News24

United regain Premiership lead

2010-03-27 22:09

Bolton - Dimitar Berbatov made light of Wayne Rooney's absence by scoring twice as Manchester United restored their one point lead at the top of the Premiership with a 4-0 win at Bolton on Saturday.

It took the reigning champions 38 minutes to go in front and then they needed an own-goal from Jlloyd Samuel.

United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar made some important saves before and after the opener and the visitors didn't put the result beyond doubt until Berbatov struck twice in the second half, with Darron Gibson adding a fourth late-on.

Victory was all the more important for United after they'd kicked off two points behind following Chelsea's 7-1 thrashing of Aston Villa earlier Saturday and set Sir Alex Ferguson's side up nicely for next weekend's clash with their title rivals.

United were without both defender Rio Ferdinand and Rooney but still warmed up for Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg with Bayern Munich in some style.

Their first real effort on goal came when Berbatov was picked out by Darren Fletcher's cross and hit a volley that was bundled wide by goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Jonny Evans, making his first appearance since last month's League Cup final win against Villa, lifted over the bar after Bolton failed to clear the Nani corner that followed.

Bolton were causing the champions plenty of problems and Nemanja Vidic had to be at full stretch to block from Tamir Cohen.

The impressive Jack Wilshere, on loan from Arsenal, opened up United's defence with a pass to Johan Elmander but the Swede's drive was pushed around the post by Van der Sar.

Ryan Giggs was picked out by Berbatov and cut inside Zat Knight before driving over from just outside the area.

Gary Cahill glanced a header wide from a free kick from South Korean winger Lee Chung-yong but eight minutes before the break United took the lead.

Samuel was not under too much pressure to clear Giggs's hopeful cross but still managed to turn the ball into the corner of his own net from six yards out.

Van der Sar tipped a shot from Fabrice Muamba over the bar and the former Arsenal midfielder also had a long-range effort deflected wide.

United's goalkeeper attempted to delay the taking of the corner but Knight grabbed the ball, leaving Van der Sar on the floor, and the corner was taken before the goalkeeper was in position only for Gary Neville to head away.

The visitors had already been angered by Sam Ricketts's early challenge on Patrice Evra and they were frustrated by the same player's tangle with Nani just before the break.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson came on to the pitch to remonstrate with referee Martin Atkinson as soon as the half-time whistle was blown.

Berbatov should have doubled the lead shortly after the restart when he was sent through by Darren Fletcher but the Bulgaria international stumbled as he was about to shoot.

And Fletcher stabbed wide of goal after he was picked out in the area by Berbatov.

Elmander then cut in from the left flank and had a low drive saved by Van der Sar as Bolton desperately searched for an equaliser.

But with 21 minutes left, United added a second through Berbatov.

Giggs slipped a pass through for Fletcher. The Scotland midfielder's shot was blocked by Jaaskelainen but not held by the goalkeeper and Berbatov reacted quickest to touch in.

Berbatov wrapped the points up when he was found by Nani's cross, after the Portuguese slipped past Ricketts with ease.

Gibson added a fourth with his first touch after coming on as a substitute, after more fine work from Nani, to seal a convincing victory.

AFP

Comments
  • Man U - 2010-03-29 07:38

    WOW! Even without the irreplaceable Rooney, we managed to score 4 goals! So, i wonder if Utd can play without Rooney?

  • Lamps_8 - 2010-03-29 08:01

    Entertaining as usual.Last goal by Gibson was brilliant.Into the cross bar,into the floor.Well played United!Berbatov may be lazy at times but Goal scoring is definitely not a weak area for him.Saturday!!!

  • Man U - 2010-03-29 08:34

    This is as exciting as was the build up to the Man Utd vs Liverpool game! Thank the Lord it is played in the middle of the public holdiays so it will give us enough time to recover! WIn or Lose recovery! Hoping i will be the one with Liver problems on Sunday and Monday instead of pain and heartache!

