Writer: Red Boy
Date:Thursday January 31 2013
On a strange kind of night, United stretched their lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points, but you get the impression that many inside Old Trafford were relieved when the final whistle went.
Southampton were meant to be cannon-fodder, the type of team that come to Old Trafford to be blown away with a cavalier display, but it never turned out like that. Instead, once again, we conceded an early goal and left ourselves chasing the game.
More worryingly, the goal we conceded, in the third minute, was so comical you didn`t know whether to laugh or cry. Michael Carrick, uncharacteristically, tried a back-pass to David de Gea but it was woeful in its execution and Jay Rodriguez raced in to claim the ball, avoiding de Gea`s weak challenge to slot home. The face of Sir Alex Ferguson was a picture!
Thankfully, United weren`t behind for too long with Wayne Rooney claiming his 100th goal, at Old Trafford, in the 8th minute. It was a perfectly executed goal with Shinji Kagawa playing a ball to Rooney who slipped the ball past Boruc and into the net.
The equalizer saw United provided with the impetus to attack Southampton and just before the half hour mark Rooney was to edge United in front. From a free kick, taken by Robin van Persie, Patrice Evra headed the ball back across goal and there was Rooney waiting to score form three feet out.
The first half, as United launched wave after wave of attacks, also saw Kagawa hit the post and Danny Welbeck and Van Persie miss guilt-edged chances.
Unfortunately, the half time break seemed to give Southampton encouragement and the introduction of Adam Lallana and Steve Davis saw their midfield start to create opportunities.
Rickie Lambert twice forced De Gea into decent saves as Chris Smalling struggled to cope with an enthusiastic Southampton attack. Van Persie thought he`d put the game out of Southampton`s reach, but his header from a Rooney cross was given as offside.
In the end, as I mentioned earlier, it was the United supporters that were more grateful to hear the final whistle than the travelling Southampton fans.
Date:Thursday January 31 2013
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