Saturday, October 31, 2009
Manchester United 2-0 Blackburn Rovers
Manchester United moved back up to second place in the Premier League with a 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford.
Dimitar Berbatov scored a sublime goal 10 minutes into the second half before Wayne Rooney struck late on to secure United a win that gives them 25 points, two behind leaders Chelsea and three ahead of Arsenal.
Berbatov's last goal in a United shirt was an excellent bicycle kick in the 2-2 draw with Sunderland, and he followed that acrobatic effort with one that arguably surpasses that strike.
Patrice Evra played the Bulgarian in with his back to goal, and with one touch teed up the ball before swivelling and firing a volley on the turn past Paul Robinson.
Despite having a relatively quiet game, Rooney doubled United's lead in the closing moments when he steered Anderson's near-post cross into the far corner for his eighth of the season.
Results elsewhere on Saturday mean Rovers stay in 17th, one place above the relegation zone, as their terrible away form continues. They have now lost all four of their away league matches this season, shipping 18 goals along the way.
United began the evening with Jonny Evans and Wes Brown at the heart of their defence, as Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were both injured. However, their defence was not unduly tested as Rovers set out to frustrate United and silence the crowd, which they did to good effect for much of the opening period.
Following a rather low key opening half-hour, United finally gave the subdued Old Trafford crowd something to shout about when Berbatov had two chances within a minute.
First the striker received the ball with his back to goal on the penalty spot, but his shot on the turn was blocked by a well-timed tackle from the impressive Gael Givet. Moments later, the club record signing forced Paul Robinson to tip over the bar with a strong header.
Berbatov did have the ball in the back of the net five minutes before half time, only to see it disallowed. The Bulgarian stole in to tap home Wayne Rooney's cross from close range, only to wheel away in celebration and see the linesman's flag up for offside against Rooney.
United boss Alex Ferguson brought on Gabriel Obertan on the hour mark in place of Nani, who once more disappointed as he struggled to deal with the rough treatment dished out to him by Rovers' defenders.
The young Frenchman, who impressed on his debut at Barnsley in the Carling Cup in midweek, failed to mark his Premier League debut with a goal as he fired wide of the target from eight yards out. However, he did have a small part to play in Rooney's goal, as it was he who brought the ball down the left flank before leaving it for Anderson to cross.
Striker Nikola Kalinic replaced lone frontman Franco di Santo for Rovers, and the Croat had the ball in the back of the net in the first of four added minutes at the end of the 90, only to see the linesman's flag incorrectly raised for offside against him.
Michael Owen was another late attacking introduction for United, and his low shot that flashed inches wide of the far post was the last act of a match that United won without ever really impressing and Blackburn lost without ever looking poor.
Rest of games results:
Bolton 0-4 Chelsea
Burnley 2-0 Hull City
Everton 1-1 Aston Villa
Fulham 3-1 Liverpool
Portsmouth 4-0 Wigan Athletic
Stoke City 2-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Sunderland 2-2 West Ham United
Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur