Hargo injured as Reds find late win



Owen Hargeaves was a surprise starter for Manchester United as Sir Alex Ferguson’s men struggled to a narrow win at Old Trafford. For the second time in a fortnight Wolverhampton Wanderers was beaten at the Theatre of Dreams but there was little imagination to United’s play on a largely frustrating afternoon in Manchester.

Park Ji-Sung scored twice to earn United the points, including an injury time winner, but the home side takes little credit from the performance, even if the result brings Ferguson’s men to within two points of leaders Chelsea.

Despite the poor performance assistant manager Mike Phelan praised United’s spirit in earning a late winner.

“It’s happened many times before. In true Manchester United spirit we kept going and we got the points,” assistant manager Mike Phelan told Sky Sports.

“The players out there were a credit because it isn’t easy when you’re under the influence of a bug. But we got there in the end and they can rest now.”

Ferguson pulled off a major surprise by recalling the Canadian-born midfielder Hargreaves, despite recently declaring the 29-year-old “weeks away” from a return. The midfielder had not started a game for United in more than two years but began on the right side of midfield in a much changed United line-up to that which won in Turkey last week.

With injuries to key players a concern and the derby coming up at Eastlands on Wednesday, Ferguson made six changes to the side that beat Bursaspor in the Champions League. It appeared to disrupt United’s rhythm, which had brought five wins in a row.

Much as in the Carling Cup game against Wolves at Old Trafford last month, United began slowly, with little intensity in the home side’s play. The disjointed formation with John O’Shea, joined by Park and Darren Fletcher in central midfield, hardly helped.

If Ferguson hoped for Hargreaves’ energy to impact on the match then he – and many supporters – were quickly disappointed with the former Bayern Munich limping off with a hamstring injury on six minutes.

The substitution summed up Hargreaves’ miserable run, with just 30 seconds play in the entire 2009/10 campaign followed by a lengthy stay at Dr Richard Steadman’s Denver clinic. The midfielder has undergone operations on both knees in a vain attempt to play for the club again.

Hargreaves’ misery was Bébé’s gain and the Portuguese winger added some verve to United’s attack, which was missing both the injured Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian fell victim to the flu virus which has swept the United camp in recent days.

But without Paul Scholes, rested ahead of United’s clash with Manchester City on Wednesday, United too often lacked invention in the final third. Javier Hernández, Gabriel Obertan and Park interchanged regularly but United’s care in possession lacked quality.

Fortunate for the home side then that Wolves’ could not take the lead on the half hour, with Nenad Milijas’ left-foot drive diverted inches wide of Edwin van der Sar’s post by Nemanja Vidic.

Where the visitors failed, United capitalised with Fletcher neatly opening up the Wolves’ defence for Park to score his third goal in the past month. The Korean was as guilty of wastefulness as any but tucked home the chance with a smart first-time finish.

Park’s reward was a move inside from the left-hand to a more central position for the second period as United sought to breakdown Mick McCarthey’s stubborn side.

Yet, Ferguson’s outfit continually failed to provide a cutting edge in the final third. Bébé was guilty on more than one occasion of failing to deliver with team-mates in good positions, although the Portuguse youngster twice tested Marcus Hannemann in the visitors’ net.

For all United’s possession the home side could not increase its lead and Wolves’ took advantage on 66 minutes when former Red Sylvain Ebanks-Blake found the net with a drive through van der Sar’s legs.

It was the seventh time United had given up a lead this season and rich reward for Wolves’ enterprise. The Midlanders have already beaten City this season, with a narrow defeat at Stamford Bridge rough justice on McCarthey’s outfit.

Hernández looked United’s best bet for a winner and certainly United’s brightest attacking outlet. Twice the Mexican forged openings as the Reds sought a second goal, although a booking for a crude dive late in the second half is the first blemish on the youngster’s Old Trafford record.

Ferguson could do little but gamble on the win, with Scholes and Federico Macheda brought into the game with 20 remaining. Bébé - the substitute – substituted following a string of wayward crosses from the right flank.

