On the anniversary of Sir Alex Ferguson‘s 24th year in charge of the club, Manchester United came away with a victory that has typified the never-say-attitude of any United side over the years.
Ji-Sung Park was the hero of the Old Trafford crowd, scoring two great goals that have now placed United in second just two points behind leaders Chelsea. The big news before the game was a shock start for Owen Hargreaves, making his first start for United in over 2 years. Hernández was entrusted with the task of leading the line, and Obertan played just off him. Besides this, there were no real inclusions of note.
The first incident of note, however, was a terrible one for all United fans, when Hargreaves had to limp off after just five minutes having pulled his left hamstring. Such bad luck for the man, and some might argue that he had been pushed into the starting lineup too quickly.
A gamble that certainly didn’t pay off. Wolves were undoubtedly the brighter team at the start, and Matt Jarvis picked up where he left off in the Carling Cup, causing all sorts of problems down the left. O’Shea and Fletcher were finding it difficult to control the game in the middle of the park, but the visiting side’s closing down didn’t allow the United midfielders from dictating play. Indeed, Wolves came closest to opening the scoring, when Milijas’s lashed effort deflected off Vidic’s foot and went just wide of the post.
However, and very undeservedly, United took the lead just on the stroke of half-time. Darren Fletcher carried the ball into the final third of the Wolves half on a rare burst forward. Spotting Ji-Sung Park’s clever run through the middle, the captain of Scotland played a beautifully incisive pass to find Park, who made no mistake in converting his effort facing just the goalkeeper. The Old Trafford crowd were relieved, as they should have been, seeing as it was probably United’s poorest first half performance of the season so far.
One would have thought that a team like Manchester United playing at home would take hold of the game in the second half after taking the lead. But this was not so — the Wolves fans were rightly singing “you’re not the real United” from the stands. Mick McCarthy made a couple of positive changes bringing on strikers Steven Fletcher and ex-United boy Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. The changes certainly had a recognisable effect on the side that looked limited in their options up front until that point. Kevin Doyle made a good run into the box, and after the United defence made a mess of clearing the ball, it fell to the feet of Ebanks-Blake, who spun well to finish between van der Sar’s legs.
Following the pattern of this season already, perhaps it was no surprise that United had thrown away the lead — indeed, Wolves had been the better team. Moments after the equaliser, Steven Fletcher came close to giving the visitors the lead but blazed his shot high. Was this going to be another night of points being dropped where they didn’t have to?
But there was a hero in red this time in the 93rd minute. Darren Fletcher played the ball out wide to find Park. The winger cut inwards beating two defenders, and dummying the third, and when everyone thought he was about to pass, let loose a left-footed drive low and hard into the bottom corner of Hahnemann’s net. The crowd erupted as Park tore away smacking the Manchester United crest on his chest in jubilation. It was a truly spectacular individual goal at such a late stage in the game and one that can be so important in the final outcome for the season. United had provided the late show yet again.
It was a tense game, but quite a poor performance from the team in truth. Vidic and Obertan didn’t have their best games for the club, and Bébé who came on for Hargreaves was particularly poor in his delivery into the box. Patrice Evra and Park were the better performers on the night, not to forget two assists for Darren Fletcher as well. One would hope however that the performance improves on Wednesday night when we face Manchester City at Eastlands. Hopefully by then, some of the players suffering from viruses and injuries can come back and provide some selection headaches for the manager. Following Chelsea’s defeat against Liverpool, let’s carry on with this momentum and show City the real massive team in Manchester.
Best Moment: Park’s winner
Worst Moment: Hargreaves’ injury
Man of the Match: Ji-Sung Park
Written by member Sownak27