Section: Man Utd

Premiership: Chelsea 1-0 Man Utd

Chelsea moved to within two wins of reclaiming the Premier League title after Eden Hazard’s goal gave them a narrow victory over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

Hazard’s first-half finish gave Jose Mourinho’s side three points and means that victory in forthcoming games at Arsenal and Leicester City will return the title to Stamford Bridge for the first time since 2010.

Chelsea were pushed all the way by a resurgent United, hunting a seventh successive Premier League victory.

Wayne Rooney and the recalled Radamel Falcao came closest for United but once again they fell victim to the resilience and defensive strength that is Chelsea’s trademark under Mourinho, assisted by the brilliance of Hazard, and ended frustrated.

The reaction of Chelsea’s players as referee Mike Dean sounded the final whistle, celebrating wildly in front of their supporters, suggested they believed this was the victory that has pushed them to the brink of glory, as they moved 10 points ahead of second-placed Arsenal.

And now, even if they do not wrap it up in these next two games, surely nothing can stop Mourinho winning the title in his second season after coming back to Stamford Bridge.

As for United, this defeat may have ended their recent winning streak but they once again produced compelling evidence that they are now a very different proposition from the side that struggled, even though they were grinding out results, earlier this season.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Man Utd 4-2 Man City

Manchester United ended a dismal derby sequence and piled the pressure on Manuel Pellegrini as his Manchester City side were well beaten at Old Trafford.

City, attempting to recover from successive away defeats at Liverpool, Burnley and Crystal Palace, made a blistering start and took an early lead through Sergio Aguero.

It was all downhill from then on for the fading Premier League champions as Ashley Young and the revitalised Marouane Fellaini put United in front before half-time.

Louis van Gaal’s side never looked like surrendering the advantage as they secured a sixth straight Premier League win with further goals from Juan Mata and Chris Smalling.

The victory put them four points ahead of City and firmly on course for a return to the Champions League next season.

As for City, this was the sort of capitulation that never reflects well on any manager and Liverpool could narrow the gap to Pellegrini’s side to just four points if they beat Newcastle United at Anfield on Monday.

Missing out on the Champions League is the unthinkable scenario for City and Pellegrini, who had won the previous four Manchester derbies – including three at Old Trafford – before his side declined alarmingly after a perfect start.

And to illustrate the turnaround in fortunes, it was only just over a year ago that City’s 3-0 win here effectively signalled the end of David Moyes’ United reign and put City 15 points ahead of their rivals having played two games fewer.

United are now the team that looks rejuvenated, while City are in serious need of reconstruction as the defensive frailties and fluctuating form that have characterised their season were exposed once more.

City can take solace from having four of their last six games at home but their defence of the title is in ruins and the speculation surrounding Pellegrini will continue ,especially if they miss out on the top four.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was sent off 38 seconds after coming on as a half-time substitute as Manchester United retained their grip on a top-four place with a vital win at Anfield.

Gerrard was introduced for Adam Lallana at the start of the second half with United deservedly leading through Juan Mata’s early goal – but was gone almost as quickly after following up a thunderous tackle on the goalscorer with a reckless reaction to a challenge with a clear stamp on Ander Herrera.

It was inexcusable behaviour from a player of Gerrard’s experience, having just been handed the responsibility by manager Brendan Rodgers of getting an underperforming Liverpool side back into the game.

Mata emphasised the folly of Gerrard’s red card when he added a second with a sensational volley just before the hour to confirm United’s superiority in a game that confirmed the impression that manager Louis van Gaal is now getting the sort of performances and results he demands.

Daniel Sturridge pulled a goal back to give Liverpool hope of an unlikely comeback but the visitors were never seriously threatened again and could even afford the luxury of Wayne Rooney seeing an injury-time penalty saved by Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet.

