Month In Review: October 2010

Not up to their very own high standards, Manchester United endured a rough start to the month, but they turned around their fortunes and ended October in fine form by winning four consecutive matches.

However, the month of October will be forever remembered, and ultimately overshadowed, by the major win off the field rather than the extension of their impressive unbeaten streak.

The cloud of uncertainty over Wayne Rooney’s future at the club definitely loomed over the club and effected their performances on the field, but United did just enough to over see the unneeded turbulence to extend their unbeaten run to 22 matches by not losing any of their six matches during October.

Sir Alex Ferguson used his vast experience and vast expertise to entice Wayne Rooney into rethinking his request to leave Old Trafford and sign a new five-year deal with United, which really seemed to inspire the club.

United won two, drew two in the Barclays Premier, but they triumphed in both their matches in the Carling Cup and UEFA Champions League.

United stumbled into the Stadium of Light, were forced to deal with a sewage pipe bursting in their dressing before the match, but they still managed to get a point in the 0-0 draw against Sunderland.

Sunderland were the more balanced, positive team, but the ball would just not go in for them, and United did not start start causing them problems until Dimitar Berbatov was introduced at half-time.

The goalless draw can definitely be seen as a point gained.

Next up for the Red Devils was West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford, and the early season woes for United continued against the Baggies as they could only manage a 2-2 draw.

United scored two very well-taken first-half goals through Javier Hernandez and Nani, but a Patrice Evra own goal and a rare defensive miscue from Edwin van der Sar allowed Somen Tchoyi to tap into an unguarded net to give Albion a share of the spoils.

The match should have never been close, because United blew chance after chance in the first-half, but an injury to Ryan Giggs changed the complexion of the match, and then the introduction of the fit-again Rooney did not do anything besides raise eyebrows over his unwillingness to contribute to the cause.

United were able to put their domestic problems on the back burner and turn their attention to the Champions League as they entertained Bursaspor at Old Trafford, and it was a very comfortable, solid 1-0 win for the home team.

The difference between the two sides was a wonder strike from Nani in the seventh minute, but the United defense was untroubled and posted their third consecutive Champions League shutout.

United resumed their Premier League season with a tough trip to the Britannia Stadium, but even though they threw away another lead, they battled hard to win 2-1 over Stoke City.

Chicharito scored with a very imaginative back-of-the-head flick in the first-half, but that was canceled out by a wondeful Tuncay strike that found the top corner of van der Sar’s net.

Unlike in their previous draws, they found the character and will that was needed to find the winner as Hernandez bagged his second goal of the match and produced United’s first away points of the season.

Despite Ferguson making wholesale changes to face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Carling Cup, United had enough quality to run out 3-2 winners, but it was that man from Mexico that spared the blushes.

United took the lead when Bébé scored his first goal for the club following his shock summer transfer, but George Elokobi powered home a header from close range to level the scores at one.

Ji-Sung Park then latched onto a loose ball in the Wolves penalty area, and his left-footed blast left Wayne Hennessey with no chance, but again the visitors clawed their way back on level terms as Kevin Foley slotted home passed a scrambling United defense.

The match looked destine for extra-time, but Chicharito came on for Bébé with 10 minutes to go, and he produced a fine finish to send United through to the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup.

United closed out the month with the visit of Tottenham Hotpsur, and United did well enough to win 2-0, but the match will be remembered for a refereeing decision.

In the first-half, Nemanja Vidic rose highest to guide Nani’s free-kick into the far corner of the net, but Nani’s scored perhaps his easiest professional goal, which sparked controversy throughout the football world.

Nani got in behind the Spurs’ defense, but he was being tugged back by Younes Kaboul, and when the United winger thought that he lost his advantage he went to the ground and grabbed the ball looking for Mark Clattenburg to give him a well-deserved penalty.

That decision, and the blowing of the whistle, never came as he waved Huerlho Gomes to play on, because Tottenham had United pressed forward, but the shot-stopper placed the ball down and stepped back to boot the ball down the field.

With the ball laying unattended, Nani gave a look towards the referee, because he obviously did not heard a whistle, and when Clattenburg motioned the ball was live, he slipped the ball into the empty net to secure all three points for United.

Tottenham will feel hard done by, but they have only themselves to blame, because you always play to whistle.

Even though Chicharito scored four goals in October, it was Nani who took home the Player of the Month Award.

The Portuguese winger is finally emerging from the shadows of Cristiano Ronaldo, and it is primarily because he is allowed to patrol his favored right wing.

On top of his four goals, Nani has registered a Premier League-high eight assists in his 10 matches this season.

In October, Nani scored three goals, but he created two others including a direct assist for United’s opening goal against Spurs.

Manchester United will look to continue their 22 match unbeaten streak through the month of November, but they face a couple of tricky fixtures – especially the short trip across town to face their hated-rival Manchester City.

02 – Sunderland (BPL) – Stadium of Light – D, 0-0
16 – West Bromwich Albion (BPL) – Old Trafford – D, 2-2 (J. Hernandez, Nani)
20 – Bursaspor (UCL) – Old Trafford – W, 1-0 (Nani)
24 – Stoke City (BPL)- Britannia Stadium – W, 2-1 (J. Hernandez 2)
26 – Wolverhampton Wanderers (CC) – Old Trafford – W, 3-2 (Bébé, J. S. Park, J. Hernandez)
30 – Tottenham Hotspur (BPL) – Old Trafford – W, 2-0 (N. Vidic, Nani)

GP 6 W 4 D 2 L 0 GF 10 GA 5 GD +5

Goal scorers
J. Hernandez – 4
Nani – 3
Bébé – 1
J. S. Park – 1
N. Vidic – 1

Nani – 1
D. Berbatov – 1
D. Gibson – 1
N. Vidic – 1
P. Evra – 1

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