Writer: Red Boy
Date:Saturday January 22 2011
Manchester United extended their unbeaten start to the Premier League season to twenty-two games with an emphatic 5-0 win over Birmingham City.
United were forced to make an unforeseen change when Rio Ferdinand was ruled out with a groin problem, Chris Smalling stepped in to deputise. With Rafael suspended, John O`Shea filled in at full back.
Team - Van der Sar, Evra, Smalling, Vidic, O`Shea, Anderson, Giggs, Carrick, Nani, Berbatov, Rooney
Subs - Kuszczak, Fabio, Evans, Scholes, Gibson, Owen, Obertan
United got off to the best start possible opening the scoring after only two minutes of play. Birmingham had conceded a corner and when Giggs played the ball into the danger area, O`Shea flicked it on and Berbatov steered the ball over the line.
United 1 Birmingham 0 (Berbatov - 2 minutes)
A goal to the good, United continued to push Birmingham back with Ben Foster denying Berbatov a second goal with a fine stop whilst Michael Carrick fired wide.
Birmingham were being continually penned back in their own half, seeking respite with the odd counter-attack. United doubled their lead when Berbatov got his second of the game. The goal coming after the Bulgarian netted after collecting a pass from Rooney after Johnson, at the heart of the Birmingham defence, had conceded possession.
United 2 Birmingham 0 (Berbatov - 31 minutes)
Fahey came closest for Birmingham putting a chance wide from a corner but it was all United with Ryan Giggs putting in a great shift. Giggs was rewarded when he claimed United`s third goal. Berbatov won possession, Rooney sent over a great cross and Giggs was on hand at the far post to net.
United 3 Birmingham 0 (Giggs - 45+2 minutes)
A masterful first forty-five minutes from the only unbeaten team in the Premier League.
Half Time - United 3 Birmingham 0
Fabio came on for the second half, replacing Evra, and United should have scored early on again but Rooney, fed a goal on a plate by Nani, missed from two yards out.
But the goal supply hadn`t dried up when Berbatov got his hat-trick finishing off of the under-side of the bar from a great Giggs cross.
United 4 Birmingham 0 (Berbatov - 53 minutes)
Birmingham then had a glorious chance to reduce the arrears when Fahey was presented with a golden chance some three yards out but he missed. The chance coming after a Nemanja Vidic mistake had allowed Bentley to scamper away before getting a cross in.
United scored a fifth; through Nani; with the Portuguese player smashing an angled drive past Foster only minutes after wasting a good chance to get on the score sheet.
United 5 Birmingham 0 (Nani - 76 minutes)
A splendid performance but United never really had to get into top gear to beat a poor Birmingham side.
Date:Saturday January 22 2011
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