  • Nash the Gunner - 2010-03-29 08:39

    Lamps_8 are u sound like a Man Utd supporter in denial

  • Man united 4 life - 2010-03-29 09:03

    @nash dude jealousy makes u nasty. Cant w8 4da wknd. @ lamps 8, good luck bru, may chelsea bring their best game. @Man u, i'm wit u dude, may da drinkin gods have mercy on our innards this wknd. Go united

  • Glory man u - 2010-03-29 09:04

    big game on saterday against the blue boys. i;ll be sitting infront of the tv glory man u

  • Big K - 2010-03-29 09:11

    Firstly, to my fellow utd supporters, i hope Berba gave url a big FU on Sat cos there's been alot of crap said bout him!! Im not his biggest fan il admit, but his skill on the ball and touches are always brilliant!!! He is the type of striker that pulls defenders out of position hence giving Rooney way but against Bolton, he proved his price tag!!!!! His goals were very well handled esp the side footed goal, brilliant!!!! I thought we played excellently and so did Bolton for the 1st 60min, but if Samuel hadnt touched that ball, it would have gone in cos i think Valencia was approaching!!! Nani was simply brilliant, i think he is finally the player we wanted and knew of his skill and with the game time his been getting, he has earned another 4 year contract!!! Vida and Evans were great,i think all the united players played their part, that is what you call team football!!!!!! Well done Boys, Now to Germany and then Chelski,come boys, its going to be a great week ahead!!!@ Lamps_08: Gibson is another legend in the making, a replacement for the irreplaceable Scholesy!!! So come now all you United Haters, lets here the excuses!!!GGMU

  • stanz - 2010-03-29 09:21

    glory glory man united an the saints go marching on!cant wait for the game on saturday

  • Ryan - 2010-03-29 09:29

    @Lamps_8 ; you a true FOOTBALL fan and know that it is a case of credit where credit is due .We did play well - once again a TEAM effort. I agree that Gibbo's goal was a bit special - a player very much in the mould of your own Frank Lampard - a proper attacking midfielder with an eye for goal and who can strike the ball like he means it . From a United perspective I am still not convinced Berbatov is the real deal - a return of 11 goals in his second season for an outlay of 30million pounds doesn't seem right to me . Torres has been sidelined with injury yet has still scored more goals for Liverpool than Berbatov has scored for United - Torres's first goal against Sunderland was world-class. Nani had a fantastic game and had a hand in two of the goals and is starting to shine on the field - showed his commitment to United by signing a new four year deal as well .Nice to see Marcheda make a bit of a cameo as well after just coming back from injury . I would like to see Sir Alex give some of the other younger and new players like Obertan , and Diouf who I expected to see starting up front with Berbatov in the absence of Rooney . Diouf has a buzz about him and brings energy to the game - he also poses an aerial threat and manages to get himself in the box more often than Berbatov . Weekend game is gonna be a cracker though but first we must deal with Bayern ..

  • Lamps_8@Nash - 2010-03-29 09:37

    You sound Bitter....Because of the Draw maybe,I don't know.Its not that I'm a United fan,far from it,I'm a Blue through & through but there's no shame in pointing out facts.And United,as much as I dislike them,Play extremely good football.Don't you get tired of lambasting opposition supporters???I did & I realised its only fun when you've Won,Right now,Nobody has Won anything

