Tag: Ander Herrera

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.

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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.

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FA Cup: Yeovil 0-2 Man Utd

Superb Ander Herrera strike helps Manchester United see off Yeovil

A stunning finish from Ander Herrera helped Manchester United edge past a resolute Yeovil and into the FA Cup fourth round.

An out-of-sorts United side, which included captain Wayne Rooney, David De Gea and Radamel Falcao, toiled for over an hour against their struggling hosts until a piece of individual brilliance set them on their way to a 2-0 win.

Herrera marked his FA Cup debut with a thumping 64th-minute volley that left Yeovil goalkeeper Jed Steer clutching at thin air.

Louis Van Gaal’s first experience of this competition was certainly a sobering one and the Dutchman was forced to make a double half-time switch and send on World Cup finalist Angel Di Maria as his side toiled in Somerset.

And it was the former Real Madrid winger who eventually saw off Gary Johnson’s plucky outfit in the dying seconds when he clipped the ball over Steer as United countered at pace.

There would have been eyebrows raised in the changing room of League One’s bottom club when they saw their opponents’ team sheet, but star names Falcao and Rooney were proving to be more useful in their own box than Yeovil’s in the first half.

The pair were heading away a string of deliveries from the Glovers, who were forcing corners and keeping De Gea occupied.

Yeovil did not look like a side bereft of confidence, having won just one of their last six league games, as they hassled and harried Van Gaal’s men.

Captain Joe Edwards was at the heart of their pressing game along with the returning Kevin Dawson, and the midfield duo helped restrict United to long-range efforts from Paddy McNair and Rooney in the opening exchanges.

Keeper Steer, fresh from conceding three goals in Monday night’s home defeat to Leyton Orient, probably expected another long afternoon but it took 32 minutes before his gloves were warmed by the visitors.

Even then, James Wilson’s low drive was routine for the shotstopper, who then watched on as Herrera fired well wide of his left-hand post just before the break.

Van Gaal’s response to a tepid 45 minutes was to withdraw both wing-backs, switch to a back four and send on Juan Mata and Jonny Evans.

Nine minutes into the second half Yeovil carved out a fantastic chance for second-round hero Kieffer Moore but the targetman failed to get any real purchase after being found by Dawson at the near post.

And with an hour gone, and only Wilson’s wayward 47th-minute header to reflect on since the interval, Di Maria was sent into the fray for his first appearance since November after injury.

The Argentinian’s introduction meant, for the second successive match, Falcao was surprisingly subbed early on.

But United fans had barely had time to digest the change when they enjoyed a perfect view of Herrera sparking this cup tie into life with 64 minutes on the clock.

The Spaniard let a through ball bounce just outside the box before spinning and hooking a right-footed rocket past Steer.

Di Maria was sent on to unlock the stubborn Yeovil rearguard but it was his defensive awareness that denied Yeovil a certain leveller. Sam Foley’s corner was met by Edwards inside the box and there was Di Maria to clear off the line.

Yeovil rang the changes in a bid to secure a lucrative Old Trafford replay but they were hit by a sucker punch as the game ticked into the 90th minute, Di Maria dashing clear of the Town backline after Rooney’s pass before clipping in the second.

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