Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back On Top Of The Table

Sunday, January 24, 2010
Man Utd 4-0 Hull City

Wayne Rooney Hits Four To Put Manchester United Back On Top Of The League

A Wayne Rooney inspired Manchester United returned to top of the league with a 4-0 victory over Hull City at Old Trafford. United took advantage of being the only game in the Premier League and moved two points clear of Arsenal in second place.
Sir Alex Ferguson made five changes from the team that lost to Manchester City in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi final in midweek. United welcomed back Rio Ferdinand to his starting line-up after three months out with a back injury and Michael Owen was given his fifth league start of the season.

Hull City manager Phil Brown, in his 150th match in charge of the Tigers, didn’t include new loan signing Amir Zaki in his matchday squad as he looked to build on their battling draw in their last league match against Spurs.

United dominated possession from the kick off and they were able to turn that possession into a goal in the seventh minute. A Nani corner from the right was headed clear, but the ball fell to Paul Scholes who fired a powerful shot from distance. Hull City goalkeeper Boaz Myhill could only parry the midfielders strike and the Wayne Rooney collected 8 yards out and fired home his 16th goal of the season to give United the lead.

In the 11th minute a quickly taken free kick by Scholes found Nani free in the middle of the Hull half, the Portuguese midfielder moved towards goal before letting fly from 30 yards with a left foot strike which sailed over the bar.

Another chance fell to United two minutes later, when a patient build up by Nani and Rafael Da Silva found Darren Fletcher who crossed for Park Ji Sung at the back post but he couldn’t guide his header goalwards.

United continued to dominate possession and nearly doubled their lead in the 32nd minute. George Boateng fouled Park and Rooney struck the free kick up and over the bar but curled it just wide of Myhill’s right hand post as United pushed for more goals.

Rooney had his third chance of the half when a cross from was cleared by Zayatte with a backheel which fell to the England striker, but he couldn’t get his shot on target from an awkward position.

In the last minutes of the half a neat passing move by United found Michael Owen inside the Hull box but the striker was unable to convert his chance as Myhill made the save with his legs. And with the final chance of the half, a cross from Fletcher found Owen again but this time he was unable to get enough power behind his header and Myhill saved easily.

The second half began as the first had ended with United dictating the play. From a Hull corner United broke away on the counter attack with Nani, his cross was cleared by the Hull defence but only as far as Scholes who returned the ball to the Portuguese winger and this time his cross was cleared for a corner.

In the 62nd minute Hull went close for the first time in the match. A Stephen Hunt corner was flicked on by Anthony Gardner but Zayatte mis-kicked his shot and the ball rolled harmlessly wide.

Four minutes later the impressive Nani again broke down the right wing, his low cross perfectly found Park but the South Korean scuffed his shot and it was easily cleared by the Hull defence.

Manchester United won a free kick in the 69th minute following a foul by Boateng on Nani on the right hand side of the penalty area. The Portuguese winger took the free kick and found Owen whose glancing header went just wide of the far post.

Hull’s best chance of the match fell to substitute Kamil Ghilas in the 75th minute, a cross from Paul McShane on the right wing was brilliantly brought under control by the Algerian striker and his shot flew inches wide of Edwin Van Der Sar’s far post.

United substitute Darron Gibson nearly repeated his goal against Hull at the end of last season as the home side broke away on the counter attack. The young midfielder saw Myhill off his line and attempted an audacious lob from 30 yards out which landed on the top of the net.

In the 81st minute United finally doubled their lead, a long range free kick from Nani was pushed onto the bar by Myhill and the ball was cleared only as far as the Portuguese winger. He found Gibson who in turn found Rooney and he struck the ball past Myhill for his second of the game and a record 17th league goal of the season.

Rooney grabbed his hat-trick in the 85th minute. Another excellent run and cross from Nani down the right wing found the striker unmarked six yards out and he comfortably headed past Myhill for his second hat-trick of the season.

In injury time Park and substitute Dimitar Berbatov combined well, the Bulgarian chipped the ball over the defenders for Rooney to latch onto and fire into the back of the net for his and United’s fourth of the match.

So United climb back onto the top of the league with a convincing victory while Hull remain third bottom and very much, it seems, in a relegation battle.