  • Soccer fan - 2010-03-29 09:57

    Guys...Saturday will be a draw and the Gunners will be back in it

  • Big K - 2010-03-29 10:16

    @ Ryan, Bud, listen, last year Berba had the highest assists in the Premier league if im not mistaken. I hear you on the price tag and goal ratio not equating, but he is not a poacher like Torres etc, he is a team player and doesnt mind passing the ball if he knows its a definite goal!! I dont think you give the man the credit he deserves, even SAF says that Berba prefers to play jus behind the main striker becos his eye for a pass is second to none and he has proven that this season!!! He is a brilliant play maker and il be the first to admit, im not his biggest fan, but he does work hard for the team although his approach maybe lazy, he comes back and defends well and really is exactly the type of partner Rooney needs, pulls out the defence while Rooney takes on a couple and puts it away!! You and i both know that SAF doesnt like his players underperforming and will bench them and\or put them in the reserves team. HE thinks Berba is doing a splendid Job, so does VD SAR and Rio, go to the united website and see. I think Berba is on 12 League goals for the season, combined with Rooney, its close to a 50 partnership, i think they doing their jobs pretty well!!! Cut the guy some slack, when he is needed, he has performed!!

  • The Devil @ Big K - 2010-03-29 11:43

    Hey buddy, even though Berba had the highest assists last year, we need to focus on this years performance. And his assist ration this year is far off the pace.. 1. Fabregas, 2. Lampard, 3.Milner, 4. Valencia, 5. etherington, giggs, young. 8. Baines, barry,, bellamy, crouch, davies, drogba, lennon, malouda, van persie. 17. Anelka, Eduardo, Gerrard, N'zogbia, nani, ried, wright-phillips. 21. Berbatov. As for goal scorers, these are the stats so far. : 1 rooeny, 2 Drogba, 3 bent, 4 torres, 5 defoe, lampard 7 tevez 8 fabregas, 9 saha, 10 berbatov, 11 agbonlahor, malouda, 13 adebayor, arshavin, cole, jerome, kuyt, roddelaga, 19 Anelka, bellamy, carew, dunn, jones, zamora.

  • Ryan - 2010-03-29 11:51

    @Big K - I hear you mate but I feel that as a striker priority one should be scoring goals - regularly . Goal assists are all well and good but that's what we have Nani / Valencia / Park / Scholes / Fletcher / Carrick for - win the ball in midfield and /or in the wide areas and lay it on for the strikers in the box or running into the box . If Berbatov was bought as a playmaker then yeah I would agree with you but we paid Spurs top dollar because of his prolific ability in front of goal and granted , some of his hold up play is very good but what we want is someone besides Rooney to strike fear into opposition defenders. Berbatov often misses some sitters and as for Rio and VD SAR you and I know that at United it is a cardinal sin for team-mates to talk another team-mate down and if they did it would be the first and last time they ever did it , regardless of who they are they would very quickly find themselves out of favour and on the bench pondering their stupidity or worst case scenario sent to Real Madrid while we march on to our next trophy . I desperately hope I am wrong but I'm afraid the jury is still out on Berbatov ..

  • Andrei Kanchelskis - 2010-03-29 12:08

    I hope Ferguson raises the issue of swinging arms and elbows before Saturdays game, it has become a trend in the last 2 of Chlsea's games, it could have a bearing on the rest of Man United's season if not highlighted. I've seen people get sent of for similar incidents. why not the Chelsea players, maybe the presence of Putin at the Wednesday game who had an influence on the referee, naaa! gotta be the big bucks!!

  • Shaheen - 2010-03-29 12:23

    Berbatov is a class act. Not necessarily a goal poacher, but his link up play, with intricate little flicks and assists is kinda like the Dennis Bergkamp of old. What Berb does do though, is when he gets his chance to score he usually finishes. People judge him on goals scored only, and they'll say it's a strikers job to score goals, but he's not your cardboard cut-out striker. More of a link player between the midfield and the front man. So give the guy some slack, as Big K has pointed out, he has performed when called upon this season.

  • JustinD - 2010-03-29 12:24

    Great result boys.....This week is gonna be exciting with a 2-0 win against Bayern and a 3-1 win against the Blues!!! FFS I love this game!! Great effort by Chelsea, Spurs and Pool. Thanks Arsenal, that draw eliminates you from the title race Go Go Go United all the way to the finish line......

  • @SHAHEEN - 2010-03-29 13:29

    DUDE, you are smoking some POTENT stuff if you think Berbaflop is anywhere close to Bergkamp. Seriously, that stuff makes Dbn Poison look bad, but then again you also thought Chelsea was still playing City, so guess you know jack any way....