United built on last Sunday’s impressive 3-0 win against Tottenham to extend their lead to five points over Liverpool, who are a place behind in fifth.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Man Utd 3-0 Spurs

Wayne Rooney delivers knockout blow as Man United cruise past Spurs

Manchester United moved to within just two points of second-placed Manchester City thanks to a commanding 3-0 Premier League victory against Tottenham.

United needed just nine minutes to break the deadlock at Old Trafford as Marouane Fellaini picked out the bottom corner after being played in by Michael Carrick.

Carrick soon turned from provider to goal scorer, doubling his side’s lead with a well-taken header after Tottenham had failed to deal with a corner.

And Wayne Rooney made it three inside 34 minutes, capitalising on some poor Spurs defending as he raced clear of two opponents and then slotted past Hugo Lloris. His celebration — pretending to box before falling to the ground — made reference to footage that was unearthed showing the forward appearing to be knocked unconscious by Stoke City full-back Phil Bardsley.

Tottenham failed to recover from their first-half display and were unable to pull a goal back after the break as United held on comfortably for the win.

Read more at ESPN

FA Cup: Man Utd 1-2 Arsenal

Danny Welbeck came back to haunt Louis van Gaal as the Manchester United manager was subjected to a night of despair and defeat at Old Trafford.

Capitalising on a horror backpass from Phil Jones, Welbeck sent Arsenal through to the semifinals of the FA Cup with a 61st-minute winner after Wayne Rooney had equalised Nacho Monreal’s opener.

To pile yet more misery on the United boss, he watched Angel Di Maria get sent off towards the end of the 2-1 defeat for pulling referee Michael Oliver’s shirt as he reacted angrily to being booked for diving.

Replays showed Di Maria was pulled back by Aaron Ramsey before he tumbled to the ground, but the way in which he reacted will not please United boss Van Gaal.

Di Maria can have little reason to complain. The £59.7m signing snatched at Oliver’s shirt as he turned away after issuing him with a booking.

The dismissal is the latest episode in a long list of disappointments for the British record signing, who Van Gaal hoped would bring silverware to Old Trafford.

With United 10 points behind Chelsea in the league, that dream is almost certainly over. After a mildly encouraging performance in the first half, United wilted and looked blunt after the restart. Welbeck, the Longsight lad who left his boyhood club for north London last summer, provided the killer touch after a clanger from Antonio Valencia.

Van Gaal claimed he controversially ditched Welbeck last summer because the striker did not score enough goals.

And while the forward has hardly been prolific at Arsenal, he will have enjoyed showing Van Gaal what he is missing here.

For Van Gaal, the dream of silverware may be over, but Arsene Wenger’s side are now very much favourites to regain the FA Cup after registering their first win at Old Trafford in nine years.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Newcastle 0-1 Man Utd

Ashley Young fired Manchester United to a last-minute victory at Newcastle to maintain their charge for a top-four finish.

The game looked to be heading for a draw when Magpies keeper Tim Krul could only stab a hurried clearance straight to the wing-back, who steered the ball past him to secure a precious 1-0 Barclays Premier League win.

The Holland international had earlier cast himself in the role of hero after pulling off a stunning double-save to deny first Marouane Fellaini and then Young on a night when Papiss Cisse and Jonny Evans became involved in an ugly spat which could yet have repercussions.

But having survived strong 10th-minute appeals for a penalty for Chris Smalling’s challenge on Emmanuel Riviere, the visitors extended their recent run to just two defeats in 22 games in all competitions with the victory they craved.

Wayne Rooney was once again asked to lead the line after his brace against Sunderland on Saturday, and he looked to be the man most likely to break the deadlock during a first half in which the visitors dominated possession.

With Ander Herrera and Fellaini, who was preferred to Radamel Falcao, using the space in the middle of the field to feed Antonio Valencia and Angel Di Maria down one wing and Marcos Rojo and Young down the other, the Magpies found themselves having to defend deep and in numbers for the greater part of the opening 45 minutes.

