Berbatov and his middle men conduct authoritative United performance
Manchester United 3-0 West Ham Utd: Observations
6-0 is the new black, or at least that was the case last weekend. For this game could have easily been a 6-0 drubbing, and in hindsight, the 3-0 victory was flattering from a West Ham perspective. Avram Grant, a body double of the Simpsons’ character Fat Tony (which has nothing to do with the article!), was almost certainly pulling out what little hair he had left in the pouring Mancunian rain.
The most impressive thing about Manchester United in this game was that they put on a complete team performance. The football, at times, was sumptuous and United were characteristically good on the break, and encouragingly, solid at the back. Nemanja Vidic brought stability to the back four; it could be that he was inspired a touch by the presence of the captain’s armband around his…arm. United were at no time in danger of conceding, a testament to the solidity shown by the defence and in effect could control the game like they did.
Then there was Dimitar Berbatov. Lazy, he was not. He held the ball and linked up play in a way that opposite number Carlton Cole could only dream of. The Bulgarian even had a time to score a goal, a trademark acrobatic finish late on. He, and Nani, may frustrate a couple of fans with their sometimes hit-and-miss performances, yet it is days like these where they can display such authority and talent. Nani was a delight to watch; he found plenty of room down the channels and, although he missed his fair share, he could at least keep the doubters quiet for another day thanks to his wonderful goal, United’s second, a picture perfect finish worth watching again and again.
And while Paul Scholes continues to make pundits purr on their plush sofa’s, he was complimented perfectly by his partner in crime, Darren Fletcher. The Scot quietly got the job done, and in the process keeping the Hammers midfield at bay. Both even came close to scoring, but even if they didn’t, they demonstrated such control and conducted this authoritative United performance. It was also a day to celebrate if your name was Wayne Rooney, stroking a welcome penalty home and ending his unwanted drought of goals. Honourable mentions also go to Ryan Giggs and Edwin van der sar, the former finding life pretty routine as a top-flight footballer while at the same time defying age.
In truth, the visitors put up a decent fight in the first half but it was almost a case of damage limitation when Nani had fired in the second shortly after the break. They could barely keep possession after what seemed like the killer goal. The concept of passing is a simple one, shame West Ham couldn’t quite grasp it. “Oh, Matthew Upson has given the ball away again…” Certainly, United had dispatched the visitors in ruthless fashion that was not seen at the Craven Cottage last week, and it encouraging to see the Red Devils start the season with more zest and energy than in past campaigns. “More please,” in a cute, adorable Oliver Twist voice.
Ratings: Van der Sar 7, O’Shea 6, Vidic 8, Jonathan Evans 6, Evra 7, Nani 8, Scholes 8, Fletcher 8, Giggs 7, Rooney 7, Berbatov 8.
Subs: Owen 5, Smalling 5, Carrick 5