Hull City 0-0 Manchester United

Manchester United ended their season with a disappointing 0-0 draw against Steve Bruce’s Hull City as Marouane Fellaini saw red.

There was nothing to play for for United, whilst Bruce’s side needed to win to stand any chance of Premier League survival.

With David de Gea not travelling with the side having picked up an injury in the draw against Arsenal, Victor Valdes came into the side for his first start in United colours.

And it was Valdes who was by far the busier goalkeeper as the home side made an energetic start, forcing the United man into an early save from N’Doye’s header.

At the other end Rooney skimmed the top of the bar with a 20 yard effort, but that was the highlight in a performance from the Red Devils that lacked any sort of cohesion or quality.

Hull had nothing to lose and we’re putting plenty of pressure on United’s back line.

The home side thought they had taken the lead after 18 minutes as McShane poked the ball into an empty net following Valdes’s spill, only to see the flag raised for offside.

If Valdes had got lucky there, he showed his class moments later as he somehow got his left hand to an Elmohamady header to turn it around the post.

United just couldn’t clear their lines and Quinn fired the ball beyond the United keeper into the back of the net, only for the flag to be raised again with two players standing in an offside position interfering with play.

Angel Di Maria limped off inside 22 minutes for van Gaal’s side to be replaced by Januzaj as United’s record signing finished his season in even more disappointment.

The Red Devils looked like they were already thinking about their holidays, hardly creating anything in the first half as Hull closed United’s midfield down quickly.

But Steve Bruce and his Hull side had their hearts in their mouths just before the break as Herrera almost got on the end of a ball into the box, which set the home fans nerves jangling.

United started the second half better, Mata finding Herrera with a reverse pass, but the Spaniard delayed his shot a fraction too long to allow Dawson to block.

It could have proved a costly miss as Hull went on the attack, but Meyler could only fire off target after good link up play by the home side.

Herrera was looking the most likely for United as he once again linked with Mata before dragging his shot just wide of Harper’s far post.

Valdes came for a punch and missed, Blind clearing off the line as Hull once again rued their luck in front of goal with their Premier League survival hanging by a thread.

Brady produced another dangerous ball in only to see McShane fail to make any contact, whilst N’Doye’s looping effort fell just wide of the far post.

Jelavic tested Valdes’s reflexes again as the United keeper made another excellent stop with 17 minutes remaining, but Hull were lucky the referee failed to see Abel Hernandez punch Phil Jones in the stomach inside the area, which would surely have seen the Hull man shown red.

The red card was produced moments later as Fellaini left his foot in on McShane, the United substitute rightly given his marching orders for a terrible challenge.

Hull should have taken the lead moments after the long stoppage for treatment on McShane as Elmohamady sent in a dangerous cross which Valdes could only parry out to Hernandez, who failed to connect properly with the chance.

Rooney saw a late free kick tipped over the bar in a rare foray forward for United as they limped to the end of the season.

Whilst Hull faced the reality of relegation to the Championship, Louis van Gaal will have the summer to reflect on meeting United’s minimum requirement of a top four finish and a return to European football, but will be well aware that there is still plenty of work to be done if he wants to bring silverware back to Old Trafford next season.

Written by Andrew

Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal

Manchester United’s final home game of the season ended in a draw as Tyler Blackett’s own goal cancelled out an Ander Herrera strike.

United went into the game knowing that a win would keep their hopes of a top three finish and an automatic place in the Champions League next season alive and they looked the most likely early on as they dominated possession.

Ashley Young cut inside from the left but fired over with two men well placed at the far post before Falcao saw his effort blocked after a clever ball from Mata.

Fellaini was causing the Arsenal midfield plenty of problems, looking to pull onto the shoulder of the more diminutive figures in the Arsenal line up, but Arsenal were quick to break and United needed their central defensive pairing to be alert.

Mata fired a free kick which forced Ospina into a save, with United looking by far the most likely to break the deadlock, although a mistake by Jones almost gifted Arsenal the lead, but for the outstretched foot of David de Gea.

United had been looking to isolate Arsenal at the far post from the start and it paid off with 30 minutes on the clock as Herrera lost his marker and met Young’s cross with a fine half volley which beat Ospina to give United the lead.