Still, although the intensity increased with the clock winding down, the famed late Old Trafford onslaught failed to come. If anything Wolves matched the hosts for chances and Steven Fletcher could have done better with a half-chance from 15 yards which the Scot lashed over van der Sar’s goal.

Wolves came within minutes of earning a point, comfortably retaining possession in midfield just as Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion had done against Ferguson’s men earlier this season. United’s second goal seemed unlikely until Park, deep into injury time, cut inside the Wolves’ defence from the right and scored with a stunning finish at Hannemann’s near post.

If United’s younger players have sometimes sparkled this season, then this surely was the flip side of that coin. Inconsistency, in particular from Gabriel Obertan and Bébé today, allied to a deeply average United midfield by historical standards, almost cost the hosts further points.

The paucity of quality in the middle of the park is not helped by Hargreaves’ lengthy injury. Another set-back today had a sense of inevitability about it.

“It’s disapointing for Owen, its just the way things are going for him at the moment,” said Phelan.

“He’s made himself available and he’s worked extremely hard in the two years he’s been out. It was a risk and it didn’t work out for him today.”

Time will tell whether Ferguson is building a final great side on the occasion of his 24th anniversary in charge at Old Trafford. On this evidence it may take some time and no little work in the transfer market.

Match Facts
United – 4411 – Van der Sar; Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Hargeaves (Bebe 9, Scholes 74), Fletcher, O’Shea (Macheda 74), Park; Obertan , Hernandez.

Wolves – 451 – Hahnemann; Stearman, Ward, Berra, Foley; Edwards (Fletcher 65), Henry, Hunt (Ebanks-Blake 64), Jarvis, Milijas (Mancienne 77); Doyle.

Attendance – 75,285
Man of the Match – Park

Possession: United 50% – 50% Wolves
Attempts: 14 – 8
On target: 10 – 6
Corners: 3 – 2
Fouls: 6 – 11

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  • Spike

    Hargo should never ever been bought from Bayern, still pissin themselves laughing and shaking heads at us.

  • Bill

    If Hargreaves called it a day you could hardly blame him. He’s the kind of player who would have played even if he wasn’t 100 percent. Park is actually showing signs of being a real asset again. Without his versatility we would be in trouble.

    City away is going to be a very hard game. 4-5-1 with Scholes, Fletcher and Park in there would be a good shout. Evra on the left wing, Rafael on the right could be an interesting option. Brown and O’Shea or Fabio as full backs. Hernandez up top on his own with Berba and Macheda to cover on the bench.

    A point will be a good result all things considered.

    • mongoletsi

      Erm, what?

      First you say play Evra (who can’t cross) on the wing.

      Then you suggest John O’Shea should be allowed in a Utd shirt.

  • sidney

    It’s a hamstring injury, int it? Not his knee

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    It’ll be nani schole fletcher carrick giggs in midfield against city

    hopefully park asks to leave when he’s dropped for a returning giggs after grabbing a brace today

  • NameOnTheTrophy

    how bad was that first half.. fortunately scholes was der to save the day.

  • Xyth`

    Let’s not rush to judgements on Hargo just yet. His knees are one thing, hamstring is quite another. Hopefully he will be back in a few weeks time. He was very unlucky since he came here, but the one full season he played, he was a quality player for us, and gave SAF options in midfield.

    As for today, a win is a win and we were due a bit of a luck. Again, we are creating our own mess at the back and failing to finish teams off. We had enough good situations on the second half to create the second goal (before they scored) but uet again poor last pass or decision making nearly cost us.

    Lets hope by Wednesday the rest of the players have recovered to see the Shitty off!