Di Maria failed to make the most of a first-minute half-chance after Mehdi Abeid had gifted the ball to Herrera in midfielder, and Louis van Gaal’s men might have paid had referee Anthony Taylor viewed Smalling’s 10th-minute challenge on striker Riviere inside the penalty area in the same way as the locals.

Television replays suggested Taylor had got it wrong, but Newcastle had little time to reflect upon their misfortune as United surged forward with Herrera slicing wide with 15 minutes gone.

But it was Rooney who passed up two glorious openings inside four minutes as he first shot wide from close range after Young had helped on Di Maria’s cross, and then allowed to ball to get away from him as he attempted to flick it around defender Mike Williamson.

Cisse smashed a left-foot shot from distance wide 10 minutes before the break, but then became involved in an angry exchange with Evans with television pictures suggesting both men had spit, although not necessarily at each other.

But the most significant goalmouth action came in the final minutes of the half with Krul turning away Fellaini’s firm header at one end before De Gea managed to block Riviere’s shot as he slipped after running on to Moussa Sissoko’s beautifully weighted through-ball.

Rojo had Krul looking anxiously towards his top corner within two minutes of the restart when he unleashed a swerving left-foot shot which flew just over the angle of bar and post.

However, it was De Gea who had to be at his best two minute later to repel Riviere’s stabbed effort after Fabricio Coloccini had headed on Ryan Taylor’s free-kick.

But Krul had to be at his best to prevent the visitors from taking a 54th-minute lead when he parried Fellaini’s shot on the turn after he had controlled Di Maria’s cross, and then recovered in time to block Young’s follow-up.

Di Maria departed four minutes later as Adnan Januzaj took his place, but it was the arrival of Jonas Gutierrez for the first time since October 2013 following his successful battle against testicular cancer which caused the bigger stir.

Newcastle should really have been ahead three minutes later when substitute Ayoze Perez broke from his own half and having drawn lone defender Evans, slipped Cisse in, but the 11-goal Senegal international scuffed his shot horribly wide to let De Gea off the hook.

Krul came to the rescue once against 15 minutes from time when he palmed away Rooney’s downward header from Young’s cross at the foot of his left post, but he was finally beaten at the death when he could only scuff Abeid’s ill-judged back-pass to Young, who fired into the empty net to win it.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Man Utd 2-0 Sunderland

Wayne Rooney’s penalty helped Manchester United beat Sunderland after the visitors’ Wes Brown was sent off in bizarre circumstances at Old Trafford.

Rooney scored after a foul on Radamel Falcao, for which Brown was dismissed and not John O’Shea, despite protests from the visitors.

United added a second when Rooney headed in after Adnan Januzaj’s shot was parried into his path.

The victory reasserted the home side’s challenge for a top-four place.

United moved up to third place in the Premier League as they claimed an 11th home win out of 14 in the top-flight so far this season.

However, Brown’s red card emerged as the talking point as the Old Trafford side finally earned a breakthrough to go with their improved second half urgency.

Falcao controlled an Ander Herrera cross beautifully in the box and, as he turned in between former United defenders Brown and O’Shea, looked to have been pulled by the latter.

Referee Roger East red-carded Brown and, despite the official speaking to his assistants via his headset, his original decision stood. The fourth official for the game was Martin Atkinson, who was criticised for his refereeing when Chelsea drew with Burnley last week.

After the match, the referees’ body in English football released a statement claiming East had seen contact from both O’Shea and Brown on Falcao.

It added that East chose to dismiss Brown and not O’Shea because he thought the former had fouled Falcao while he was in the act of shooting.

Coincidentally, East’s decision occurred on the same day as video technology trials during competitive matches were put back at least 12 months at a meeting of the game’s lawmakers.

While there may be controversy over the sending off, there could be little argument over a result that leaves the Black Cats three points above the relegation zone.

United dominated possession and were initially frustrated by the massed ranks of the visitors, who had gone close to taking an early lead when Connor Wickham’s shot was saved by David de Gea.

The home crowd offered a sign of their frustration at their side’s failure to find a cutting edge in attack with a chorus of disapproval when a United corner ended up with a back-pass to De Gea.