Young was causing Arsenal plenty of problems, but fired a cross behind the onrushing Mata as he cut in from the left.

United were far more alert in possession, Mata breaking through the Arsenal defence and almost finding Falcao at the far post as he dug out a cross.

Blind saw his goal-bound effort blocked by Smalling as the half ended with United in total control.

United started the second half in the same fashion as they had the first, dominating possession and finding space in Arsenal’s defensive shape.

The Gunners finally had an effort on goal, but Sanchez blazed well off target after 51 minutes.

United continued to probe around the Arsenal box with Mata and Valencia causing problems down the right, Rojo firing low at Ospina from the edge of the area.

Falcao was replaced by van Persie, the Colombian waving goodbye to the Old Trafford faithful as they sang their appreciation, but it was another player who’s future is unclear that made the difference moments later as Arsenal almost found the equaliser they had been pushing for.

Giroud was able to roll Rojo in the area and prod goalwards, but David de Gea was once again in the right place at the right time for United and made the save.

Arsenal were enjoying their best spell of the game, Rojo forced to stretch to clear a dangerous cross before Cazorla failed to find the finish Herrera had as he found himself in a similar shooting position.

United were being pushed back, Ramsey the next to come close for Arsenal as he latched on to a ball into the box and lifted it over the United keeper, only to see Rojo clear before the Arsenal man could find the finishing touch.

De Gea was forced off after falling awkwardly punching the ball clear with 17 minutes to go, Victor Valdes making his long awaited debut for United.

The new man hadn’t been called upon to make a save, but could do nothing as Walcott’s cross deflected off Blackett and past the United keeper to bring Arsenal level.

The Gunners saw a chance to win at Old Trafford in the league for the first time in a decade, Giroud firing into the side netting when he should have done better.

Van Persie latched onto a Fellaini knock down, but couldn’t keep his shot down as United tried to restore their advantage, but United couldn’t find a way through and Arsenal will be the happier side with United unlikely now to finish ahead of their rivals and secure a place in the top three.

Louis van Gaal has one more game to go this season before he starts to plot a way to make United kings of England and Europe once again.

Written by Andrew

Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester United

Manchester United rode their luck as they bounced back to winning ways with a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.

Goals from Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini sandwiched a Jason Puncheon free kick as Palace threatened to inflict more problems on Louis van Gaal’s men.

Both sides were coming off the back of three successive defeats without a goal, but it was United who were quickest out of the blocks, Blind finding space before striking a low effort from 20 yards which Speroni scrambled behind for a corner.

Palace were happy to sit deep and invite United on to them knowing that their main weapons were the speed of Zaha and Bolasie on the counter attack and  their height from set pieces.

Bolasie almost embarrassed Ashley Young by robbing him on the edge of the box before slipping whilst hitting his shot, but Young was the man at the centre of the action moments later as he tricked his way into the danger zone and saw his cross handled by Scott Dann to give United a penalty.

United’s recent penalty taking has not made for pleasant reading, but Juan Mata stepped up to shoot into the corner despite Speroni’s attempt to keep it out.

The goal meant that Palace had to change tactics, no longer able to sit against United’s possession play, with the Red Devils bossing the game.

Jedinak headed just wide for a corner as Palace tried to find a quick equaliser before a cleverly worked free kick almost got Murray in with a sight on goal.

United’s injury curse struck again as Luke Shaw was stretchered off with a head injury, the full back taking an accidental arm in the face from McArthur.

Rooney was also struggling with a leg knock which hindered his jump as he failed to connect with an inviting Herrera cross having got between the Palace centre backs.

The Red Devils were being careless at times in possession and almost got themselves in trouble again when Palace stole the ball on the edge of the area for a second time.

Murray nearly took advantage of an Evans slip inside the box, but his effort on the turn was blocked as United lived dangerously just before half time.

Rooney was replaced at the break by Falcao as he succumbed to his leg injury, whilst Palace also made a change by bringing on the more attacking Puncheon for Ledley.

The change by Pardew gave Palace more threat going forward and Bolasie’s ball into the near post was turned into the side netting by Murray.

Puncheon was making an impact on the game and saw a shot well blocked by Herrera before going down in the area under the challenge of Juan Mata.

Palace were incensed the referee didn’t point to the spot, but Puncheon went down too theatrically and the referee waved it away.

