Manchester United Season Review: August

by Sam Peoples

Nani’s first goal versus Manchester City at Wembley (courtesy of @xbirchy)

FA Community Shield – Manchester City v Manchester United – 7th August 2011 – Wembley, London

The 2011/12 football season started for Manchester United on the 7th August 2011, 2 days after Paul Scholes’ testimonial at Old Trafford. United played City at Wembley Stadium, London in the FA Community Shield, the annual curtain raiser for the new football season. I was actually at the game and had high hopes for United. The first half was of the was quite shocking as United were playing like they had never played together before. Joleon Lescott broke the deadlock on the 38th minute and seven minutes later Edin Dzeko doubled the lead for City. The fans (what little there was), were doing the ‘Poznan’ at the other end of Wembley. I was sat on the top-tier of Wembley, slightly to the left of the goal. During the interval supposed fans were moaning about the performance United were giving. Also poking fun at the dismal crowd City had brought to Wembley!

Manchester United, FA Community Shield winners 2011 (photo from manutd.com)

In the second half, the introduction of Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Tom Cleverley seemed to give United an edge and they were giving City a game. Just seven minutes into the second half, Chris Smalling scored from a corner. Just six minutes later, Nani equalised with a goal of sheer brilliance (see the gif image above). With the scored level the remainder of the match was entertaining for each side. In injury time, City had a corner, which I thought was going to lead to their winning goal, but Wayne Rooney cleared the ball to Tom Cleverley who laid the ball sideways to Nani’s, who was on a brilliant run, as he got to the box, Joe Hart came off his line to collect the ball, Nani side-stepped him and slotted the ball into the back of the net. The reds erupted as this was very late in injury time, and that was it, Manchester United won the FA Community Shield for the second year running.

MANCHESTER CITY

2-3

MANCHESTER UNITED

38 LESCOTT, 45 DZEKO

52 SMALLING, 58, 94 NANI

Barclays Premier League

West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United – 19th August 2011 – The Hawthorns, West Bromwich

The first match of the Barclays Premier League 2011/12 was against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns. A week after their 3-2 win against Manchester City, spirits of United fans was quite high, although it being an away match against West Bromwich Albion, I was confident of a victory. After 13 minutes Wayne Rooney drilled home an early opener, this made it look like United were going to take three points quite easily. But eight minutes before half-time, Shane Long slotted in from an angle, which beat new keeper David De Gea. The tie was level at half-time.

David De Gea, who after the match versus WBA was labelled a ‘dodgy keeper’ by the press (photo from manutd.com)

The second half of the game was quite edgy for both teams as each were attacking, but not getting that shot on target. Nemanja Vidic was substituted after failing to shake off a knock, which was uneasy for United fans (for whom never knew what this season was going to bring for him). Dimitar Berbatov was brought on in the second half and ultimately he was involved in the winner, setting up Ashley Young, who played his first Premier League match for United after transferring from Aston Villa, who then crossed the ball towards goal, the ball was deflected from Tamas to Reid and into the back of the net in the 81st minute. United won the match 2-1, which secured their first 3 points of the season. David De Gea would from now be subject of negative reports from the English press, some saying Sir Alex Ferguson had bought yet another dodgy keeper like Massimo Taibi.

WEST BROMWICH ALBION

1-2

MANCHESTER UNITED

37 LONG

13 ROONEY, 81 REID (OG)

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur – 22nd August 2011 – Old Trafford, Manchester

The first home game of the new season at Old Trafford saw United beat Tottenham 3-0 with goals from Danny Welbeck, Anderson and Wayne Rooney. The first half of the game saw each team have long periods of attacking play, with the scores level until the 61st minute. Sir Alex Ferguson put out quite a young side, which was the second youngest he has played in the Premier League. Tom Cleverley had a good shot on goal, which was saved on by the finger-tips of  Brad Friedel.

Danny Welbeck celebrates his goal against Tottenham (photo from manutd.com)

In the 61st minute, Danny Welbeck headed home Tom Cleverley’s cross and there was nothing Friedel could do to keep it out of the net. Only 15 minutes later Anderson scored a side-footed goal, which could have been in contention for goal of the season. Minutes earlier Wayne Rooney missed a curling free kick, which was tipped away by Friedel, and Danny Welbeck who tried an over-head kick which ended up in the hands of the Spurs goalkeeper. Three minutes from time, Wayne Rooney scored s close-range header moments after Jermaine Defoe hit the post. Ryan Giggs, who was a late substitute, notched up an assist with a cross from the edge of the area. Manchester United have now won 6 points out of their first two matches, which is a good start for the Red Devils.

MANCHESTER UNITED

3-0

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

61 WELBECK, 76 ANDERSON, 87 ROONEY

Manchester United v Arsenal – 28th August 2011 – Old Trafford, Manchester

After this match we would see the phrase “I’d 8-2 be an Arsenal fan right now” all over social media, and what a great game it was. It was another home game for United, a game against a team who had been United’s main rivals only a few years back, but also a team who had recently lost Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. As quoted by Adam Marshall of manutd.com “A game that had everything – a missed penalty, a converted spot-kick, a hat-trick for Wayne Rooney, a red card and 10 goals, United simply romped home 8-2.”

United opened the scoring on the 22nd minute, with Danny Welbeck who steered a looping header past Wojciech Szczesny, which was a result of Anderson’s lofted pass which Arsenals defence failed to deal with. Arsenal were awarded a penalty after Jonny Evans tugged on Theo Walcott’s shirt, Robin van Persie took the penalty which David De Gea saved. The second goal came only 6 minutes later when Ashley Young caught an Armand Traore header and slotted in a perfect curler past Szczesny. The third goal came 4 minutes before half-time from Wayne Rooney. United seemed complacent just before half-time as Theo Walcott managed to get a goal back to put them back in the tie, 3-1.

Manchester United v Arsenal, all goals in gif format (courtesy of @xbirchy)

In the second half, United started where they left off but it took nearly 20 minutes for them to score again, this would see three more goals be scored in six minutes. Wayne Rooney scored his second from another free kick, on the 67th minute Nani scored a brilliant feed from Rooney and on the 70th minute Ji Sing Park scored after exchanging passes with Ashley Young, to fire home. United were 6-1 up and still attacking. On the 74th minute Robin van Persie scored after being played onside by Phil Jones, the score was now 6-2 but United were still in the driving seat. Wayne Rooney completed his hat trick on the 82nd minute and Ashley Young completed the scoring in injury time, completing the 8-2 rout of Arsenal.

MANCHESTER UNITED

8-2

ARSENAL

22 WELBECK, 28, 90 YOUNG,

41, 64, 82 ROONEY, 67 NANI, 70 PARK

45 WALCOTT, 74 VAN PERSIE

The Old Trafford scoreboard displaying the emphatic scoreline (photo from manutd.com)

August was a good month for Manchester United. They scored 16 goals and conceded five in four matches. Wayne Rooney scored five goals, Nani scored three, Danny Welbeck and Ashley Young scored 2 each and Anderson, Ji Sung Park, Chris Smalling each scored one goal. There was also an own goal in the West Bromwich Albion match.

The Match of the Month has to be the Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal game, although seeing United come back at Wembley to beat City 3-2 was certainly just as sweet a victory!!

By Paul Bienkowski

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