No Defenders, No Problem

Despite Uniteds vast problems at the back, the reds continued their run without losing in the Premier League as they demolished West Ham at Upton Park. Although United were forced to place two midfielders in defence, wonder strikes from Paul Scholes, Darren Gibson, Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney gave the visitors a victory which put them within two points of table leaders Chelsea.

Ferguson’s men looked shaky at the back with Patrice Evra being the only first-choice member of Ferguson’s usual back four. Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, John O’Shea, Jonny Evans, Rafael, Edwin van der Sar and Fabio were all missing at Upton Park today prompting at drastic change at the back. Fletcher was drafted in at right-back and Captain Gary Neville shifted into central defence with Wes Brown. Tomasz Kuszczak also continued in goal for the third successive game. As things looked like they couldn’t get worse for Sir Alex, at half hour mark Gary Neville limped off with a groin injury giving Micheal Carrick a chance to perform in center of defence although not his position.

After a large fragment of possession, united legend Paul Scholes opened the scoring just before the break with a tantalising twenty yard strike into the top corner putting the ball just beyond the reach of England goalkeeper Robert Green.

A scrappy start to the second half allowed West Ham to once again tentatively probe at United’s back four. But their hopes were soon dashed just after the hour mark with a brilliant sweeping attacking move on the left involving Rooney and Giggs which later produced United’s second and young Darron Gibson’s third goal of the week. After brilliant preparation from both Giggs and Rooney, Darron Gibson was teed up for another twenty yard wonder strike giving him his third amazing goal of the week.

United weren’t without pressure from the home side as minutes after their goal Tomasz Kuszczak had to make an out-standing stop to prevent a dipping, curling 30-yard free kick from substitute Alessandro Diamanti nestling into the top corner.

The reds next chance was only five minutes later in the seventieth minute when the intricate passing of Giggs and Rooney found its reward. The two united veterans, who had worked well together all game, worked the ball out to Anderson. Even with pressure from defenders, Anderson managed to cross the ball to summer signing Antonio Valencia who coolly claimed his sixth goal for the reds. United finished the Hammers with fourth goal coming two minutes after Valencia’s. An excellent cross from the Ecuadorian handed Wayne Rooney his tenth premier league goal of the season from two yards. It was simple, devastating work by the English forward.

I believe united deserved the win as West ham just weren’t putting their chances away and even with many injuries united still looked strong.

(c) Oliver McGrath

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