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Five stars United go joint top

Dimitar Berbatov delivered a late Christmas present to United fans, scoring three in a 5-0 demolition of 10-men Wigan, to send Ferguson’s team joint top with Manchester City, albeit behind on goal difference.

Park Ji Sung and Antonio Valencia also got on the scoresheet, as Wigan were furious with referee Phil Dowd, whose decision to send off Conor Sammon virtually sealed Roberto Martinez’ men destiny.

United though were architects of their own success and the scoreline didn’t flatter United, as they continue an impressive run of form that has seen them scoring 16 goals in the last four games.

On the back of a 5-0 win at Fulham on Wednesday, Ferguson fielded a very unusual line-up, with the late withdrawals of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling adding to an already long list of injuries. Lindegaard kept his spot between the posts, as Carrick shifted in the middle of the back four, alongside Jonny Evans, with Valencia and Evra at fullbacks. The midfield was picked on form as well as necessity, with Giggs and Nani confirmed after the Fulham game and Park and Gibson coming into the team. Hernandez and Berbatov replaced Rooney and Welbeck up front.

Wigan are yet to take a point off United in the Premier League era and they got off to a terrible start as, after just eight minutes, Evra ghosted past two defenders before pulling the ball back for Park, who calmly side-footed it past Al-Habsi.

Sammon had a chance to equalize almost immediately, but he failed to make any sort of contact with Stam’s cross and United escaped. That would prove to be Wigan’s only chance of the afternoon as they failed, yet again, to score from open play at Old Trafford.

Martinez’s afternoon then got even worse as Phil Dowd inexplicably sent Sammon off after the striker’s arm had caught Carrick in the face, as the players jostled for position. It was probably one of the softest red cards of the season and, while Sammon should have known better than let his arm flying across Carrick’s face, it was definitely not worth a yellow card, let alone a red.

United wasted no time to make the numerical superiority count as Berbatov collected Gibson’s cross, before holding off Alcaraz and blasting the ball in the net with a left foot volley.

Not many teams have came back from a two goals gap at Old Trafford, surely not after being a man down at half-time and, surely, not playing as Wigan did today.

With the game virtually sealed, Ferguson replace Evans with Fryer before the restart, with Evra moving alongside Carrick in what was surely United’s strangest centre-backs pairing of the last decade.

While he might be just a makeshift centre-back, Carrick displayed great composure and his passing range added another dimension to United’s back four, defenders able to play the ball seem to be just as fashionable as iPads these days.

Berbatov, awarded a rare start, showed glimpses of his class as he put United 3-0 up on the hour mark. The mercurial Bulgarian received Valencia’s pass, before turning as he controlled the ball, and then toe-poked it into the top corner.

Rooney and Macheda replaced Nani and Giggs, as United coasted through the last 25 minutes, with Wigan eager to get back in the dressing room as quickly as possible.

Fergie’s teams have never been renowned for showing mercy and this version is no exception, particularly as any goal could be crucial in terms of goal difference, and United kept going forward, adding another two goals to their tally.

Valencia, one of United’s in-form performers in the last few games, saw his shot across the keeper end up in the bottom corner as he scored against his former club. Three minutes later Alcaraz tripped Park just inside the area and Rooney gave Berbatov the chance of taking the match ball home by completing his hat trick.

Last season’s top scorer made no mistake and sealed another five goals win for United.

Ferguson had made clear that he believes that United will always have a chance if they’re within 4-5 points of the summit by New Year’s Day. With 8 wins in the last 9 league games, United are joint top, having cut City’s five point lead.

United reaching form over the Christmas period after having been written off in November? If it sounds like a movie that English football has already seen, that’s because it is.

Daniele (@MUFC_dan87)



  1. thatboywazza

    27 December 2011 at 06:46

    Nani put in a decent shift yesterday,tracked back,held the ball well.Park had agreat game yesterday,was athorn in wigans backsides.Gibson handled himself pretty well.Carrick was Excellent.Berbatov was back to his best ,enjoying his football again.Hernandez was awol yesterday could be returning from injury.Lindergard had fokkol to do.Evra is a better center back than left back.Valencia was a right back? Yeah right He tormented wigan so much they only wish he was LOL.Giggs did himself alot of good towards getting another contract.Wigan were abysmal…At one point united had 97% possession thats how bad they were.

