Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hapless Blackburn no match for classy United and Berbatov...

It has been a very good week for Manchester United: in midweek the club secured their place in the knockout phase of the Champions League thanks to a 1-0 win away at Rangers; Following his off the field troubles, Wayne Rooney started and scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot. United completely dominated Rangers and thoroughly deserved to win and providing Valencia don't come out on top in the final game when they visit Old Trafford in December, the Red Devils should finish top of Group C.

On Saturday, an injury ravaged Blackburn Rovers visited Old Trafford. Sam Allardyce and his team were on the wrong end of a sound beating - from pretty much the first kick, the result was never really in doubt and United went on to win 7-1.

The margin of victory could have been even wider if Nani, Vidic and Obertan had taken their chances, but to complain would be churlish given the lavish entertainment and there was no doubting who was the star of the show: Dimitar Berbatov scored five and was unlucky not to have broken a Premier League record for the most goals in one game; instead the Bulgarian had to settle for matching the likes of Andy Cole, Alan Shearer and Jermain Defoe.

The scoreline as well as Berbatov's scoring feat have grabbed the headlines and understandably so, and while there was no doubt about the gulf in class between the two teams, let us not forget that this was a weakened Blackburn Rovers team.

Nonetheless, United played some good football and no wonder Ferguson was delighted with Berbatov's return to form, but more than that, the manager had good reason to be well pleased with the team's overall performance. Anderson had arguably his best game to date for the club, the Brazilian has blown hot and cold ever since he arrived in England and it's fair to state he hasn't lived up to his star billing and expectations given his hefty price tag, but against Blackburn the former Porto midfield star gave a ninety minute performance, one that was full of energy and running.

Despite not scoring, Wayne Rooney looked to be in very good nick, his link-up play with Berbatov was as good as we've seen since the Bulgarian arrived at the club. Rooney has lost half a stone, as a result he looks lean and judging by his last two performances it surely won't be long before we see him back near his very best.

Against Blackburn, just about everyone played well for United and with Chelsea only drawing away at Newcastle on Sunday and with Man City dropping points along with Liverpool who lost to a last minute goal against Spurs, it really has been an excellent weekend. To cap it all, United have been drawn at home with Liverpool in the third round of the FA Cup.

With key games against Chelsea and Arsenal looming, it is vital that the Red Devils find their best form. Intriguingly, there's talk of dressing room unrest at Stamford Bridge amidst talk that Roman Ambramovich isn't 100% happy with manager Carlo Ancelotti, so the clash with Chelsea cannot come soon enough.

If United can come out on top against Chelsea and Arsenal then December could prove to be a very important month. Next up, United face West Ham in the quarter final of the Carling Cup on Tuesday at Old Trafford, that game is followed by a tricky looking trip to Blackpool next weekend. Blackpool have been the surprise team of the season; the Seasiders have so far only lost once at home this season to Man City, so United can expect a very tough game next weekend.

The Premier League title looks like it's there for the taking and with at least four clubs in with a shout we could be in for one of the most exciting title battles for many a long season.

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