Sunday, October 18, 2009

Priceless old guard and 'beach ball goal' make it good day for champions...

United bounced back to the summit of the Premier League following Saturday's 2-1 win over Bolton, it was by no means a classic performance, but the champions just about did enough to seal the points thanks to a deflected first-half header by Michael Owen. Atonio Valencia finally got his name on the score-sheet to make it two-nil before the break. The Ecuadorian drilled home his first goal for the club after good work by Gary Neville.

The build-up to Valencia's goal was just as impressive as the finish; it wasn't that long ago that Gary Neville being written off, but against Bolton we saw glimpses of the 'old' Neville who was at times back to his best.

While the contribution of Neville and Valencia for United's second goal was impressive, the men tasked with raiding down the opposite flank proved to be an even bigger thorn in Bolton's side. Time and time again Giggs and Evra linked up to great effect which led to the champions creating a number of good goal scoring opportunities.

Time defying Ryan Giggs has been restored to the left-flank and he's been a revelation, so much so that Nani isn't getting a look-in at present - given the age difference, it's a huge compliment to the Welshman who looks to be getting even better.

Following the high-profile departures of Ronaldo and Tevez and the manager's modest summer signings, there has been a temptation to write-off United with Fergie seemingly over-reliant on Giggs, Scholes and to a lesser extent Neville. It's far too early to be talking about United retaining the title, but so far so good.

United wouldn't have been top of the League if it were not for the fact that Chelsea slipped up when losing 2-1 at Villa. On a day of much hilarity where our main rivals are concerned, the manner Villa's two headed goals were of the sort you'd expect to see at schoolboy level - Chelsea's marking was non-existent.

Villa's win over Chelsea earlier on in the day meant that if United could win they'd go back to the top of the table. The Champions were made to work hard for three points against a hard working Bolton side who created a number of chances themselves. Kevin Davies once again proved to be a handful and with Nemanja Vidic out injured it was Jonny Evans who was given the rarely easy job of marking the Bolton striker. Davies and Taylor missed a couple of good goal scoring opportunities. United's luck finally ran out when they conceded a goal in the 75th minute as Taylor made sure it was a nervy finish for the champions.

In the end United were relieved to hear the final whistle and to cap off an almost perfect day, news that Liverpool had lost to Sunderland thanks to a deflected "beach ball goal" made it really happy Saturday night.

The evening entertainment continued on BBC Radio 5 Live, the 606 phone-in show is hosted by massive Liverpool fan Alan Green; his first caller was predictably Liverpool supporter, who was extremely unhappy about the 'beach ball goal', which not surprisingly proved to be the main talking point of the evening. No doubting United fans will have been roaring with laughter throughout the night, especially after finally seeing TV replays of what is undoubtedly one of the funniest moments in the history of the Premier League.

Next up United travel to Moscow to face CSKA on Tuesday and then it's Anfield on Sunday. Following the hilarity at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, what price on Michael Owen scoring the winner against his old club in front of the Kop? :0)

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