  • Kube$ - 2010-03-29 13:36

    @SHAHEEN, dude people in these forums nail me for talking twak, but you, OH MY WORD, to compare Berbaflop to Bergkamp, who was one of the greatest strikers ever, is a joke. You like the media who reacted to Bednter calling him a great striker for scoring a hatrick, you okes jump to conclusions after one game. Oh and Bergkamp dont only assist, he has scored over 100 premier league goals and scored crankers for his country, his goal against Argentina was actually goal of that world cup...

  • Man U - 2010-03-29 14:06

    Alrighty then! So the Non Man Utd supporters, apart from Lamps_8, have something talk about then! @Shaheen: Never mind buddy, i understand what you meant when you said "KINDA" like Bergkamp! Obviously the other okes don't understand "KINDA" and perceive it as "EXACTLY". So, you, me, BIG K and the rest of the Man Utd fans can sit back and laugh as these guys try and find something to rip the Red Devils off! Maybe they can analyse where the Gunners went wrong on Sat!

  • Kube$ - 2010-03-29 14:26

    We, The Gunners, are concentrating on the Champs league, actually...

  • Shaheen - 2010-03-29 14:34

    Kube$, you clearly just saw two names in the same sentence and jumped the gun. If you manage to read what I posted, I was referring to that aspect of Bergkamp's game, the neat touches and eye for through balls. Did I not say Berbatov ain't the goal poacher? Next time before you get all excited to slag someone off, try to read a post in its context please.

  • Man U - 2010-03-29 15:14

    Oh, The Gunners are concentrating on the CL! I like the comeback Kube$

  • Kube$ - 2010-03-29 17:54

    No Way has Berbaflop justified the Return On Investment of 30 million Pounds. Facts are facts, he is not world class enough to be at Man U. I recall the media stating that he is the next Cantona. Him and Bendtner need to play for the like of Pompey or Burnely or Westham... @MANU , you know it bro, we gonna meet you in the Finals, and no Christiano to Destroy us like he did last season in the semis, either way, Gunners are young and Profitable.... Whats counts, Trophies or bottom line?

  • Man U - 2010-03-30 06:49

    @Kube$: I would love to see the Gooners against Utd in the final but would even enjoy it more to meet Barca instead! We have something to settle with those okes! Gunners, we proved it already!

  • Big K - 2010-03-30 08:21

    @ The Devil & Ryan, i hear you, but i dont think the jury is still out on him!! What Shaheen says is pin point accurate. He is one of the most skilled players in the united line up in terms of a 1st touch!!! Im not going to debate this anymore, Berba has earned my respect this season and has stepped up to the task when required. @ Kubes: LOL, now after the Birm draw, url not interested in the league, you clearly love jumping on the bandwagon, i wonder what excuses you will have when url dont win $hit!!! You have definately taken the title from Soccerfan, well at least you won something this season!!!!

  • Dr Phil - 2010-03-30 08:24

    @Kube$, we already destroyed you at Emirates stadium without CR7 - so a match-up against Barca with be more sought after - but we have to get there first...

  • TRUE Red - 2010-03-30 10:20

    Big K, Torres a poacher ? LOL ! Anyway, well done on the win !

  • Big K - 2010-03-30 12:28

    @ TR, well he does a fair share of taking on defenders but he is an 18 yard man!!

  • Kube$ - 2010-03-30 16:09

    Well, at least we are a PROFITABLE club. And remem if you and Chelski draw we back in it.....Either way, pls dont let those retards beat you, I rather you win than Chelski. Drogba and Terry must suffer for being CHOPS.

  • Man U - 2010-03-31 08:45

    @Kube$: As a profitable club, they sure hate to spend! Arsenal are saving their money for what? Maybe they need to save enough to right out a cheque as i hear the EPL trophy is quite expensive!

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