Manchester United 3 - 0 Southampton
Saturday 4th December
Manchester United finally gave the sort of performance that showed that our title ambitions are realistic. The team played enjoyable and exciting football, and, in all honesty, should've scored about six or seven goals against a timid and defensive Southampton team.
Right from the off, United dominated the game, with cool precision passing being the order of the day. Looking back, it's difficult to remember Southampton actually getting the ball into the United half - let alone threatening Roy Carroll's goal.
During the first half, United must've created about twenty chances, (Comapared to Southamptons' zero chances over the ninety minutes!), but Scholes, Ronaldo, Rooney and Giggs were unable to find the right sort of finish to get the first goal. Giggs hit the post, and Kasey Keller was on inspired form (Why is it that American keepers always do well against United?), but these are not really suitable excuses for supposedly top-class players on mega wages. If Ruud was playing, he'd've scored a hatful by halftime.
Thankfully, the United attackers were more ruthless after the break. And after the first goal went in - which Scholes nodded in a Rio Ferdinand cross - then the floodgates opened.
Southamptons defence were reduced to a bunch of Schoolboys as the Reds skipped past them, passed round them, and generally beat them for pace, skill and hunger.
United's second came through Wayne Rooney, who blasted the ball home from a clever Giggs pass accross the edge of the penalty area.
And five minutes later, United's golden boy Cristiano Ronaldo volleyed the ball into the corner of the goal to finish a well-worked United move, and to wrap up the three points. Ronaldo should really have scored moments earlier, when he wasted a one-on-one against the Southampton Keeper by trying to cheekily chip the American. The thunderstrike of a goal hopefully spared him a few blushes - not to mention a roasting from Sir Alex!
United now travel to Fenerbahce for the final (unimportant) group game of the Champions League. If they show this kind of form - but perhaps with a more clinical edge - then they can win the Champions League as well!
Man Utd: Carroll, Gary Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Heinze, Ronaldo, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Rooney, Smith (Bellion 62).
Subs not used: Howard, Brown, Miller, Fletcher.
Goals: Scholes 53, Rooney 58, Ronaldo 87.
Southampton: Keller, Nilsson, Jakobsson, Lundekvam, Le Saux, Telfer, Delap (Fernandes 86), Anders Svensson, Higginbotham, Beattie (Blackstock 22), Phillips.
Subs not used: Blayney, Dodd, Crouch.
Ref: B Knight (Kent).