Saturday, 14 January 2012

United vs Bolton, the autopsy

Back-to-back Premier League defeats where forgotten when Manchester United edged out City in the incredible 3rd round F.A cup tie last weekend; however getting back on track in the bread and butter of the Premier League wasn’t just important it was essential. And despite an array of early missed opportunities the comfortable win was never in doubt.

Team Selection
Paul Scholes’ decision to come out of retirement for his cameo in the derby last week would’ve been the biggest news in most games; however the drama that was played out at the City of Manchester stadium in the end thrusted its way to the main talking point. But the ginger genius’s first start in a United shirt since the final game of the last Premier League season took the centre stage.

Yet more defensive injuries meant Sir Alex’s hand was played for him with Jonny Evans partnering Rio Ferdinand who had been a doubt prior to the match; however both Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are expected to return come Arsenal next Sunday. Wayne Rooney was once again partnered by Danny Welbeck with both Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez having to settle for a place on the bench again.

Mixture of poor finishing and concentration nearly cost United.
Throughout the game Manchester United created enough chances to win three games with the much maligned Adam Bogdan in inspired form in the Bolton goal. In the opening ten minutes Welbeck could already of had a hat-trick to his name; only for Bogdan to deny him on all three occasions. His best save came twenty minutes in to ensure Rooney’s second successive penalty miss, as the Hungarian international dived brilliantly to his right to keep the spot kick out.

Thankfully the returning Scholes opened the scoring just moments before half-time; however the expected floodgates didn’t open in the second half and Bolton rallied well and could’ve levelled as Manchester United let Owen Coyle’s side back into the game and Rafael cleared off the line to prevent an equaliser. Welbeck and Michael Carrick added further goals as we went level with City at the top of the table.

Rooney wasn’t having his best game as Scholes dominated.
Sir Alex’s key player didn’t have his greatest game in the red of Manchester United, with a missed penalty topping his error list. Rooney’s passing was off key and the England international didn’t appear to have his head in the right place losing the ball too often from a United perspective. Though Rooney did play in Welbeck for the killer second goal, Rooney and United will have to improve with Arsenal up next.

The returning Scholes slotted into the United midfield like he had never been away as he and the impressive Carrick dominated in the centre of the park. Scholes who topped the pass completion rate against City last weekend was again at his accurate best, with one cross field pass to Antonio Valencia in particular a highlight. The goal topped a fantastic afternoon for Scholes, in doing so quashing any doubters about his decision to come out of retirement.

In a comfortable win, we nearly gifted Bolton a way back into the game in the second half as our concentration levels lowered; however three goals did United justice. It was imperative that we got back to winning ways after two consecutive Premier League defeats, with our under pressure midfield looking good with the partnership between Scholes and Carrick bringing back memories of the Champions League winning season. Valencia in particular was very good again as the Ecuadorian again performed well at Old Trafford. 

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