Posted on Sunday, 28th March 2010 by Jamie Allen
Man United proved there is life without Wayne Rooney as they swept to a 4–0 victory away at neighbours Bolton to return back to the top of the league.
It was a message of intent from Ferguson’s men who were doubted before kick off when the news that both Rio Ferdinand and their talisman Wayne Rooney were not in the United squad. However, it was the Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov who led the line for the Reds and he managed to make up for what we presume is the resting Rooney with two goals. Jay Lloyd Samuel had given United a 1-0 half time lead as he diverted a Ryan Giggs cross into his own net. Darren Gibson added a late fourth for the Reds to wrap up the victory.
The opening half an hour was dominated by United, but they were unable to create any clear cut chances. Berbatov tried an audatious flicked first time effort but Bolton’s stopper was in the way. Jonny Evans wasted a great opportunity for United as the ball fell to him 10 yards from goal, but he blazed over. At the other end, Fabrice Muamba kept the acrobatic Edwin Van Der Sar on his toes with a shot that was destined for the top corner, but United’s number one rolled back the years with a brilliant finger tip save.
Prior to United’s visit, Bolton had kept four successive clean sheets in league clashes at the Reebok Stadium, in the process taking 10 of a possible 12 points, but any sign of that continuing was halted as Ryan Giggs who was released by Nani, drilled a low cross across the area, only for the unlucky Jay Lloyd Samuel to ‘expertly’ place past the helpless Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Aside from the goal, Bolton had the best chances of the first half. The impressive Jack Wilshere’s superb through-ball to Johan Elmander allowed the Swede to bring an excellent low save out of Van der Sar.
Since his injury, Nemanja Vidic hasn’t looked at his best, but today he was back to his normal self at the back. The Serb consistently won challenges and professionally saw off the presence of Kevin Davies in the air making Rio Ferdinand’s absence less evident by the minute.
Thanks to Vidic’s hard work, United were able to keep Bolton out and then hit the hosts with a sucker punch. Darren Fletcher broke into the area and his shot was spilled by Jaaskelainen allowing Berbatov to grab his first of the game.
Bolton’s head’s were down and United were not finished. Nine minutes later, after great work from Portuguese winger Nani, Rooney’s replacement Berbatov slotted in his second and United’s third. Then to add insult to injury and to rekindle United’s goal difference, substitute Darren Gibson crashed home a fourth eight minutes from time after Nani had repeated his trick down the left.
With Chelsea hitting 7 past Villa earlier in the day, whilst Arsenal could only draw, this 4-0 thumping of Bolton keeps United one point clear at the top of the Premier League summit ahead of the possible title decider with Ancelotti’s men on Saturday.