United were under serious pressure and it eventually told as Smalling giving away a free kick on the edge of the box which Puncheon curled beyond de Gea  via a deflection off Blind.

Having found an equaliser, Palace went for the jugular as they gave United a torrid time, McArthur robbing Smalling inside his own half before prodding his effort wide of goal.

United were making far too many mistakes with the home side looking the only side who could go on to win the match.

Murray should have given them the lead as he latched onto a ball with just de Gea to beat, but the United keeper somehow thrust out a hand to make a magnificent save.

De Gea had to be alert again, Zaha ghosting away from his marker to volley straight at the keeper at the far post, before United finally threatened at the other end.

Ashley Young cut inside Ward on the left, only to see his effort deflected wide as the winger caused the Palace full back some serious nightmares.

Mata couldn’t keep his effort down from another brilliant run from Young, Ward having no answer to the movement of the United man.

But having been warned twice in quick succession by Young, Palace failed to deal with him again as he found room to cross to the far post for Fellaini to head into the net with Speroni hopelessly out of position.

Palace responded, Murray getting the better of substitute McNair to fire a volley low towards goal, but de Gea was a wall in between the sticks, this time saving well with his legs.

United almost put the game to bed late on as Falcao clipped a ball forward, Speroni turning Herrera’s volley away at the expense of a corner.

The final whistle sounded much to the relief of Louis van Gaal and his side, who now have two games remaining to secure a return to European football’s top table next season.

Written by Andrew

Manchester United 0-1 West Bromwich Albion

Manchester United fell to a third successive defeat as Tony Pulis’s West Bromwich Albion staged a smash and grab at Old Trafford.

The Baggies won by a goal to nil as they secured their Premier League survival at the expense of United’s ambitions with a deflected strike mid-way through the second half.

It was a frustrating night for United, who are still two wins away from securing European football for next season.

Returning United old boy Darren Fletcher shot high and wide early after West Brom had won an early free kick, United taking their time to warm into a game after back to back defeats to Chelsea and Everton.

Old Trafford came together as one after five minutes in a mark of respect for the tragic loss of Rio Ferdinand’s wife, who sadly lost her life to cancer.

United were seeing plenty of possession, but West Brom’s objective was easy to see as they defended rigidly, getting men behind the ball and frustrating United as they tried to find a way through the barricades.

Ashley Young cut inside, but his shot was deflected wide as United showed patience in their build up, but Lescott should have done better with a free header from a corner as West Brom looked to take advantage from their height and strength at set pieces.

Robin van Persie scuffed an effort on the turn which Myhill could only shovel out to Young, but the winger delayed and saw his rebound blocked as United put pressure on the visitors, whilst van Persie shot straight at Myhill from the resulting corner.

Mulumbu found himself unmarked in the United box, but failed to make the chance count as West Brom threatened again, but United really should have taken the lead with 19 minutes played.

Young drilled a low cross in from the left and van Persie, starting his first game since February, struck his low effort just wide of Myhill’s near post.

It was becoming a war of attrition as United looked to prise a way through the West Brom backline, van Persie seeing another shot blocked on the edge of the area as the Dutchman looked sharp on his return to first team action.

United were trying every way they could to unpick the lock in the West Brom defence, but they couldn’t quite find the right key despite Young and Herrera being heavily involved in proceedings.

West Brom themselves, though, we’re looking dangerous at set pieces, Lescott running round to head over the bar at the back post from a back post corner.

Valencia’s fierce cross shot was spilled just before the break by Myhill, but United went into the break frustrated by Tony Pulis and his West Brom side.

West Brom showed a little more ambition at the start of the second half, but United still looked the most likely, captain Wayne Rooney striking at Myhill from distance.

United were camped inside the West Brom half, but were faced with a wall of white shirts.

Gardner struck off target as Pulis’s charges finally got out of their own half, but it was a fleeting sortie as they were once again pushed back by United.

Myhill seemed to see a daisy cutter from van Persie late, but got his body behind it, before Fellaini went down under pressure in the area after a smart turn.

United were knocking on the door, Blind and Young combining well although nobody could get the finishing touch to the Dutchman’s cross.