  • Ted

    I’m in no doubt that we’ll see a more compact and solid performance against the berties,win or lose. But we simply need to be more affective against the smaller sides.
    How many times do we hear players telling us that its “hard to break down teams when they park the bus” blah! blah! blah! They’re obviously fully aware of what awaits them in these games but we seem to constantly struggle. We are fast running out of ideas in games like these and though i feel a bit sorry for Hargreaves, was he ever going to be our next midfield general anyway? I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again. Unitil we go out and find a leader, a scruff of the neck merchant, we will continue to be a Jekyll and Hide team. Fergie has deffo gone all Benitez on us. He just does’nt know what to do for the best anymore. Me? I’d fuck him off and get Jose in……….pronto.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    games against the riff raff who just turn up to defend used to be where wed fill our boots and put five past em, whens the last time we battered anyone

  • Ted

    Exactly Nobby. Take the treble side for instance. If Coley or Yorkey were’nt doing it, on came Olly and Sheringhammy. I shudder to think what that team or the team from 94/95 would do to this one…..lordy lordy.

  • jezz09

    Ted, Your a gobshite, id prefer fergie managing us from his sickbed at 90 years of age than ANYONE else! To compare the greatest manager of all time with some amateurish fat spanish waiter makes you sound like you are of very low intelligence. Fergie is the ONLY reason United has not gone down the pan since the Glazers took over

  • Bill

    Because the knee is weak or not 100 percent it puts strain on other parts of the body. Its no coincidence.

    Carrick and Scholes in the middle of midfield in one of the hardest games of the season, no thanks – even if Fletcher is there in a 3.

    Park, Scholes and Fletcher with Carrick as cover on the bench for Scholes. That 3 were the cm when we hammered Milan at home 4-0.

    Nani being back would be a real help too.

  • herbie simms

    Man City are worse than Wolves, would not worry too much about them, other than they are very physical and United have to be careful of getting more injuries. Their players are rough, they will take you out! City just play to win by any means neccesary. United to win away by 2 clear goals.

  • Ted

    Unregistered User said:
    Ted, Your a gobshite, id prefer fergie managing us from his sickbed at 90 years of age than ANYONE else! To compare the greatest manager of all time with some amateurish fat spanish waiter makes you sound like you are of very low intelligence. Fergie is the ONLY reason United has not gone down the pan since the Glazers took over

    —————————————————————————————-
    Its because of Fergie them cunts are here in the first place you silly scrote. Mind you,
    If we don’t like it, we can always fuck off and watch Chelsea can’t we.

    • jezz09

      what, and you really think mourinho is gonna walk in here and get the same results fergie is getting with this team? cause it would be this exact squad cause no matter who is in charge, there is no money to spend

  • GazNo77

    Horrible performance today; passing was terrible, ball retention poor, no penetration, no one playing between the lines. Hope to god Nani & Berba are fit for the derby

  • Bill

    If Berbatov plays he’d better show a better attitude than Tuesday – his body langague was appalling! Maybe he was ill but still back to the old incredible sulk days!

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    obviously bollockles carrick should play, and he will

  • herbie simms

    Fergie has just said Berbatov will be back but Nani will be out for Wednesday’s game. The other players, he will access on Monday. He is also saying that Antonio Valencia will be back three months earlier than expected as he is coming along quite well. Whats this virus thats going around?
    Fergie said also that Hardgreaves going off so early had an effect on the team. He should not have played him at all today. He needs to at least get a run out in the reserve team first and see how he is progressing from there.

  • bman

    I don’t know about this virus thing, maybe it’s just bollocks, but I’m always happy when we don’t drop points after a CL match in midweek, especially a match away in Turkey. The performance was very poor, but we have key players missing, and I’ll very gladly take 3 points after a CL outing without looking too closely at the performance.

    Wolves did just beat City after all.

  • bman

    Also, that’s six wins in a row, all without Rooney. We wouldn’t have done it last season. For that matter we haven’t had Giggs or Valencia either, not to mention Nani this last match.

  • Bill

    You are right about Hargo – surely play him in the reserves first – in fact its crazy not doing that.

