Date:Monday March 27 2006
MAN UTD: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Silvestre,Ronaldo, O'Shea, Giggs (Fletcher 77), Richardson (Park 39),Rooney, Saha (van Nistelrooy 73).
Subs Not Used: Howard, Evra.
BIRMINGHAM: Maik Taylor, Melchiot (Tebily 82), Cunningham,Latka, Lazaridis (Bruce 87), Jarosik, Clemence, Johnson,Pennant, Heskey (Kilkenny 87), Campbell.
Subs Not Used: Vaesen, Forssell.
Steve Bruce didn't expect any favours at Old Trafford on Sunday, and he sure as hell didn't get any. But to be honest ... with this poor team ... he doesn't deserve any!
The week of misery for the ex-United skipper ended in predictable defeat at the hand of his old club and he took another step nearer to the dreaded drop. But, does he deserve to to stay up? Many would say 'no' ... and I'm one of them.
With a crowd of just below 70,000, this was the biggest attendance for 86 years at Old Trafford, and many were glad to salute the man who served the Red Devils with such distinction as a player. But, sadly, he is facing a crisis that has become humiliation. The look of the man said it all, and when United banged another nail in his relegation coffin after just two minutes ... here was a man just waiting for the Brum chairman to put him out of his misery.
The margin of defeat didn't not come close to the seven-goal mauling the Blues suffered at Liverpool's hands in midweek, but I felt for a time United went easy on him and his bunch of Raggamuffins. Because, quite simply, Birmingham are NOT a Premiership side and I think they will even struggle to keep afloat in the Championship next term.
If ex-Scouser Emile Heskey continues to squander the type of chance he did late on, it is hard to see how Birmingham are going to escape. We ALL know the man is rubbish in front of goal, so what is going to change?
The Blues have never scored a Premiership goal at Old Trafford, let alone managed a win, and after 130 seconds it was quite obvious they were in for another horror 90 minutes.
Maik Taylor's efforts to keep out Giggs' well-struck free-kick only saw him push the ball onto a post, from where it bounced back onto his head and into the net.
Ryan Giggs netted the second and it just became a case of how many would United score?
He may be out of favour with his manager just now but Van Nistelrooy remains a hero among the United faithful and it was the prolific Dutchman's arrival for Saha 18 minutes from time which perked up a crowd that had become increasingly subdued as the second half wore on. United went into sloppy mode, when it was felt they should have gone for the kill.
Heskey should have pulled a goal back late on but ballooned hopelessly over after being set up by Jiri Jarosik. The blunder was punished immediately by Rooney, who made it third time lucky after latching onto Ronaldo's knock down and sprinting clear.
Date:Monday March 27 2006
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|Aston Villa||1||-||1||Man Utd|
|2. Man City||22||14||5||3||23||47|
|4. Man Utd||22||11||7||4||15||40|
|7. West Ham||22||10||6||6||10||36|
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