Herrera shot wide from the edge of the box, but West Brom were still a threat on the break and when McNair fouled former Red Devil Fletcher on the edge of the area Brunt stepped up to lash a free kick into the corner via a massive deflection from Olsson.

It was s cruel twist of fate for United, but it buoyed West Brom, United now forced to chase the game.

United’s appeal for a penalty was denied after the ball struck Lescott on the arm, although it would have been a harsh decision.

The next decision was easier for referee Taylor as Berehino handled, only for Robin van Persie to see his spot kick saved by Myhill.

Van Persie and Myhill were having their own personal duel and the keeper was coming out on top as he denied the United striker again from a free kick before McNair headed wide from a corner when he should have hit the target.

Myhill denied van Persie brilliantly again late in the game before denying Di Maria in injury time as his side held on to record their second successive win at Old Trafford.

It was one of those days for United who still have a four point gap over fifth-placed Liverpool, but with difficult games to come van Gaal needs to get his troops firing again to make sure they don’t get pulled at the post in the Champions League stakes.

Written by Andrew

Everton 3-0 Manchester United

Manchester United slumped to their second successive away day defeat as their recent Goodison Park curse continued.

James McCarthy, John Stones and Kevin Mirallas gave Everton the points as the home side ran out easy winners.

United started brightly, looking to continue their recent run of good form, but it was Everton who struck first as they got the better of United on the counter attack.

Lukaku was stronger than Valencia to spark a counter attack and McCarthy rode his luck before slotting beyond de Gea to give the home side the lead inside five minutes.

United should have levelled almost immediately as Fellaini outmuscled Barry and ran through on goal, only to balloon his effort over the bar with Howard already committed.

The Red Devils were finding space in good positions in what was an open start to the game whilst Everton continued to cause problems as they broke at speed.

Fellaini’s day wasn’t getting any better as he picked up a silly yellow card for two quick fouls, Osman failing to get any power on his effort on the turn after Lulaku’s initial free kick had thudded into the wall.

United were looking dangerous down the left again, Fellaini and Rooney combining well to help set up Blind, who shot straight at Howard from the edge of the area.

Everton were trying to get at Fellaini, closing him down quickly in the hope he might make a rash challenge and earn a second yellow.

The big Belgian was scythed to the floor with 19 minutes gone to give United a dangerous free kick, Smalling heading straight at Howard from Mata’s inviting delivery.

United were starting to get on top, but Everton reminded van Gaal’s side they could cause problems as Lukaku stung the palms of de Gea with an effort from 20 yards.

Smalling had to be alert to deny Lukaku a chance after another good break by the home side as Everton went in search of a second and it duly arrived with 10 minutes to go to the break as Stones rose to head home from a corner.

It could have got worse just before the break as Lennon capitalised on hesitation in the United back line to find Barkley, but the youngster shot well over when well placed.

Fellaini’s miserable return to Goodison was complete as he was replaced at the break by Falcao.

United needed an early goal to get themselves back into the game and it almost paid dividends as Smalling won a header at a corner only to see Rooney’s effort on the turn smothered by Howard.

Everton still looked dangerous on the break, Lukaku driving a ball across the United area as he again caused the Red Devils’s back four plenty of problems.

United were failing to hit the heights of the past few weeks, failing to get behind their opponents despite having the majority of possession.

The speed of play was not helping the visitors, their build up play too slow to hurt Everton.

Van Gaal turned to Di Maria to provide the injection his side was missing, the Argentine replacing Juan Mata.

But it was Everton who were looking most likely to add to the scoreline as they continued to cause United problems on the break.

Di Maria sent a searching cross forward for Falcao, but his header only looped into the hands of Howard as United continued to be frustrated.

Everton made the most of United’s profligacy in front of goal as they made certain of the three points with yet another counter attack.

Lukaku was offside as the ball was played forward, but as the United backline stopped Mirallas continued on to collect the ball and slot past de Gea.

Herrera’s effort was deflected wide for a corner whilst Falcao’s effort was ruled out for offside after Blind’s block found its way to him.

United’s day couldn’t get much worse, but Rooney picked up an injury after clashing for the ball with teammate Paddy McNair.

De Gea produced a brilliant save to deny Mirallas making it four in the closing minutes after a mazy run by the Everton forward, but in the end United were well beaten.