The home side almost gave the Old Trafford faithful the goal they craved when a Young shot across goal ricocheted off O’Shea and crossbar before Herrera headed wide from the rebound.

A Marcos Rojo shot from a corner was cleared from the goalmouth by Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson and, even though United had 71% of possession in the first half, they could not find a way through.

The ineffective Angel Di Maria was replaced by the lively Januzaj at the break and he powered a shot wide as United began to exert a greater threat.

But the penalty incident gave United the chance to score and Rooney, playing in a forward role, made no mistake as he avoided going nine league games without scoring for the first time since joining from Everton in 2004.

The England striker added a second when he nodded in after Januzaj’s shot was parried by keeper Costel Pantilimon.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Swansea 2-1 Man Utd

Swansea completed their first-ever league double over Manchester United to dent the Red Devils’ hopes of finishing in the Champions League places.

The Welsh club had won 2-1 at Old Trafford on the opening day of the season but a repeat looked unlikely when Ander Herrera fired United into a 28th-minute lead.

But Ki Sung-yueng equalised within two minutes and Jonjo Shelvey’s 73rd minute strike – which took a crucial deflection off team-mate Bafetimbi Gomis – gave Swansea only a second win in eight Barclays Premier League attempts as they prevailed 2-1.

United manager Louis van Gaal had claimed his side were the best in the top flight on current form after losing only once in 19 games in all competitions but performances have rarely matched results and this will do little for their ambitions of finishing in the top four.

Swansea started by changing their system with a diamond matching United’s as Wayne Rooney again operated up front for the visitors with Robin van Persie replacing the misfiring Radamel Falcao following the FA Cup victory at Preston.

United were nearly the architects of their own downfall inside five minutes when Marcos Rojo’s poor pass set up Gylfi Sigurdsson’s blocked shot and a corner from which Swansea almost profited.

Sigurdsson sent the ball in and Gomis lost his marker Paddy McNair to power a header which Herrera hacked off the line.

Gomis put another header over after bar and Swansea were dangerous in attack but allowing Angel di Maria too much space to run into down the left flank.

And when Di Maria’s corner evaded Lukasz Fabianski in the Swansea goal Van Persie collected at an acute angle to hammer a shot against the crossbar.

A hugely enjoyable encounter was swinging from end to end and Gomis slipped Phil Jones to set up a shooting opportunity for Wayne Routledge which David de Gea safely gathered.

But it was United who seized the lead when some fine approach play ended with Rooney finding Di Maria and the Argentina international set up Herrera’s fifth United goal, and his second in as many games, with a precise finish into the corner.

Swansea’s reply, however, was both emphatic and instant as Shelvey crossed from the left and Ki, just as he had done at Old Trafford in August, scored by getting across Luke Shaw and sweeping the ball home.

Ki went close to a second soon after half-time when he timed his run superbly onto another Shelvey cross and de Gea spread himself well to make the save.

Van Gaal’s response to try and achieve dominance was to put on fresh legs at full-back, Ashley Young replacing Shaw after Antonio Valencia had been introduced at half-time for McNair.

United were enjoying the majority of possession with van Persie adding to a couple of wayward first-half efforts by smashing into the side netting on his more favoured left foot.

Rojo headed over a Di Maria corner and United were firmly in the ascendancy when Rooney lifted a ball over the top of the Swansea defence but Van Persie was only able to scuff his shot under pressure.

Swansea were clinging on but they relieved the pressure and struck against the run of play after 73 minutes when Shelvey’s powerful strike beat de Gea with the aid of a deflection off Gomis.

The Frenchman brought another save from de Gea in the final exchanges as United ran out of ideas and were unable to pull off a late rescue act.

Read more at ESPN

FA Cup: Preston 1-3 Man Utd

Wayne Rooney ended his goal drought as Manchester United came from behind to beat Preston and set up a mouth-watering FA Cup quarter-final against Arsenal.

