United take on the Boro - who will survive?
By Andrew Cuff
Wednesday 24 Sep 2008 10:57:00
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Last night’s Carling Cup clash hosted by United against Middlesbrough saw the start of the 08/09 Carling Cup competition and United picked Middlesbrough, often giving United a run for their money in the Cup competitions. Middlesbrough forced a reply in the FA Cup 6th round replay against United back in 06/07. Both teams are currently quite close in the Premier League though United have one game in hand though a draw in the next Premier League match would see them equalling Middlesbrough’s current point tally.

United having come off a loss against Liverpool, drew against Villarreal and Chelsea; two days after drawing to Chelsea they take on the Boro in a vital clash. A loss against Middlesbrough would rule United out of the rest of the Carling Cup.

Pre match saw Ferguson announcing that he would be playing a combination of youngsters and experienced players to rest some of the big names for the next matches against Bolton on Saturday the 27th and Aalborg on the 30th, next week. So United lined up at 8pm without Van Der Sar after he injured himself in Sunday’s clash against Chelsea in which he was substituted and saw the youngster Amos starting at the age of 18 he is one of the youngest player to grace the United first team this season. Amos joined Old Trafford at the age of 11 and has spent the last 7 years trailing around the United teams, with appearances as part of both the academy and more recently as part of United’s reserve team. Rafael De Silva also saw his first big match in the United back line alongside Vidic, Brown and O’Shea. The midfield was made up of Giggs, Anderson, Possebon and Nani; Possebon the 19 year old Brazilian midfielder joined United at the beginning of this year, 2008. Although he was born in Brazil his father’s Italian ties meant there was no need for work permits as the 19 year old has an EU passport. His first match was against Newcastle at home earlier this season. Up front United saw the first start of star striker Ronaldo alongside Welbeck.

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United took the early lead in the 25th minute with after Ronaldo got on the end of a Giggs corner and slotted in past Jones. The scores progressed though the first half without anybody scoring, meaning we went to the half time interval 1 - 0. The shots and possession were all in United’s favour getting more shots on goal and only just having more possession than the visitors. Old Trafford was host to just over 53000 fans. Middlesbrough came out in the second half and started to show a bit more control and take a bit more possession, 2 minutes after Middlesbrough’s Johnson was given a yellow card he proceeded to score the equalizer against a struggling United. Pogatetz getting sent off with a straight red after and unruly tackle against United’s Possebon; resulting in Possebon needing to be substituted after a serious injury giving Darron Gibson a run in the United midfield. Gibson not wasting anytime and got a number of shots heading towards the Middlesbrough goal, though not on target a positive start. Giggs and Nani also getting involved in the fray up front as United pushed forward; Giggs providing the breakthrough for United in the 79th minute with a lob into the goal from 12 yards out. Nani secured the game with a goal 5 minutes into injury time, giving United a 3 - 1 victory. Making it United’s second outright victory this season.

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Saturday sees United host Bolton at old Trafford; with Bolton currently a point behind United in 16th place but have played one extra game. In theory this should indicate that United have the upper hand, though in this competition anything can happen. United need the 3 points to keep the frontrunners in sight with Arsenal currently holding top position losing only 1 out of their 5 games and winning the other 4 games. Chelsea and Liverpool are but one point behind Arsenal. Surprisingly Arsenal seem to be dominating their games so far, and with a month and a half until United meet them at the Emirates stadium.

Can United revive their title hopes this weekend?

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