  • Ted

    Unregistered User said:
    what, and you really think mourinho is gonna walk in here and get the same results fergie is getting with this team? cause it would be this exact squad cause no matter who is in charge, there is no money to spend

    ————————————————————————————–
    Not really. There will be money to spend, as there is now. But its a close call at the moment. I’m convinced the owners won’t trust Fergie with a bundle to spunk. But there will be when the new manager takes over. Sir Wayne of Rooneyshire has already started the ball rolling, and as much as Fergie does’nt and won’t like it, he is coming to the end and its best for everyone that we move on as soon as possible. City have got all the cash in the world but they’re still fuckin awful, the Dippers are fucked, so now’s a good time to be getting on with things. At the end of the season Fergie, Giggs, Scholes, Neville, Owen, Hargreaves, O’shea,Carrick Anderson and Park should all be put out to grass and let Jose get on with rebuilding, ready for our new chapter.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    herbie/shadrack, bebe was horrible, dreadful, how do you explain it

    • mongoletsi

      Indeed. Maybe he’ll stop banging on about Bebe now. Can’t cross, can’t shoot. Can run fast and is strong, good control… one for the future FIN.

  • herbie simms

    City are awful and if they lose tomorrow to West Brom, Mancini will be fired before the United game. Other than that, he will be gone by Thursday morning and Tevez will be on his way back to Argentina because it apprears he does not want to play there anymore.

  • Bill

    Fergie, Scholes and Park! Fergie will go when he decides and the last two have been our best players in the last two games.

    I can’t see lots of players being transfer listed as by natural wastage Hargreaves, Owen and Neville will be gone. Giggs, Scholes and VDS might go too.

    I’d expect the likes of Carrick, Park and O’Shea to stay. Gibson and Anderson could be under threat though.

  • Ted

    Unregistered User said:
    Fergie, Scholes and Park! Fergie will go when he decides and the last two have been our best players in the last two games.

    —————————————————————————————-

    Granted Bill, but lets be honest we can’t keep wheeling Scholesy out to save our bacon, and Park running round like a headless chicken against relegation fodder and a gang of camel jockeys from Turkey is hardly confidence inspiring is it? Like someone’s already said, a half decent team would have took us apart in the week and today. We’re not just about surviving or getting by, we’re about evolving. Its time United became attractive to the better quality players out there, and the fact of the matter is we’re just not! And i fear we won’t be until the man himself arrives. He wants the job and i for one would certainly see him here sooner rather than later. Unitil that day comes, we’ll continue to tread water.

  • herbie simms

    And its amazing how Fergie and Phelan always come out and say how great the team has played after every game. They are always pleased with the performance of the players.
    I guess they have to say something!

    • RedScot

      Lets put the words in Sir Alexs mouth.
      My team played shite and are fucking shite.
      Way to go!
      The lads played ok, just ok. They got a great win its 3 points, not champagne football.
      On the back of bleeding youngsters in Europe and playing them again today.
      You dont think Sir Alex is the master of the chess game.
      Is it not more important for your bragging rights to beat Ciddy on wedensday.
      The midfield needs stiffened up .More guile and nouse to find the killer pass. A bit of steel and balls.Is required in the centre of the park.
      However its 3 points and the longest unbeaten match run since 1991.
      We are doomed, doomed I say!

  • herbie simms

    SAF will probably start the same team at Man City. Hardgreaves will try to start again and after 5 minutes gone off again. I believe Fergie and Phelan are losing it!
    Phelan claims it backfired. But as you said, its 3 points in the bag! Can only hope for a better perfofmance and another 3 points in the derby match.

    • RedScot

      Och you never know mate Hargreaves will be off for reconditioning in some swanky Denver rehab.
      I truely reckon Hargreaves is history.
      There is no point in this, the man will do himself long term injury.Be a invalid for life.
      I wonder if the Glazer have a pension plan policy in place?
      And we know the value of these dont we.
      What a poor vocal support today.
      Its the glazer effect.
      Held bye the short and curlies, but lets still bend over!

    • mongoletsi

      Hargreaves, not HarDgreaves.

      Glazers, not GlazIers.

      Do keep up.

  • herbie simms

    Before they even think about Hardgreaves, I hope they have enough common sense to put him in the reserve team for a few games and check his progress. But he will not be able to play anymore. I have friends in the same situation, trying to play cricket and football with two bad knees. Now they can’t play period. The operations could not help them when it comes to playing sports. Once your knees are gone, thats it!

