Portsmouth score three, United score five in demolition
Manchester United 5-0 Portsmouth: Observations
This was an emphatic performance from Manchester United and, although three of the five goals were scored by Portsmouth defenders, this could have well and truly been a cricket score.
United are in form (finally) and you sense this team, Ronaldo-less, can win the league title. Still there is some cause for concern. The Red Devils second top scorer is not Dimitar Berbatov (8) but quite simply own goals (9). Still, Wayne Rooney is banging in the goals. That’s 21 in 23 with the strike that opened the scoring. Quite exceptional.
On the 52nd anniversary of the Munich air crash, both teams had a minutes silence to remember the victims. But there was little silence after that, as United had dominated throughout but it still took 40 minutes for the hosts to break the deadlock. Wayne Rooney converting Darren Fletcher’s cross, that goal setting the tone for the rest of the afternoon.
It was all United possession. The visitors had a few chances, the effort from Nadir Belhadj which was cleared off the line by Jonny Evans worth mentioning. But the hosts continued to pressurise and the game was over in the dying moments of the first half. Nani, as skilful as he is, using some fancy footwork before his low cross was diverted in by Van Der Borre and into the net past a dumbfounded David James.
The second half was more of the same. The back four had a relatively easy game, Carrick and Fletcher doing what was asked of them with composed performances. The third goal was another own goal, Carrick latching on to a Rooney’s pass which had a wicked deflection of Richard Hughes.
The fourth was quite something. Berbatov twisted and patiently waited before hitting a low shot to make it 4-0. Both he and Rooney were subbed as Sir Alex knew this was just going to be a stoll in the park from here on it. Indeed, there was quite the anticlimactic ending to the game, both teams looking tired and worn out. Portsmouth conceded one more, though, and what a horrible goal it was to concede. Marc Wilson, with no one around him, diverted Patrice Evra’s cross past James.
Mame Biram Diouf should have made it six. One-on-one with the keeper he hit his shot over the goalie and the bar. A feast of goals in this one-sided affair, so Diouf’s miss didn’t really matter. United now leapfrog Chelsea to the summit and the Blues take on Arsenal today in what is sure to be a tasty encounter. And hopefully, not as one-sided as this one.