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Premier League

  • December 10, 2011
  • • 10:00 AM
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: M. Oliver
  • • Attendance: 75627

Manchester United 4-1 Wolves: Nani and Wayne Rooney hit doubles as hosts make perfect response to Champions League exit

Manchester United 4-1 Wolves: Nani and Wayne Rooney hit doubles as hosts make perfect response to Champions League exit

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The England striker returned to form with two goals to lead the Red Devils to victory over Mick McCarthy's team as they bounced back from their midweek disappointment

Manchester United bounced back from its midweek Champions League upset in style, cruising to a 4-1 victory over Wolves at Old Trafford.

Nani and Wayne Rooney bagged two goals apiece to hand the Red Devils three points against a Wolves side that once again failed to provide much in the way of resistance against one of the Premier League's top teams, Steven Fletcher's goal early in the second half aside.

Nani, along with Antonio Valencia on the opposite flank, impressed for United but Sir Alex Ferguson will have been particularly pleased to see Rooney not just return to form but also regain the sharpness in front of goal that had deserted him after his electrifying start to the season.

United quickly began to assert control over the game, as a wide gap between the Wolves defense and midfield was effectively exploited by Rooney, but the England international looked like a man who desperately needed a goal to restore his confidence. Carrick’s through ball gave him an opportunity to the left of Wayne Hennessey but the Welsh goalkeeper saved well.

One man currently enjoying a rich vein of form is Nani and he slammed a low shot in from the edge of the box to give the home side a 17th minute lead. The Portuguese winger starred against Basel and was prominent again here, cutting in from the left past two Wolves players to set himself up for the opener.

Wolves came from behind to beat United last season but there looked to be little chance of a repeat here. Rooney, whose barren spell prior to this match had stretched to eight league games, has never gone nine Premier League matches without a goal and ensured that record stood up with a precise finish from 18 yards after 27 minutes.

If there was one spell in which Wolves were on top in the first half, it was in the first 60 seconds. History was to repeat itself in the second frame and this time Ferguson’s men were punished for their early lethargy. Jarvis sped down the left and evaded Chris Smalling before standing up a cross for Fletcher, who powerfully rose above Patrice Evra to bring Wanderers within one.

United, once again, belatedly sprung into life and a cross from the wonderfully energetic Phil Jones just beat the toes of Rooney and Welbeck.

It was Jones who would instigate the move that restored United’s two-goal lead. The 19-year old released Valencia down the right wing and the Ecuadorian picked out Nani in the box, who tapped past Hennessey.

The goal seemed only to re-energize Ferguson’s team as it continued to pour forward. Evans spurned a glorious chance after some abject Wolves defending from a corner when he handballed in front of a half-open goal before Valencia drilled narrowly wide after a positive run.

Valencia, who grew into the game as it went on, was arguably even more impressive than Nani and he set up United’s fourth. Cruising into space down the right-hand side he pulled a cross back for Rooney to convert for his second of the match.

Ferguson was confident enough to introduce 19-year old Zeki Fryers at left back with just under 25 minutes to go. The young defender is the first player to play for United in the Premier League who was not born when the Premier League kicked off in August 1992.

Substitute Federico Macheda was denied by Hennessey in the late stages of the game but it mattered little as United moved back to within two points of league leaders Manchester City with the sort of positive response it urgently needed.

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