Tag: Marouane Fellaini

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: 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: 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: QPR 0-2 Man Utd

Manchester United battle for victory over Harry Redknapp’s QPR

Manchester United laboured to a third away league win of the season as they saw off QPR to strengthen the case any potential insider has on ousting manager Harry Redknapp.

Marouane Fellaini came off the bench at half-time to score the opening goal of a poor-quality 2-0 win, with fellow substitute James Wilson wrapping things up with his first of the campaign with the last kick.

This was just United’s third win away from Old Trafford in the Premier League this season as Louis van Gaal’s expensively-assembled strike-force again flattered to deceive.

Having told Radamel Falcao he still needed to prove himself, the Monaco loanee missed the best two chances of the game before Fellaini spared his blushes – moving level with the Colombian on three goals for the season.

QPR had their own chances as January player of the month Charlie Austin brought the best out of United goalkeeper David De Gea but Rangers remain 19th in the table and have now gone five league games without a win.

His counterpart did not have the most comfortable of afternoons in the away dugout and there were signs of the first grumblings of discontent from United’s travelling contingent as a number implored Van Gaal to ditch his system and change to 4-4-2.

The introduction of Wilson on 57 minutes allowed the Dutchman to alter to a 4-4-2 with a diamond in midfield and, less than a minute later, Fellaini hammered them in front – and Van Gaal’s name was once again being toasted by his fans – with Wilson adding the gloss deep into stoppage time.

Before that, everyone at Loftus Road had witnessed a first half was bereft of quality as both sides wasted possession and struggled to sustain any periods of sustained pressure.

Juan Mata, usually so assured on the ball, misplaced a pass to Bobby Zamora – who attempted an audacious effort to lift the ball over De Gea but could not hit the target.

Falcao had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock was played in by Mata and found himself free inside the area but shot straight at Robert Green before seeing his more difficult follow-up also kept out by the QPR goalkeeper.

If Falcao is low on confidence, his opposite number is at the other end of the scale and Austin had two great efforts in his attempt to put Redknapp’s side in front.

His first chance came after Zamora had robbed Jonny Evans of the ball in the channel and fed in Austin, who shot was well saved by De Gea.

And the in-form Spain goalkeeper was on hand to again frustrate Austin, tipping over a sweetly-struck half-volley on the 30-minute mark.

Mata was withdrawn at the interval as Van Gaal as Fellaini replaced his more diminutive team-mate, while QPR were also forced into a change as Steven Caulker replaced Dunne at the back.

The second half started in much the same way and Leroy Fer was guilty of missing the best chance since the interval as he headed a Joey Barton free-kick wide when under little pressure.

Falcao came the close to breaking the deadlock as he peeled off the QPR defence to meet Antonio Valencia’s deep cross but again Green was equal to his header.

But United did take the lead moments later as Rooney picked out Valencia, whose loose ball into the box was controlled by Fellaini before the Belgian lashed home.

Redknapp’s men tried to react immediately but Fer struck a shot over De Gea’s crossbar before Michael Carrick and the returning Marcos Rojo took each other out of the game going for the same ball – with QPR breaking forward en masse, but United’s often questioned defence stood firm.

United broke forward and Wilson’s cross looked destined to be tucked away by Falcao, only for Caulker to get a despairing touch on the ball and divert it clear of the waiting forward.

The same combination failed to double the Red Devils’ advantage moments later, this time Falcao throwing himself at the young forward’s cross but unable to connect.

QPR rallied at the death but Eduardo Vargas could not beat De Gea at his near post as United made sure of the win when Wilson finished at the second attempt, having been played in by Di Maria.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Man Utd 2-1 Stoke

Manchester United continued their recent revival with a fourth successive win which strengthens their place in the Premier League top four.

The home side led when Marouane Fellaini headed in Ander Herrera’s left-wing cross at the far post.

Stoke equalised through Steven N’Zonzi’s low shot, but they slipped to a third straight loss when Juan Mata’s free-kick from the right sneaked in.

However, Stoke’s Mame Biram Diouf was twice denied an injury-time equaliser.

The 26-year-old Stoke forward, who had an undistinguished spell at Old Trafford earlier in his career, saw United keeper David De Gea claw out his header before emergency full-back Ashley Young cleared another effort off the line seconds later.

Diouf was left mystified at the final whistle by his inability to earn a point for the visitors, shaking his head in disbelief as he slowly trudged off the pitch.

A draw would have been harsh on United, who controlled the game throughout, but had to rely on a piece of fortune for the winner.

Spain midfielder Mata’s set-piece evaded all the players waiting in the penalty area, although team-mate Marcos Rojo claimed he flicked in the final touch.

However, United boss Louis van Gaal will not be too bothered about the identity of the goalscorer. The Dutchman breathed a huge sigh of relief as he marched down the Old Trafford tunnel as his team continue to build momentum, despite failing to turn almost 70% of possession into more goals.

Van Gaal was unable to call on skipper Wayne Rooney or Angel Di Maria, with the pair missing from United’s squad through injuries sustained against Hull on Saturday.

And for large periods, the home side sorely missed the pair’s attacking guile.

But Stoke rarely looked like ending a dismal run of 11 successive Old Trafford defeats – until the late drama involving Diouf.

Old Trafford lost some of its famed ‘fear factor’ last season as United slumped to seven home Premier League defeats in a terrible first campaign following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

That aura of invincibility appears to have returned under Van Gaal, whose team have taken 19 home points from a possible 21 since defeat by Swansea on the opening day.

Potters boss Mark Hughes indicated his side would not be afraid to “have a go” at United, but they rarely looked like carving open a makeshift home defence until stoppage time.

United controlled the tempo and deservedly led when Spanish midfielder Herrera was allowed too much time and space to pick out Fellaini, who outjumped Erik Pieters to powerfully nod in.

Hughes was furious with the space that his side allowed Herrera, but his demeanour changed when N’Zonzi calmly guided a 20-yard shot past De Gea with Stoke’s first attempt on goal.

But Mata’s intervention moved United within two points of second-placed Manchester City, who travel to Sunderland on Wednesday, while Stoke remain four points above the relegation zone.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: West Brom 2-2 Man Utd

Daley Blind’s late goal salvaged a point at West Bromwich Albion but could not end Manchester United’s winless run away from home under Louis van Gaal.

Stephane Sessegnon’s first-time 18-yard strike put Albion ahead at the break.

Half-time substitute Marouane Fellaini levelled with his first United goal – a powerful shot from just inside the box.

Saido Berahino’s low finish restored the home side’s lead but United’s Robin van Persie hit the post late on before Blind’s 20-yard shot earned a point.

The draw means United are unbeaten in three games and have one more point after eight games than they did last season in a campaign which saw David Moyes sacked as manager for underachieving.

It will come as a relief to new boss Van Gaal, who this week called his previous request to be judged after three months in the role “stupid”, as United continue to adapt to his philosophy.

Read more on BBC  Sport