Van Gaal’s men have four games to go and, whilst they hold the whip hand in terms of Champions League qualification, the defeat will have given the chasing pack hope that the race for the top four is not yet over.   

Written by Andrew

Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United

Chelsea beat Manchester United by a solitary Eden Hazard strike to put one hand firmly on the Premier League trophy.

Hazard struck seven minutes before the break to end United’s recent run of good form, although the Red Devils deserved at least a point for their efforts.

United should have taken the lead inside four minutes as Luke Shaw was set away down the left and he intelligently cut the ball back to the edge of the box for the on rushing Wayne Rooney.

Everyone in the ground was expecting the net to bulge as the United skipper took aim, but his controlled effort was just off target.

Shaw was proving an early menace down the left, finding space in the Chelsea defence but it was Chelsea who almost came up trumps as Hazard’s slipped ball found Fabregas in the United area, only for De Gea to be alert to concede a corner.

Despite the enforced changes to the United side they were looking confident in the early minutes, with both centre backs prepared to drive forward with the ball whilst the midfield kept possession well.

Once again, Herrera was prominent for United, but the Spaniard shot well wide when finding space outside the box with 11 minutes on the clock.

Paddy McNair went closer, the youngster striding forward once again to strike just wide after a slight deflection from Terry.

United were looking like the home side, far more comfortable on the ball than Chelsea and looking far more confident than Mourinho’s men.

The Red Devils continued to dominate, putting plenty of pressure on the Chelsea backline, but without testing Courtois.

At the other end de Gea had been largely anonymous, but Fellaini needed to be alive to stop a rare Chelsea attack turning into something more serious.

De Gea was commanding his area, punching well under pressure from Terry at a Chelsea corner before claiming acrobatically from a cross as Mourinho’s side began to become more involved in the game.

The United keeper was then involved in the most contentious decision of the first half as he handled right on the edge of the area as Chelsea broke.

Mourinho’s side were starting to assert themselves as United’s passing became more ragged and they finally took the lead with seven minutes remaining to the break.

Falcao was beaten for strength on the half way line and Hazard fed off a neat back heel from Oscar before sliding the ball underneath de Gea from close range.

Tempers were starting to simmer, Falcao and Terry squaring up after another physical battle between the pair.

United may have been stung by the goal, but they almost conjured up an equaliser just before the break as Rooney’s clever ball almost reached Falcao via Young’s flick on, but for the outstretched hand of Courtois.

Chelsea were content to sit back and catch United on the counter attack and should have doubled their advantage as Herrera’s mis-hit pass was intercepted in midfield and Drogba was set away.

His effort was deflected over de Gea, but Hazard could only clip an effort against the woodwork from a couple of yards out much to the relief of the men in red.

United needed something and it almost came when McNair struck a fine low effort from distance which tested Courtois.

Shaw was proving to be United’s best attacking outlet in the second half, causing Ivanovic plenty of problems.

It was his run and cross which found Mata, although he was unable to turn the ball into the net.

Another Shaw cross found Fellaini, who brought the ball down well for Rooney, but his effort was well blocked by Oscar.

Falcao struck a shot from distance wide as United began to creep back into the game, whilst Courtois almost made a meal of a routine effort from Rooney.

Van Gaal rang the changes, replacing Mata and Young with Januzaj and Di Maria with 20 minutes to go, but it was Falcao who almost immediately levelled as he found a yard of space to meet a Fellaini cross, only to be denied by the outstretched leg of Cahill.

Chelsea were soaking up the pressure, but were still dangerous on the break, Hazard failing to connect well enough to his effort after good work by Azpilicueta down the Chelsea left.

Falcao wriggled clear of Zouma with 15 minutes to go only to see his rasping effort come off the angle of post and bar.

Rooney headed off target from Di Maria’s corner as United kept probing for a way through, but the goal just wouldn’t come.

There will be plenty of positives for Louis van Gaal to take from his side’s performance, but it is Jose Mourinho and his players who will be celebrating tonight.

