Ryan Giggs Leads United revival with 4-0 Debut Win over Norwich

Rooney Tom Jenkins

Wayne Rooney celebrates one of his two goals – Source: The Guardian

Manchester United 4-0 Norwich City
Saturday 26th April 2014

United lifted the doom and gloom around the club by giving interim manager Ryan Giggs a perfect start with a comprehensive beating of relegation threatened Norwich City at Old Trafford. A double from Wayne Rooney (the first from the spot just before the break, and the second just after) killed the game and another double from substitute Juan Mata (continuing his good recent form in front of goal) ensured the club legend got the victory which the Theatre Of Dreams demanded.

The new boss got a rapturous welcome from the fans who are used to seeing him out on the pitch as a player. They seemed to love seeing him in a suit and tie, as he took his seat in the famous raised dugout alongside fellow class of 92 graduates Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville. United did not have everything their own way as a determined City side fighting for their lives worked hard to keep them out early on. However, once the deadlock was broken, it could have been five, six, seven, any number you want.

As he promised in his press conference on Friday, Giggs’ United played with far more pace, tempo, passion and – above all – width that actually mattered, not just get the ball wide and toss the ball in as United did early in the season under David Moyes, during a disappointing 2-2 home draw with basement team Fulham, where they set a Premier League record for crosses during a game. This was real width, used to stretch the opposition and get the full backs pushed on the overlap. The third and fourth goals coming from crosses from Phil Jones and Patrice Evra.

Danny Welbeck had United’s best effort before they took the lead. His powerful shot was well saved by Norwich keeper John Ruddy at his near post, after a cross from the left came all the way through to him. United eventually broke down the Canaries’ resistance in the 40th minute as Welbeck was dragged down by Steven Whittaker who – for some reason only known to referee Lee Probert – did not receive a straight red card for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity. He did not get a card of any description, amazing! Wayne Rooney dispatched the penalty with little fuss, sending Ruddy the wrong way with a confident side foot finish to open the flood gates.

Rooney extended the lead just after the break in the 48th minute with a beautiful curled effort, in off Ruddy’s far left hand post from twenty yards. He had been given the freedom of Old Trafford to cut across Norwich’s defence from the left hand side. Welbeck was denied again with Ruddy making a stunning save to keep out his powerful volley from the edge of the box, and then outgoing skipper Nemanja Vidic headed just over from a Rooney corner after a good flick on by the majestic Michael Carrick. Carrick did not give a ball away all evening.

Then it was time for sub Juan Mata to put the game well out of Norwich’s reach, as he tucked home very well from a wonderful Jones cross in the 62nd minute. United’s Domination was further enhanced as Mata nodded in an Antonio Valencia effort in the 72nd minute, after a good move lead to Evra standing up an excellent cross to the far post. United could have had several other goals. Rooney could easily have had a hat-trick as two curled efforts were well kept out by Ruddy. He also saw an audacious chip land on the roof of the net, inches away from a great goal.

Substitute Javier Hernandez missed a wonderful chance late on, when he found himself one-on-one with the Goalkeeper, but he dragged his shot wide, having been released by an excellently timed pass from Mata. Norwich had a few decent efforts from distance, a free-kick and a shot from long range were well saved by David De Gea, and another effort from well outside the area deflected onto the crossbar, but Norwich will be disappointed with their effort in a game which they needed to get something out of.

Norwich need points in their fight for survival but a crowd of 75,208 went home happy with smiles on their faces, just as Ryan Giggs had promised.

Man Of The Match: Michael Carrick gets it for me. It’s amazing what a change of manager and philosophy can do for a player who has looked lost all season. He returned to last season’s form in this game, the form that lead to him being nominated for PFA Player of the Year. He sat between Rio and Vidic all evening, and because more people were moving forward and making runs, with the fullbacks bombing on, he was left with space to conduct the game and hardly wasted a ball. The whole game revolved around him, and he set everything in motion.

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Juan Mata proves his worth in a comprehensive United win over Newcastle

juanmataJuan Mata is really finding his form – Source: AP

Newcastle United 0-4 Manchester United
Saturday 5th April 2014

Juan Mata steals the show as David Moyes rested several players ahead of the Champions League second leg showdown with defending champions Bayern Munich. Mata was key to a 4-0 victory at Newcastle which moved United into the top six and into the European places. The Spainard netted twice and produced a sensational backheel for Adnan Januzaj’s goal as he is beginning to produce the form everyone knows he is capable of, playing in his favoured number 10 role in the absence of Wayne Rooney. He now looks like a player who cost £37.1 million.

David Moyes made eight changes to the team that performed so well against Munich in midweek, ahead of Wednesday night’s second leg, but that mattered not as United deserved to win as easily as the scoreline would suggest. After a bright start from The Toon, the victory was not without controversy. Referee Kevin Friend came under fire for giving a soft free-kick which led to Mata giving United the lead. The Magpies could have no complaints after that however, as Mata made it two shortly after the break.

Two wonderful team goals finished off by Javier Hernandez and substitute Adnan Januzaj sealed a routine win. The loss was the Geordies’ fourth in their last five league games, with only one goal scored. From the moment Mata gave United the lead, there was little chance of Newcastle completing a first double over United in the league since 1931. There was a bit of a testimonial feel to the game with Moyes’ eyes on Munich on Wednesday and Alan Pardew revealing before kick-off that his players where maybe struggling to get motivated with little to play for.

Newcastle started the brighter of the two sides with right back Davide Santon delivering several dangerous crosses into the box. It was from one of those crosses that Dan Gosling headed just wide in the second minute and Papiss Cisse forced a good save from Anders Lindegaard, who replaced the rested David De Gea in goal. However, the home side could not make the most of other promising moments and let the visitors off the hook. They were made to pay as controversy arose when Gosling was not impressed to be ruled against for a challenge on Darren Fletcher on the edge of the penalty area. Despite the protests, Mata curled a wonderful left footed effort up over the wall and down under the crossbar into the top corner with Newcastle keeper Rob Elliot crasping at thin air. It was an incredible piece of artistry.

The game should have been made potentially safe in the waning moments of the firstperiod. The excellent Shinji Kagawa released Hernandez and the Mexican can count himself unlucky to see his curled effort come back of the post. Any chance of a Newcastle comeback was ended within five minutes of the restart. Fabricio Coloccini attempted to chest the ball to the full back but the ball was intercepted by Kagawa who slid Hernandez in. The Little Pea squared for Mata and the diminutive Spainard cleverly dummied the defender and goalkeeper with his left foot and calmly tapped home with his right. This was a wonderful display of composure.

Hernandez could have made it 3-0 shortly after with a quick shot which went over, but the little Mexican got a well deserved goal for a hard working display when he turned the ball in at the near post after excellent approach work by Januzaj and Kagawa. Lindegaard still had a couple of saves to make from Cisse, first turning away his curling effort and then producing an incredible save to deny the Newcastle front-man from just six yards. United ended the contest with a fourth goal in stoppage time. Januzaj played a one-two with Mata and the playmaker’s wonderful backheel released the young starlet, who finished with a comfortable side foot. David Moyes will be happy with a fourth consecutive away win in the league and the ideal warm up for Wednesday night

Man Of The Match: Excellent performances from Hernandez, Kagawa and Januzaj but the vote goes to Juan Mata, for his sparkling display. Two wonderful goals and an incredible assist for Januzaj’s goal were the highlights, but he was involved in everything good about United, playing in his best position as a number 10. He looked well worth every penny of that £37.1 million when he played in this role.

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Wayne Rooney wondergoal helps Man United defeat West Ham


Wayne Rooney wondergoal – Source: Sportimage

West Ham United 0-2 Manchester United
Saturday 22 March 2014

Manchester United returned to league action after beating Olympiacos to get into the Champions League Quarter Finals. England international Wayne Rooney kept up the feel good factor with two goals to see off West Ham. His second moved him to 212 goals for United, putting him into third place on the club’s all-time top scorers list. He surpassed Jack Rowley who scored 211 times for the club from 1937 to 1955. Now only Denis Law – with 237 from 1962 to 1973 – and Sir Bobby Charlton -with 249 from 1956 to 1973 – are ahead of the 28 year old now.

