Date:Sunday August 26 2007
What a relief. What a tremendous relief. United, after a heartbreakingly poor start, have finally recorded a win - and right now I'm not very much interested in its manner.
For it has to be said that the team did not play well. In fact, we played pretty badly at occasions and sometimes looked as if we were in self-destruct mode. Spurs would have deserved to get something out of the game but it was high time to have a share of luck.
Jol's side could have scored after only 20 seconds, as Robbie Keane's well-struck shot hit the upper side of the bar, Van der Sar diving in vain. It should have served as a caution but in the first 15 minutes, United appeared to be slow, unimaginative and even lacking in skill and technique.
Unfortunately, I can't say that things improved much after that. We started to control the game and master possession but struggled to create chances until the middle of the half when, in quick succession, Rio, Carrick and Scholes all could have put us ahead.
They didn't and the rest of the half passed uneventful: Spurs seemed content with the result while United lacked the drive and inspiration to make a breakthrough.
We hoped that the second half would bring something different, something better, something inspirational. Well, it didn't, not for us. But Spurs could have scored three times midway through the second 45 minutes, as Dimitar Berbatov finally found his feet and started to torment Rio Ferdinand who had a nightmare of a game. The visitors appealed for a penalty not long after Berbatov should have put them ahead but for Ferdinand's goalline clearance, but it would have been extremely harsh to award a spot-kick for Brown's action.
United responded with a Tevez shot cleared from the goalline then with a magnificent goal. After some more sluggish play in front of the visitors' box, Nani recovered the ball, beat a man with a nice backheel-trick then, from 30 yards at least, unleashed a fiery shot that Robinson had no chance to stop.
Old Trafford was awash with relief but Spurs refused to disappear and pressed hardly for an equaliser, aided by defensive mistakes that were so few last season. They failed and though United could have scored again on the break had Giggs and Nani been more alert and quick, the 1-0 win is tremendous at the moment - and the result flattered us, if truth be told.
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Date:Sunday August 26 2007
|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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