After limping out of the UEFA Champions League at the hands of Basle, Manchester United has responded in fine style at in the Barclays Premier League. There was always a feeling that United would seek to vent their European frustrations as soon as possible and even Sir Alex Ferguson was calling for a three or four goal victory to lift the gloom in Manchester. So facing a struggling Wolves side at Old Trafford was exactly the type of fixture that Man United was looking for.
United started very brightly and went ahead in the 17th minute after Nani cut inside from the left wing and powered a low shot past Wayne Hennessey. Ten minutes later, Rooney collected a pass from Nani, turned and drilled in his 10th goal in the league from the edge of the box. Two minutes after the break, Steven Fletcher scored a superb header to reduce the deficit but additional goals from Nani and Rooney respectively, helped to settle matters on the night, and raise the spirits of the club after recent disappointments.
The Man United victory, coupled with Chelsea’s victory over Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Monday saw City’s lead cut to a paltry two points. United went into their match away to Queens Park Rangers knowing that they would go top with a victory and pile the pressure on City ahead of their match versus a resurgent Arsenal. It took only 52 seconds for Wayne Rooney to head in an inviting cross from Antonio Valencia and Man United in control. With the pressure off, United played with the type of composure and zest that characterized their early season play. Quick one-twos and combination plays were used to open up the QPR defense almost at will, but wasteful finishing kept the home team in the tie. On 56 minutes, Michael Carrick picked up a loose ball from Joey Barton inside the United half, drove past two QPR defenders and sprinted a full 65 yards before sliding the ball past goalkeeper Radek Cerny. The goal ended a 70 game goal scoring drought got the talented English midfielder. With the result no longer in doubt, the Man United players took their foot off the gas and controlled the rest of the game, conserving energy for the glut of Christmas fixtures to come. Even Sir Alex Ferguson had to admit that it was a job well done.