It was Rooney’s stunning first goal that will live on forever in memory. The England man produced a goal similar to David Beckham’s wonder-goal at Wimbledon in 1996. Rooney’s goal arguably required more technique because it was hit on the volley rather than with the ball under control on the ground. Rather fittingly, the club legend himself was there to witness the goal in person. Rooney’s performance was certainly a timely boost as United had just lost Van Persie for up to six weeks with a sprained knee. That will put him out of both legs of the Champions League tie against Bayern Munich.

His absence was one of six changes from the victory over Olympiacos. Another one of those changes was the introduction of the very impressive Marouane Fellaini. The big man came very close to putting United in front after barely three minutes. His powerful header was cleared off the line by Andy Carroll. David Moyes’ side continued to have the upper hand as Shinji Kagawa collected a poor clearance from James Tomkins and then freed Juan Mata. However, Adrian did well to keep out his fellow Spaniard.

Unfortunately for him, he was helpless as United took a deserved lead when Rooney probably secured his success in this year’s Goal of the Season contest. He won a duel with Tomkins on the half-way line and turned quickly to spot Adrian off his line and hit a wonderful swerving one-bounce half-volley and into the goal from at least 50 yards. A speechless David Beckham watched on from a luxury box and smiled wryly at a goal similar to his own famous goal, which is still talked about 18 years on.

After the shock of conceding such an incredible goal, West Ham went in search of the equalizer. Mohamed Diame saw a shot blocked by Alexander Buttner. Andy Carroll glanced a Kevin Nolan free kick just wide and then powerfully headed straight at David De Gea moments later. Diame lost his feet just as he was about to shoot, as the home side continued to press. However, United were still very much a threat on the counter. When they attacked, they did so quickly with much more penetration than has witnessed for much of this campaign.

Rooney, Kagawa and the outstanding Mata combined very well. The latter two combined for United’s next chance, as Mata released Kagawa, who’s left foot shot was saved by Adrian. Mata was next to test the West Ham shot-stopper as he stung his palms with a fierce drive after getting free of Diame’s challenge. The visitors did not have long to wait for goal number two. West Ham’s Kevin Nolan went down easily in the box claiming a penalty which was waved away by referee Lee Mason. United immediately broke away with Rooney releasing Ashley Young. The wide man sent in a low cross which Mark Noble could only play straight into the path of the on-rushing Rooney, who adjusted well to easily tuck home in the 33rd minute.

Rooney could have had a first half hat-trick but failed with three more efforts. West Ham huffed and puffed after the break but United’s somewhat makeshift back four – which included central midfielder Michael Carrick at centre half – held firm. Rooney and Mata were taken off, no dobut with Tuesday’s Manchester derby in mind. Rooney’s replacement Javier Hernandez could have scored twice. First kagawa failed to pick him out at the far post after another flowing move, and then the Mexican failed to make a clean contact when put clear with Adrian racing from his goal. The excellent Fellaini – who did an outstanding job of marshaling Andy Carroll all game – should have had a late penalty awarded when he put himself in the clear with some great play. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, he was taken out from behind. Referee Mason disagreed but it mattered not, as David Moyes’ side secured a third successive away win in the league, and deservedly so.

Man Of The Match: Marouane Fellaini’s put in an excellent all-round performance. The giant Belgian screened well in front of Carrick And Jones, effectively marked Carroll from all set-pieces – dropped back into open play to take Carroll out, and displayed neat and tidy in possession. His play allowed Mata and Kagawa in particular to flourish. He could easily have had a couple of goals. He had a header cleared of the line early on in the game and right at the end was brought down just before getting a shot away. He just needs a run of games now to show his worth, after an injury plaged season.

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