  2. godzilla

    27 December 2011 at 15:43

    Wigan werent terrible till the pathetic red card server by Dowd (?). After that they were there for the killing! Another game which shows why Berba is way way superior than the chicharito’s and welbecks. unfortunately he and rooney cannot play together and so berba has to be benched. funnily after 4-0 i think we had chicha, macheda ,berba and rooney on the field just showing what a cakewalk the second half was…

    • Craig Mc

      28 December 2011 at 18:42

      @godzilla: Play that team again against B’Burn or especially Newcastle away and we will get a right going over – we did ok yesterday because Wigan were too too awful!

      I am really concerned about our defensive needs. Rio cannot play any length of games it seems without aggravating some part of his body or other – great as he was coming back to best – not long before something goes. We have very little cover for full back positions when the twins are so easily injured very often. Zeki doesn’t have the experience for the run in – but he is ok against the wigans and other home games – but very raw. I think we need another CB and one pref too vey good FB substitutes. I mean we can’t keep getting away with the square peg round holes saga can we? We have players who can do a job in the interim for us in MF – but defence and MF would benefit with a boost, and especially DEFENCE! I think the 4-0 win was great achievement with the team we had out – but we will not be facing many Wigans down to 10 men in the upcoming games that’s for sure! The spurs are doing themselves ok and their football is pleasing to watch – just like ours. If they were to win the PL if we don’t then I would be made up – better than that lot across the City winning it!

      • jos

        29 December 2011 at 01:13

        @Craig Mc: Theres some talk of an interest in Matt Hummels. I quite like that talk, a very good player and a potential long term Rio replacement. Plays very similar to him and can also play defensive mid equally good.
        And since dortmund are out of europe, he cud be available immediately. But then, fundamental question is, is Fergie even looking at him

        • Craig Mc

          29 December 2011 at 20:50

          @jos: Jos I don’t know anything about Matt Hummels??? I will check up to see if there is anything on you tube. I am not sure if Fergie is looking, but I believe he sure ought to be. Anyway thanks for the info mate!

        • tonymontanna4united

          29 December 2011 at 22:55

          @jos: Hummels or subotic would both be fantastic, but both would come with a hefty price tag also, a price tag that will stretch far beyond our budget, and in any case comes 2nd in importance behind a top class central midfielder.

  3. Yang

    27 December 2011 at 21:47

    Both Chica and Welbeck are still young, it will take couple of more seasons to hit optimum level. I do not know what is the Fergie’s beef with Berba, sure Berba didn’t do job when important games came up but He is still very effective. Some Pool fan suggest that they need to buy Berba in Jan window for solving toothless forward problems.

    • Nuevo

      29 December 2011 at 04:54

      @Yang: To play for Pool you either need to be a Coke snorting useless mass of flesh(Carroll) or an all round arrogant SOB(Suarez). Seeing as berba is neither…i doubt he’d wanna go there 😉

  4. RedDevilEddy

    28 December 2011 at 19:17

    I love Manchester! 😀 Windy as fuck but great here, Ian I found a gym as well! 😆

  5. Stephen

    29 December 2011 at 19:28

    I have to say well done to the manager and the players for how they have come back from the C@*y defeat. We may not have the greatest squad in the clubs history, but we have a squad with incredible mental strength, which is very important if League titles are to be won.
    Happy New Year Ranters, Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends.

  6. Stephen

    29 December 2011 at 19:33

    Also what the fuck is going on in Salford, fucking knife is the cancer which is eroding not only Manchester but the UK, sometimes I have to shake my head and really not understand what is happening to this country….

    • RedDevilEddy

      29 December 2011 at 19:45

      @Stephen: It’s amazing, from what I’ve gotten it is with racist purpose… Can’t believe it!

    • tonymontanna4united

      29 December 2011 at 23:02

      @Stephen: You wanna try walking through most of whythenshawe mate, scary aint even the word. Has always had a reputation, but it was in passing last year that i saw just how much worse it had gotten the last few years. Sad to see, as it was home for me for the first 10 years of my life.