    • RedScot

      Agreed I was stunned also to see him on the team sheet.
      As you say lets see him with a gentle introduction, there is to much fast forward for me just now. like Anderson as an example, he does not cut it for me in the reserve games i have watched.Yet he is on the first team sheet.
      I guess its called “Game time” in Sir Alexs words.
      But in Sir Alex I trust as far as working the squad.
      Well my knee’s aint gone, but I got a call from my little local boozer.They need me, god knows why!
      Enjoy the match on wedensday.
      Cmon United, its not life and death, its sooooo much more.

  • SKW

    Can we put the Hargo thing to bed, finally?

    This guy has been out two years, and can’t get back in the side (this is the second time he’s limped out after a few minutes). It’s obvious that he’s crocked.

    Meanwhile, Park is a player, isn’t he?

  • Dr. AYL Chong

    Not enough credit given to Park. Hernandez scored two and was deem to be a legend. Park scored twice and people are still calling him to be sold.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    was an excellent pas from fletcher for the firt, more of that please, less runabouty pointlesssness

  • http://none ian

    Don’t know if I’m imagining things, but is Bebe Ralph Milne in disguise? Like Milne, the lad could become a legend.

  • Ted

    Unregistered User said:
    Don’t know if I’m imagining things, but is Bebe Ralph Milne in disguise? Like Milne, the lad could become a legend.

    —————————————————————————————-

    “Ralphy…….Ralphy Milne”

  • Spike

    Your Nickname says it all Mongo

  • http://www.unitedrant.co.uk/members/danniitronix/ danniitronix

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    herbie/shadrack, bebe was horrible, dreadful, how do you explain it

    on the basis that a load of mongos thought its was great that Taggart bought yet another fucking striker, winger, midfielder, defender, goaly, groundsmen – withouth seeing him play

    you would have thought the Jock would have learned his lesson with Anderson

    Dreads = Shit footballer unless you played in the 90′s and are Dutch – Gullit, Rijkaard, etc

    he’s a bungling spliff tking buffoon rivalled only by Anderson attempts to dance with the ball

    one thing though, he puts a shift in so he has potential but to be honest he could learn a lot by just watchin youtube and Fifa World Cup

    I mean does he know what crossing is – look at ball, look left / right and then hopeffully brain sends electrical signal to leg / foot to kick ball to one of your team mates

    we know Anderson rivals single celled organism as spacker of the squad but this guy. jeeeeeeeez

    anyway, would rather have Bebongo that OShite anywhere near the field.

  • Just1n

    danniitronix said:
    on the basis that a load of mongos thought its was great that Taggart bought yet another fucking striker, winger, midfielder, defender, goaly, groundsmen – withouth seeing him play

    you would have thought the Jock would have learned his lesson with Anderson

    Dreads = Shit footballer unless you played in the 90′s and are Dutch – Gullit, Rijkaard, etc

    he’s a bungling spliff tking buffoon rivalled only by Anderson attempts to dance with the ball

    one thing though, he puts a shift in so he has potential but to be honest he could learn a lot by just watchin youtube and Fifa World Cup

    I mean does he know what crossing is – look at ball, look left / right and then hopeffully brain sends electrical signal to leg / foot to kick ball to one of your team mates

    we know Anderson rivals single celled organism as spacker of the squad but this guy. jeeeeeeeez

    anyway, would rather have Bebongo that OShite anywhere near the field.

    You need a literary agent you cunt.

    Agree with the JOShite comment

  • herbie simms

    Don’t keep picking on Bebe. Can’t judge a player by one game. SAF said he needs to work on a few things just like the other players need to do. I would not be surprised if you see Andy Carroll at OT next summer. SAF likes this type of striker. He is valued at 8 million.

    • mongoletsi

      You judged him before he’d even played for us.

      Admit it, you’re his agent!

  • http://www.unitedrant.co.uk/members/danniitronix/ danniitronix

    Unregistered User said:
    Don’t keep picking on Bebe. Can’t judge a player by one game. SAF said he needs to work on a few things just like the other players need to do. I would not be surprised if you see Andy Carroll at OT next summer. SAF likes this type of striker. He is valued at 8 million.

    there is NO value!