Sunday, November 02, 2008

Fergie tames Tigers' then vows to gun down Calderon over Ronaldo..

It's a testament to Phil Brown's achievements at Hull City this season that after taking a 4-1 lead the Champions were left hanging on at the end of a pulsating, if error ridden game, that finished 4-3.

It's not often that the United home crowd see visiting teams come to Old Trafford and throw men forward in pursuit of three points, but that is precisely how the Tigers approached Saturday's encounter with the Red Devils.

Ronaldo opened the scoring after just three minutes when he linked-up with Berbatov, the goal came about after the Portuguese winger knocked the ball back to the Bulgarian on the edge of the Tigers penalty area who then played it back to Ronaldo who made no mistake with a smart finish at the near-post.

Hull fought back and equalised on 23 minutes after Vidic gave away a cheap free-kick on United's left flank for shirt-pulling, Daniel Cousin, scored with a good header from a well worked set-piece.

Six minutes later, returning from injury Michael Carrick restored the Champions advantage, following a sweeping move that was started by a somewhat out-of-sorts Wayne Rooney and then Dimitar Berbatov, who is really starting to pull the strings for United. Carrick was rather fortunate to see his low-driven arrow-like shot go through legs of Paul McShane on its way into the corner of the rigging.

United extended their lead before the break and once more it was Dimitar Berbatov was at the heart of another attacking move, which ended with Rooney being felled inside the Hull penalty area before the ball ran out of play. From the resulting corner Ronaldo crashed home a powerful header, but once again there was an element of good fortune involved as MsShane had the last touch before the ball flew into the net.

Vidic made it 4-1 on 57 minutes, but the scoring was far from over as Hull's second-half substitute, Mendy, laid to claim to the tag of man-of-the-match, after scoring with a well judged lob after out-muscling Patrice Evra and then winning a penalty after a collision with Ferdinand. Geovanni made no mistake with his spot-kick and in so doing ensured it was a nervy ending for the Champions who were mighty relieved to hear the final-whistle.

As far as entertainment goes, this was a good advert for the Premier League; however, both managers will be unhappy about the manner of some of the defending, especially on set-pieces.

Ferguson will also be slightly concerned about Wayne Rooney, who had a very frustrating afternoon, on several occasions he was left cursing team-mates who elected to shoot rather than square the ball to him. Rooney's frustrations got the better of him, as happens when the dreaded red-mist descends, he could be have been sent-off late-on when dived-in with both feet off the ground following a bounce-up.

From a tactical perspective while Berbatov is bedding-in nicely, concerns persist about the future of Carlos Tevez who made little impact after replacing, Nani, who once again didn't really do enough to warrant a starting place.

Following the introduction of the Argentine, Rooney, was somewhat bizarrely dispatched onto the right-wing which no doubt only added to his woes.

Clearly, Fergie has yet to work out how to get the very best out of his array of attacking options; the hope is that the United manager can keep all of his strikers happy and at the same time find a way of accommodating them all in the same team. With the very real danger of sounding like stuck record, this goal can be achieved if Fergie plays Rooney in an advanced central midfield attacking role and then gives Tevez the wide-left attacking berth.

Berbatov; showed some fancy-footwork at times, but importantly he used the ball to great effect and almost always played the right ball.

Anderson; worked tirelessly and used the ball well.

Meanwhile, in other news, the war of words between Manchester United and Real Madrid is not over following the Spanish club's failed pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo. Earlier in the week Fergie baited Ramon Calderon and his club over their links to the dictator and former backer General Franco, in response the Real Madrid president labelled Fergie as "senile".

Fergie says that he is perfectly happy that United still have Ronaldo and he's more than ready to do battle with Real Madrid in January, should they start their tiresome media games in a bid to prize away Ronaldo. The United manager even went as far as hinting that Ramon Calderon & Co could be heading for Boot-Hill following another duel in the next transfer window.

"There was no question of Ronaldo leaving anyway, absolutely no question."

Ferguson added: "Yes, it's possible that these are the first shots of another attempt to get him. They do it all the time. We're ready.

"We have enough ammunition ready. I'm only using one gun at the moment. I'll get the Gatling gun out in January!" continued Fergie.

How sweet would it be to meet and eliminate Real Madrid from the Champions League this season?...

See all the goals for free from the United vs Hull City game

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