, Vidic got onto the scoreboard. Although Evra didnt get his 5th goal of the season, he did get his 2nd assist of the match. 🙂
It is said that the most dangerous lead in football is a lead of 2-0. It proved to right as Daniel Sturridge was lucky enough to pop up in the right place at the right time to score his first premier league goal in Liverpool colours. It was a replay of the first goal conceded by United against Newcastle at Old Trafford on boxing day. A shot by Steven Gerrard on the 57th minute which De Dea should have dealt with comfortably, but failed to do so, lead to Sturridge pouncing on the deflected ball and putting it in the net. Liverpool grew in confidence after that and created many opportunities only for Sturridge to fire them all into the side of the net.
Man Utd did shake up a little at the back but Sir Alex Ferguson sent in Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to make sure United got all the three points out of the game they should have won in the first half itself. In the end, thats what happened and it was an important victory over Manchester United’s oldest rivals in the game. United also made sure they keep their 7 point advantage over the noisy neighbours intact (Man City defeated Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium 2-0, after 35 years).
Another fantastic attacking display by the frontline and a strong defensive show by the back four. Although Ferguson might not have looked too happy going down the tunnel after the match ended, he sure would be content, to say the least, by a massive result. 🙂
Glory Glory Man Utd!! 😀