Written by Andrew

Manchester United 4-2 Manchester City

Manchester turned red again as United demolished City 4-2 in a compelling derby.
Goals from Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and Chris Smalling were sandwiched between two Aguero strikes for City as United took a grip on third place in the Premier League.
City were the quickest out of the blocks and had the best chance early on as Navas broke the offside trap down the right and bore down on goal, only to see his effort blocked by the legs of David de Gea.
Michael Carrick then had to be alert to deny Yaya Toure what looked an easy chance with a desperate block.
City had all the pressure and took what was a deserved lead as Silva got behind the United defence again, the Spaniard crossing for Aguero to tap home from a couple of yards out to give the blue half of Manchester the advantage.
United were struggling to get into the game, but suddenly they were back in it as Young capitalised on Clichy’s failure to clear Herrera’s dangerous early cross as he swivelled to turn in from close range.
Both defences were looking far from comfortable, but it was United’s coming under the heaviest pressure as City dominated possession.
United weathered the storm and a brilliant ball from Mata to switch the play exposed City’s own defence.
Young and Blind combined before Young crossed perfectly to the far post where Fellaini was on hand to head low past Hart and give United the lead.
It wasn’t an easy ride for United, De Gea having to be alert to save United’s blushes as Toure’s pass split the red defence with Aguero looking favourite to get to the ball.
The combination of Blind, Fellaini and Young were causing City all sorts of problems down the left as the home side continued to get stronger.
The blues were becoming more and more frustrated as the half wore on, Milner blazing high and wide from the edge of the area as their early impetus continued to wane.
That frustration threatened to boil over with Kompany fortunate to escape a sending off late in the half as he caught Blind with studs up, referee Clattenburg showing leniency after a discussion with his assistant.
Pellegrini made a change at half time, bringing his captain off and replacing him with Mangala.
But it was United who almost increased their lead as Mata was fouled on the edge of the box and Rooney’s free kick was well saved by Hart.
The ball bounced out to Carrick, who’s effort was straight at Hart, the ball pinging around the City area before they finally cleared their lines.
United’s energy was in complete contrast to City’s seeming lethargy, and the Red Devils took advantage as they made it 3-1 mid-way through the half.
Once again it came from the left as some incisive passing took City’s defence out of the game, Rooney releasing Mata through on Hart and the Spaniard kept his head to shoot under the stricken keeper and into the net.
It was becoming a demolition as United continued to control the game, Carrick and Herrera laying the platform with another great display in midfield.
Carrick was the chief orchestrator, dictating play from deep with those around him willing runners and Rooney leading the line with determination ahead of them.
Smalling increased the red joy around Old Trafford even further as he was given the freedom of the Theatre of Dreams to nod Young’s free kick past Hart to make it 4-1 with 17 minutes left on the clock.
But there was concern for United as Carrick limped off with an injury late in the game to leave United a man short, van Gaal having used all three substitutes.
Shortly after Aguero capitalised on City’s numerical advantage as he latched on to Zabaleta’s cross to turn in despite de Gea’s attempt to keep it out.
Di Maria stretched Hart in injury time before the final whistle sounded to send the Old Trafford into ecstasy.
After the recent pain of derby day defeats there will be plenty of cheer as United fans can once again paint the city red.

Written by Andrew

Manchester United 3-1 Aston Villa

Manchester United’s assault on the top four remained on course as two goals from Ander Herrera and a special strike from Wayne Rooney gave them three priceless points against struggling Aston Villa.

United went into the game knowing rivals Liverpool had been thumped by Arsenal, the incentive of an eight point gap to their rivals the reward should they win.

Louis van Gaal’s side almost had the perfect start, Rooney clearly fouled in the area by Clark, but instead of pointing the spot and showing the Villa man a red card referee Roger East waved the protests away.

Villa were prepared to sit back and catch United on the counter attack, Rojo’s shot which Guzan tipped over the bar the closest United came as the away side frustrated the Red Devils.

But that was to change two minutes before the break as United broke down the left, Blind cut the ball back to Herrera in the inside left channel and the Spaniard took one touch before firing a clinical low finish beyond Guzan. 

It was no more than United deserved, but they huffed and puffed for much of the second half, Villa having the best chance to score as Benteke fired over after good work by Weimann.

United were not as fluent as they had been, but looked to have secured the points with 11 minutes remaining as substitute Angel Di Maria set up captain Rooney for another one of his wonder strikes.

The ball was fired in just behind Rooney, but the United captain pulled the ball down before swivelling and hitting a majestic finish into the top corner on the half volley.

