Recess gives Villarreal some breathing space
By Andrew Cuff
Wednesday 17 Sep 2008 20:48:00
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Manchester United v Villarreal (Half - time)

Kick off at 19h45 (BST) at Old Trafford as United hosted Spanish giants Villarreal.

The United squad starts off with Van Der Sar in goal and the classic four defenders Gary Neville on the right, Ferdinand and Evans in the centre and Evra in the left back position. The midfield comprised of Hargreaves, Fletcher, Nani and Park supporting the two United strikers of Rooney and Tevez.

Evans getting his only fifth United appearance as Sir Alex rests Vidic on the substitute bench. Ronaldo getting his first game this season although he did start the match on the bench as expected. Carrick out for 4 - 6 weeks after a foot injury has ruled him out of United’s upcoming matches. New signing Berbatov did not even feature on the United bench after his first performance against Liverpool, though I expect we will be seeing him over the weekend as Ferguson rests his strikers over the next weeks of heavy games. Scholes was also unable to take part in this match after his red card in the Super Cup final means he is currently suspended from the game.

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The first half gave United a massive possession advantage, though the visitors were very successful at frustrating United. The German referee made some appalling decisions after missing two clear penalty decisions and just letting the game carry on, Park denied a second time; clearly brought down in the box and to be denied a penalty. Ferdinand coming very close within the first ten minutes with a head at the back post after Hargreaves’ corner. Only 4 shots on target by the two teams, Pires getting the one shot for Villarreal which Van Der Sar easily picked up and a shot apiece from Nani, Tevez and Rooney. Only one player being booked and surprisingly at that was Franco after an insane tackle on Evra.

Manchester United 0 - 0 Villarreal (Half time)

Player performance: Park needing to prove his worth in the United first team has put in a cracking performance in the first half. Nani playing down the left with Evra assisting in that tacks has also proved quite effective though still, to me, seems to hold onto the ball for too long and not keep the play flowing. Fletcher, Neville and Ferdinand having the highest number of completed passes and showing the start of a United dominance. I expect Ronaldo and Giggs will be on in the second half, with changes likely to be around the 60 minute mark as Ferguson often seems to do, keeping both Fletcher and Hargreaves on I expect.

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