After watching Bradford take their second Premier League scalp of the competition on Sunday, United were wary of falling victim to another upset and they feared the worst when Scott Laird put Preston ahead.

But luckily for United manager Louis van Gaal, Ander Herrera equalised soon after and Marouane Fellaini poked home before Rooney scored a late penalty to give the Red Devils a 3-1 win.

Rooney, starting up front rather than in the midfield role he has occupied of late, looked threatening in the first half, working the channels, but was unable to test Preston goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann.

Rooney was not the only guilty party. Radamel Falcao put in yet another poor display and it did not come as a surprise when he was substituted for Ashley Young on the hour.

Van Gaal’s substitution proved crucial as Young set up Herrera for the equaliser.

Fellaini, who was pushed up front following Falcao’s removal, then poked in from close range after a brave save from Stuckmann.

And then Rooney ended his seven-and-a-half week wait for a goal when he tucked away a penalty after being brought down in the box on a United break.

The display against League One opposition will have done little to silence Van Gaal’s critics, but the Dutchman will not care.

His team are now one step closer to ending the first year of his stewardship with a trophy – one that United have not won in 11 years.

Just a few days after intimating that Rooney would continue playing in midfield, Van Gaal took everyone by surprise by deploying his captain up front alongside Falcao.

Rooney looked determined to make an impression by making darting runs behind the North End back four.

Angel di Maria sensed as much, but an early attempt to play the skipper in failed as his pass was too heavy.

A brief moment of panic occurred when Daley Blind slipped on to his backside when shepherding a ball across the back four, but other than that United looked settled.

Joe Garner went down in the box following a nudge by Chris Smalling, but referee Phil Dowd waved play on.

Di Maria looked the most likely source of inspiration for United. The home fans held their breath as the B£59.7million man curled a free-kick up and over the wall but, much to their relief, the attempt flew just wide.

John Welsh gave the Argentinian a reminder he was at a League One ground when he put in a crunching tackle to dispossess the 27-year-old.

Welsh, a Liverpool fan who came through the Academy at Anfield, then dived in to deny Rooney with a crucial block after some good work down the left by Luke Shaw.

United’s tempo was much better than it had been in recent weeks and they moved from defence to attack quickly. Di Maria continued to dazzle, beating three Preston players with a run from deep.

But more often than not, the final ball from United was poor. Di Maria’s diagonal pass to Falcao was too heavy, Blind was guilty of the same thing and Rooney inexplicably fired a 40-yard pass straight out of play.

Luckily for United, Preston offered little going forward either. Their main chances before the break came when Garner headed over and Paul Gallagher fired a low shot at David de Gea.

Two minutes after the restart, the Preston fans got the dream goal they had wished for.

Laird ran on to Garner’s incisive pass and fired an early shot that squeezed past De Gea via the toe of Antonio Valencia.

Laird was booked for his frenzied celebration and a pyrotechnic went off among the home fans.

Tom Clarke came close to raising the Deepdale roof moments later, but he could not get a clean connection on a close-range volley.

Van Gaal replaced Falcao with Young, who moved out to the left wing.

United instantly looked more threatening with two wingers on the pitch and Young provided the assist for the equaliser.

The former Aston Villa man found Herrera, who fired a powerful shot past Stuckmann and in off the post.

Preston desperately tried to cling on for a money-spinning replay, but Fellaini struck to put the visitors ahead for the first time.

Valencia swung in a deep cross to find Fellaini. The Belgian’s first effort was blocked by Stuckmann but he stabbed the ball in at the second attempt.

And the result was put beyond doubt when Rooney raced on to a through ball and was brought down by Stuckmann.

The England captain got to his feet and banged the ball past the North End goalkeeper to seal United’s progression to the last eight.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Man Utd 3-1 Burnley

Manchester United cut out the long-ball tactics but they still had to battle their way to a 3-1 win over Burnley at Old Trafford.

