By Mark Young.
Read Manchester United 2010-11 Season Review here
(CL) Bursaspor 0-3 United
(PL) United 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
(PL) Manchester City City 0-0 United
(PL) Aston Villa 2-2 United
(PL) United 2-0 Wigan Athletic
(UCL) Glasgow Rangers 0-1 United
(UCL) United 7-1 Blackburn Rovers
(CC) West Ham United 4-0 United
Man United were buoyed going into the winter months after being unbeaten in the opening three months of the season. The next game was in the Champions League against Bursaspor, where as expected, Ferguson made changes. It was a very cagey first half but United found their cutting edge in the second half. Darren Fletcher scored just after the break before Gabriel Obertan and Bebe scored for the Red Devils to give them an extremely convincing win.
The changes that were made midweek were reversed at the weekend when Mick McCarthy’s Wolves came to Old Trafford. They gave a great account of themselves. Ji Sung Park scored on half time before former United striker Sylvain Ebanks-Blake gave Wolves something to hold on to. McCarthy was seen celebrating tackle after tackle in the dying moments before the little Korean struck in injury time to ensure all three points stayed at Old Trafford. Another late show from the Reds.
The problem United had been having was picking up wins away from home. Although unbeaten the season had thus far been littered with unconvincing draws. The next two games were away from the Theatre of Dreams. The first was the trip across town to Eastlands to play Mancini’s Manchester City. The game was a bit of a non event with both sides cancelling each other out in a stalemate. 0-0 it finished and both teams seemed happy with the point.
The next game was at Villa Park. United were poor for 80 minutes and were deservedly 2-0 down. An Ashley Young penalty and Marc Albrighton goal had put Villa up after 76 minutes. United rallied and a cracking finish from young Italian striker, Federico Macheda, into the top corner gave United hope with ten minutes left. That isn’t the first time he had scored a vital goal against The Villains. United were relentless at this point and the second goal was coming. It came from the head of captain, Nemanja Vidic and United somehow grabbed a point from the jaws of victory. The unbeaten streak was still alive.
United welcomed a mid week break after the frantic November start. Wigan were the visitors to Old Trafford on the 20th November and Roberto Martinez’s side were swept away. A collector’s item of a goal for Patrice Evra just before half time had United in control and the impressive Chicharito grabbed the second 15 minutes from time.
It was time for a game billed as Scotland Vs England and after the poor first game between United and Rangers had finished 0-0 it looked like the encounter at Ibrox was going the same way until Fabio was fouled in the area. Wayne Rooney stepped up, and United won away from home in Europe again.
Rooney had recently handed in a transfer request and signed a new five year contract in the space of a week. He had also been training in America in order to get fit. It had been a tough start to the season for Rooney but United fans were willing to let him do his talking on the pitch. It was an interesting side story for the remainder of the season.
Rooney started up front with Dimitar Berbatov the following weekend against Blackburn but the Bulgarian warned Rooney that he would not be moved. In a 7-1 thrashing, Berbatov scored five including a team move from front to back which he started and finished. United were starting to play well and Blackburn were the unlucky side to play a ruthless United side.
A long November was brought to its conclusion when a second string side were humbled away at West Ham in the Carling Cup. They lost 4-0 when Spector and Cole scored twice. It was United’s first loss in all competitions and their hold on the Carling Cup had come to an abrupt end.
(CL) United 1-1 Valencia
(PL) United 1-0 Arsenal
(PL) United 2-0 Sunderland
(PL) Birmingham City 1-1 United
December was a quieter month for everyone after a hectic November. It started with the return game against Valencia in the Champions League. Valencia played really well and could have taken all three points. Pablo Hernandez had given the Spaniards a half time lead. Brazilian midfielder Anderson rescued a point in the final group game scoring just after the hour.
It was another game against a top side up next as Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal were in town. It was another cagey affair on a cold Monday night but a Ji Sung Park header was enough to give Untied the advantage against a title competitor and another three points at home. Rooney missed a penalty but it was still enough. The Red Devils followed that up with a 2-0 win against Sunderland as Berbatov added two more goals to his ever rising tally of Premier League goals.
Another Berbatov goal had almost given United three points away at Birmingham but a questionable Lee Bowyer equaliser gave Birmingham a point on a frost evening at St Andrews. United go into 2011 with an unbeaten record.
(PL) West Bromwich Albion 1-2 United
(PL) United 2-1 Stoke City
(FA) United 1-0 Liverpool
(PL) Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 United
(PL) United 5-0 Birmingham City
(PL) Blackpool 2-3 United
(FA) Southampton 1-2 United
It was a new year but United went into it unbeaten and they planned to keep it that way. One new signing came in, Anders Lindegaard and Federico Macheda went to Sampdoria on loan. New Years Day saw United travel to West Brom where Rooney scored his first goal from open play since the controversy of his transfer request. West Brom were unlucky as they should have had a penalty after a Gary Neville foul and he would have been sent off if given. It wasn’t and Untied recorded their second away league win of the season.
It was business as usual at home in January as they racked up seven goals in two games in the league beating Stoke 2-1 and a Dimitar Berbatov hat trick helping United to a 5-0 stroll against Birmingham.
It was also the start of the FA Cup. It was a third round tie that whetted the appetite. It was United ready to take on Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool. A second minute Ryan Giggs penalty secured United a place in the fourth round of the world’s oldest cup competition and were drawn against Southampton. It was a spirited performance from the Saints who took the lead through Richard Chaplow. Michael Owen and Javier Hernandez clawed United back and progression was assured with a 2-1 victory.
A Rafael red card was the main highlight of the away game at Tottenham as another draw away from home came to fruition to the tune of 0-0. It could have been worse later on in January as United visited Blackpool. They went 2-0 down and the second half has already been described as season defining. As United do so often they came back. Another Berbatov double and a Hernandez equaliser brought United back from the abyss and in control. The away form picked up in January but that doesn’t mean that United didn’t do it as they always do it. That is doing it the hard way.
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