Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Man Alive! United Strike Five Past Helpless West Brom

Man Alive! United Strike Five Past Helpless West Brom

Bottom of the league West Bromwich Albion and top of the table Manchester United were poles apart in the Premier League prior to kick-off, and their contrasting fortunes in England's top division were reflecting on the field, as West Bromwich Albion were hit for five after ninety minutes.

Due to congestion problems on the motorways leading into the Midlands, the game - scheduled to kick off at 19:45 GMT - was postponed for 30 minutes. For visiting fans who had got to their seats early, it would have been well worth the wait.

Chances fell to both sides within the first ten minutes, as some good link up play between hard-working Ji 'three-lunged' Park, and Dimitar Berbatov led to an early effort, but the Bulgarian squirted a tame shot into the clutches of Scott Carson.

Marc-Antoine Fortune and Jay Simpson both then spurned two separate strikes that could have granted the Baggies an early lead. Fortune's shot though was deflected off-target, and Simpson - on loan from Arsenal - failed to get the ball past an adamant and rigid Gary Neville who was all too eager to block with his body.

United began their rout on the 22nd minute when a throw in led to a swift one-two between Michael Carrick and Berbatov, on the edge of the box, and the former Tottenham striker was not as limp with his strike this time round and beat Carson with a low drive.

It was clearly not going to be West Brom's day when key defender, Paul Robinson, was sent off the pitch for an early bath for a slide on Park. Then, one minute from the break, a clanger from Carson led to United's second.

The erratic England international failed to collect a cross, and stocky Argentine forward rushed in to give the Red Devils a two goal, and one man, cushion going into the dressing room for their half-time team talk.

It took just a quarter of an hour for United to extend their lead after the re-start. Veteran winger Ryan Giggs sent in a well-weighted box-bound cross that Nemanja Vidic sent into the net with the help of a nod. He was unmarked, and Tony Mowbray will be fuming with not only Rob Styles' decision to send off his captain and the flapping of Carson in the first half, but the sloppy defending on display in the second.

For the fourth, Giggs and Ronaldo skipped through a static Brom defence and the recently crowned World Player of the Year was in a central position to easily side-foot the ball home for his ninth league goal of the season.

The Portuguese international secured his tenth eight minutes later when Berbatov played the role of provider in a move that bore suspicions of offside, but the goal stood and Carson ended up on the wrong end of a booking for his heavy protests.

United were rampant, and moved three points clear of Liverpool, who travel to Wigan on Wednesday evening.

The clean sheet also meant that Edwin van der Sar had not conceded a Premier League goal for ten games, and has thus broken Petr Cech's (Chelsea) previous record of going 1,025 minutes unbeaten.


West Bromwich Albion: Carson - Hoefkens; Pele; Donk; Robinson - Zuiverloon; Borja Valero; Koren; Brunt - Simpson; Fortune.

Manchester United: Van der Sar - Neville; Ferdinand; Vidic; O'Shea - Park; Carrick; Giggs; Ronaldo - Berbatov; Tevez.