      • Moscow is my heaven

        29 December 2011 at 23:25

        @tonymontanna4united: That is very sad mate, you should always be able to talk about your hometown with pride. I’m afraid that crime, along with other things, will get a lot worse under the coalition government not just in Manchester, but across the whole country. Rumour is that there will be an even greater wave of riots in the summer 🙁 They better have barricades around OT when the time comes! 🙂

        • tonymontanna4united

          29 December 2011 at 23:31

          @Moscow is my heaven: Oh i dont doubt that mate, the riots in august were just the tip of the iceberg, this country is heading for disaster in the coming years, and unfortunately none of these so called elected officials can be arsed to do anything about it, to the point where i think its now too late to reverse it even if they wanted to.
          Broken britain indeed.

  7. Moscow is my heaven

    29 December 2011 at 22:36

    We need to make a move for Modric. I think £40 million should do the trick. If they refuse, make a move for Sandro. I was an advocate for a move for Sneijder but that ship has sailed, thanks to the cowardice of Fergie to stump up an extra 10-20k in wages. Goetze wants a move to Spain’s top two, which is a shame. Oh well. There are other quality options, who will walk into our midfield.

    If we don’t get Modric, we need three midfielders. We need a CB, Raul Albiol on a half season loan will keep Jose sweet and means we have an experienced international who we can rely on.

    Sell Berbatov immediately to Leverkusen for anything at or above £10 million. Gibson and Kuszczak must also be sold, for any price. I thought Anderson had shit for brains as well as passing ability, but it turns out that he has timed his injury well, so he cannot be sold in January. At least he isn’t a bird brain.

    CAM (not needed if we get Modric as CM)

    These are the positions which must be strengthened with top quality players. We are not cup-tied to Europe, so no excuses. I hope that there is value for money this time, for the sake of our title challenge 🙄

    • tonymontanna4united

      29 December 2011 at 23:20

      @Moscow is my heaven: To be honest, whilst i find him a good player, i have never seen modric as the world class superstar others seem fit to label him as. Dont know, maybe its just me, but i just dont think hes a £40m worthy player, sorry i just dont. Would much rather splash that sort of dough on a schweinsteiger, gotze, erikson or the like.
      In any case unfortunately theres next to no chance of us ever splashing that sort of money again during the glazer regime.
      Better looking at a few more realistically priced players who we might possibly be interested in.
      Rodwell for example, despite his critics on here, i think would be a damn fine fit in our midfield, and would be readily available what with evertons current financial woes.
      Would also like to throw nathaniel clynes name out there of crystal palace, whose contract is up at the end of the season and available for £2-3m. A RB isnt exactly a necessity i know, but i have given up on the twins and their ability to stay fit, and whilst i have been impressed by smalling at jones filling in, id still like to see more of smalling back in his favoured central position, which would kill 2 birds with 1 stone really and see us not having to go out and bring in another CB (although must say i do like cahill, but seems hes chelski bound).
      You could probably pick those 2 up for £20m combined which would see us through nicely til the summer, and then we could go all out and buy another star name midfielder and left back.
      But even then thats assuming were given £20m to spend, which is no guarantee these days.
      Am expecting a very quiet transfer window tbh.

      • Moscow is my heaven

        29 December 2011 at 23:35

        @tonymontanna4united: I think Modric is so lucrative because he slots into a 2 man midfield perfectly, and shoulders all the attacking burden from midfield. He is the closest player to Scholes in the league, and just like the Ginger Ninja, he could form a dream partnership with Carrick, allowing Cleverley time and space to work his way back into the footy.

        My strategy is purely based on the assumption that Fergie is not lying about our transfer funds, so your ideas are more realistic given Fergie’s deceptive nature. A club of our size should be able to afford top quality players. But as you say, we will likely be dissappointed yet again.

  8. RedDevilEddy

    29 December 2011 at 23:50

    Smalling maybe out for 3 months with a fever….

    • Moscow is my heaven

      30 December 2011 at 01:48

      😡 😡 😡 🙁

    • godzilla

      30 December 2011 at 04:21

      @RedDevilEddy: FUCK man. why is this virus shit hitting United!! This would definitely mean we will have to dip into the market, no way we can live with Evans and Jones and a wobbly Ferdinand. Our 2 strongest CB’s are out ! Anyone watched this HUmmels guy play?

      • RedDevilEddy

        30 December 2011 at 10:39

        @godzilla: False reports apparantley, he should be back for Newcastle or City!

        Rio won’t start against Blackburn though, and Jones is still not a 100% certainty… What’s our defence? 😕

  9. Traverse

    30 December 2011 at 21:48

    Macheda going on loan to QPR for the rest of the season. Get some game time there, we’ll see what he’s made off.

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