Chris Smalling scored 22 seconds after his introduction to put United ahead and the substitute put United 2-1 up after Danny Ings’ spectacular diving header.

Burnley, whose team cost a fraction of Louis van Gaal’s star-laden XI, had United on the ropes at times in the first half and comedy defending from Smalling and Ander Herrera should have resulted in an equaliser, but David de Gea saved the Red Devils once again.

Finally, Robin van Persie put the game to bed with an 82nd-minute penalty after Angel Di Maria was fouled in the box.

All the focus in the build-up to Wednesday’s match had centred on Van Gaal’s bizarre press conference stunt, which was designed to shoot down Sam Allardyce’s claims about United’s style of play.

Allardyce had referred to Van Gaal’s team as “long-ball United” and Van Gaal responded by producing a dossier of statistics which supposedly undermined the Hammers manager’s claims at a press conference on Tuesday.

There were few long-balls on Wednesday night – Marouane Fellaini did not step off the bench to add an aerial threat – but for large parts United were still not at their free-flowing best.

The fact that Wayne Rooney was moved to the base of United’s midfield diamond following an injury to Daley Blind did not help.

Still, Van Gaal will point to the Barclays Premier League table, which states his team are now third – one point ahead of Southampton and two in front of Arsenal.

United were criticised for a lack of creativity on Sunday, but Van Gaal stubbornly stuck with the same front six that looked completely blunt at West Ham.

The only changes for United came at the back where Paddy McNair and Jonny Evans replaced Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw.

United fans applauded Michael Keane as his name was read out from the Burnley team-sheet, but the centre-back almost scored against his old club after just two minutes.

Scott Arfield’s corner cleared a number of United bodies in the box, but Keane’s effort flew wide.

United heeded the warning. The man who jumped ahead of Keane in the pecking order at United, McNair, almost celebrated his new contract with a maiden goal but Tom Heaton awkwardly palmed his shot wide.

Just before Rooney took the corner Smalling came on for Phil Jones and 22 seconds later he headed United ahead.

From Rooney’s corner, Radamel Falcao knocked Van Persie’s flick-on back across the box and Smalling headed home.

The United fans hoping their team would go on to establish a comprehensive lead were to be disappointed. The hosts’ lead lasted just six minutes.

Di Maria gave the ball away and Kieran Trippier took advantage, swinging in a cross to the back post where Ings headed in superbly after drifting away from Smalling.

Burnley upped the pressure and would have taken the lead had De Gea not saved Ings’ low shot with his feet. Ashley Barnes cracked a low curling shot just wide. Evans hoofed the ball up in the air inside his own box moments later. United were rattled.

Whatever they tried in attack – whether it be long passes, short passes or medium-sized ones – it did not work. Burnley, promoted to the top-flight on a shoestring, were upstaging Van Gaal’s expensively-assembled team.

Michael Kightly even nutmegged Rooney.

Van Gaal then took the bizarre decision to drop Rooney, the club’s third-highest goal scorer of all-time, back to the base of the diamond when Blind came off through injury and was replaced by Herrera.

Smalling saved United’s blushes just before the break when he scored his second.

Again the goal came from a corner. Rooney and Di Maria exchanged passes before the Argentinian whipped a pin-point ball to the back post where Smalling rose above his marker and nodded in.

United still looked shaky at the back after the break. Evans looked uncomfortable on the ball.

Smalling looked at Herrera, expecting the Spaniard to clear George Boyd’s soft cross, but he did not and the ball fell straight to the feet of Ings. Not for the first time this season, De Gea came to the rescue, deflecting the ball over the bar.

Rooney’s evening got worse when he was booked for barging into Ings. Falcao joined him in the book for catching Trippier with his arm as he jumped for the ball.

Any hopes of a Burnley comeback were extinguished eight minutes from time when Arfield tripped Di Maria when he raced into the box.

Smalling did not put himself forward to try to score his first ever hat-trick. He left it to Van Persie, who clinically jabbed the ball past Heaton.

Read more at ESPN