ROONEY WILL GRAB THE HEADLINES BUT VALENCIA WAS THE STAR OF THE SHOW
By Football Talk.
Manchester United closed the gap on Premier League leaders Chelsea to one point after beating West Ham 3-0 at Old Trafford. Wayne Rooney was the match-winner once again with two well taken headers, and Michael Owen came off the bench to cap a comfortable win for United.
Sir Alex Ferguson made five changes following the defeat to Everton. Ben Foster, Nemanja Vidic, Anderson, Darron Gibson and Paul Scholes all returned. However Ferguson left out Edwin Van Der Sar and England Captain Rio Ferdinand, i can only assume he was looking ahead to Sunday’s Carling Cup final.
United created the first chance in the sixth minute after man-of-the-moment Rooney found Valencia in the box but he fluffed his shot. West Ham were defending well enough but struggling to create anything. It look until the 20th minute before they had any real shot of note, Guillermo Franco released Valon Behrami but he dragged his shot wide of United’s goal.
A deflected Diamanti effort caused a moment of panic but Foster managed to back-track and make the save. It was a rare West Ham attack and United went straight up the other end to almost open the lead themselves. Valencia’s left foot strike was pushed away by Green with Berbatov and Park scrambling to tuck away the rebound, but Green managed to clear.
Darron Gibson went close twice before United eventually opened the scoring. Berbatov found Valencia out on the right who’s first-time cross was met with w superb diving header by Rooney. Can he stop scoring headers? It was a wonderful team goal.
1-0 Rooney (38)
Rooney almost scored a superb second minutes later. With his back to goal he chested the ball up, swivelled and fired a 20 yard volley inches over the bar. Half time and United led 1-0 and in truth it should have been more.
Park came close to doubling Man Utd’s lead within a minute of the restart. The dangerous Valencia sent in a cross only for Park to fire against the post from 12 yards.
It wasn’t long before United and Rooney had their second and secure the three points. Again it was Valencia who provided the assist, his right wing cross found Rooney who provided a simple header to score his 27th of the season. England fans will be begging Rooney continues this form into the World Cup.
2-0 Rooney (55)
He almost got his hat-trick, after beating Green to the ball Rooney curled towards goal from the by-line but Julian Faubert managed to clear. Wayne Rooney was replaced by Michael Owen and the England hopeful scored a trade-mark goal within minutes of coming on. Running onto a Scholes through-ball, Owen opened his body and curled past Green into the far corner, great finish but he will need a few more of those before Fabio Capello is convinced enough to take him to South Africa.
3-0 Owen (80)
A comfortable 3-0 victory for Manchester United then, and the gap is now back to just one point, although Chelsea do have a game in hand. Rooney will steal the headlines, but Valencia was the star for United. He was dangerous every time he received the ball and grabbed two superb assists. Nani will have a job replacing him when he returns from his suspension.
Nemanja Vidic looked like he had never been away and Darron Gibson had a fine game in central midfield. Ben Foster did well when called upon and Michael Owen showed he is still a deadly finisher. But it will be the performance of Valencia that will please Ferguson the most, he was unplayable at times.
It’s the Carling Cup final up next for Sir Alex Ferguson and this victory couldn’t have been an easier warm-up.
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