United sensed the points were in the bag, but just 90 seconds later they let Villa back into the game.

The away side won a corner which Benteke caught about 12 yards out, the ball squirming under David de Gea, who will feel he should have done much better.

United had to live with some uncomfortable moments, but deep in injury time Rooney’s determination to win the ball paid dividends as he and Mata combined before teeing up Herrera on the edge of the area, the Spaniard cooly passing the ball into the net past Guzan.

United’s win keeps them odds-on for a Champions League berth at the expense of fierce rivals Liverpool, with their attention now turning towards next week’s Manchester derby.

Written by Andrew

Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United

The bragging rights went to Manchester United in the battle of the North West giants as they downed Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield.
It was a game full of drama as Gerrard saw red, Rooney saw a last minute penalty saved and Juan Mata provide a goal to grace any game in an incident-packed match.
United, unchanged from the performance against Tottenham, made a bright start, using the physicality of Fellaini to good use.
But Liverpool showed their intent inside four minutes as Sterling cut inside Jones only to see de Gea snuff the chance out in the nick of time.
United were frustrating not just the Liverpool players, but the crowd as they showed calmness and assuredness on the ball, keeping possession for large swathes.
Having made the better start United needed to find something to show for it and it duly came as Juan Mata gave them a lead they richly deserved.
Ander Herrera picked the ball up in midfield and threaded a ball through to Mata which pierced the Liverpool defence.
There was still a lot of work to do for Mata, but although on his weaker side the Spaniard shot low across Mignolet and into the far corner.
Sturridge sliced an ambitious volley wide as the home side looked to respond, but it was United who continued to control the game.
Louis van Gaal’s side were forcing Liverpool back and causing the home side to panic on the ball.
Liverpool’s attacking threat had largely been nullified for the first 30 minutes but a smart break with ten minutes to the break almost brought the home side level.
Henderson found Sturridge inside the United area and his touch found Lallana who fired just wide of de Gea’s post.
United were suddenly under the cosh, the Lallana chance giving the home side added impetus.
Van Gaal’s troops now started to look a little bit nervy as Liverpool began to enjoy their best spell in the game.
Michael Carrick tested Mignolet from distance as United steadied the ship just before the break, van Gaal’s side going in at half time with a deserved lead.
Rodgers needed his team to find something in the second half and made a change at half time, bringing on Gerrard for Lallana.
But within a minute of his appearance the Liverpool captain was walking back up the tunnel as he was shown a red card for a vicious stamp on Herrera.
The red card seemed to focus Liverpool more than United as Coutinho shot just over de Gea’s bar.
United were sloppy at times, a lot of their problems of their own making as they continually gave the ball away.
Gone was the quality of the first half, Liverpool causing the more problems.
It needed something special to help United regain the initiative and Juan Mata once again was the man who produced it just before the hour.
Mata started the move with a ball inside to substitute Di Maria, but his finish from the Argentine’s return pass was out of this world as he acrobatically scissor-kicked past Mignolet into the far corner.
United could have added to their lead shortly after as Di Maria broke, but his cross was behind an unmarked Rooney, who had the goal gaping.
Rooney almost embarrassed Mignolet as the Liverpool keeper took a risk inside his own box, but suddenly the home side were back in the game.
Sturridge reacted to a loose ball in the United area with just over 20 minutes to go to beat de Gea at his near post via a slight deflection off Jones.
Liverpool were dominating despite being outnumbered as United’s sloppiness in possession allowed the home side a lifeline.
Balotelli and Smalling clashed with the Liverpool man a little fortunate not to see yellow for a second time as he reacted to Smalling’s initial challenge.
The game was getting increasingly feisty as Liverpool continued to push for an unlikely result.
Mignolet and Can almost got themselves into bother with Di Maria hounding them, but Sterling forced de Gea to turn behind at his near post.
United tried to run the clock down and deep into injury time a nice one-two between Di Maria and Blind saw the Dutchman hauled down by Can inside the area.
Rooney stepped up, only to see Mignolet save his spot kick.
There was still time for more drama as Skrtel stamped on de Gea right at the end, the referee failing to see it as tempers flared right up until the final whistle.
United held on to complete the double on their rivals and extend the gap on their rivals to five points in the race for the Champions League. 

Written by Andrew