With Chelsea starting the day with a goal difference which bettered ours by 2, it was really important that we made the most of our chance to score goals.
With Wayne Rooney in the form of his life, you had to believe that was going to be possible.
With just seven minutes played, Rooney was clearly shoved over in the box but the referee waved play on. The ref couldn’t have had a better view of the incident but clearly didn’t want to add insult to injury to poor Pompey.
Before we opened the scoring, our opponents had a go down the other end, with Gary Neville left in no man’s land and Jonny Evans clearing off the line.
Nev would have been disappointed that when making one of his very few positive contributions to the game, Dimitar Berbatov messed it up. Antonio Valencia played Neville in as he sprinted in to the box and pulled back a perfect ball for Berb to slot away. We were all in our feet in celebration before realising the Bulgarian had somehow managed to miss. It was dreadful. He would make amends later.
Neville’s second positive contribution of the game did pay off though, which him taking the corner short to Valencia, who passed to Darren Fletcher, who went on to put a perfect cross in to the box. Not known for his ability to score headers, Wayne Rooney made no mistake with David “England no.1” James rooted to the spot.
Then just before half time we added a second, which only reflected our domination of the game. Nani, who has transformed in to a pretty handy looking player over the past few weeks, ran in to the penalty area, stepovers a plenty, only for his cross to Berbatov deflected in to the back of the net.
The move that most deserved a goal came in the second half, with Valencia running at pace towards the box. He passed to Berbatov who flicked the ball over the two defenders to land perfectly at Valencia’s feet. It was an absolutely inch perfect ball, which managed to escape the jumping defenders without being played too far ahead of Valencia. James spread himself well though and Valencia couldn’t find the net.
The third goal finally did come with less than an hour played, with the Portsmouth defence giving Michael Carrick all the room he needed. He brought the ball forward before leathering it towards the goal. It caught an opponent on the way though, forcing the shot up against the cross bar before crashing down over the line.
The fourth goal was my personal favourite of the game, as it made so many people around me look foolish. Berbatov ran in to the box and bided his time, waiting for the opportunity to pass or shoot. “What the fuck are you doing??” the shouts were around me. “Fuck sake, pass it!” and “He’s so shit!” from others. When Berbatov then brought the ball back outside the box, turned, and found the back of the net with perfection, I can only imagine they felt like total dicks for being so unwilling to support one of our own players.
With twenty minutes to go, Sir Alex Ferguson could afford to make three straight substitutions, bringing off Rooney, Berbatov and Fletcher, obviously with one eye on Villa, and bringing on Michael Owen, Mame Biram Diouf and Darron Gibson.
United were pushing for a fifth goal which came thanks to a great ball in to the box from Patrice Evra. With Diouf waiting to pounce, Portsmouth turned the ball in to the back of their own net.
Diouf should have made it six though, after Owen played in a good ball to leave the youngster one on one with James. He lashed at it wildly though and the ball flew high and wide.
The anti-Glazer protests are growing in number, with even the South stand showing their new green and gold colours. As we sang of our love for United and hate for the Glazers, twirling our scarves over our heads, you would have to forgive someone who didn’t recognise our ground as Old Trafford. A sea of green and gold, hardly any red in sight, showing just how keenly this protest has been taken on board.
The singing started an hour before kick-off outside the ground though, with hundreds of our fans gathering around the Munich clock to remember the Babes, who lost their lives 52 years ago.
It would be nice to say we put on a performance that would make the Babes proud. It’s always great to score five goals but we can’t get too excited given the poor quality of our opposition. The most important thing from the game was putting ourselves in a much better position in terms of goals, meaning we’re ready to pounce whenever Chelsea finally drop points. I had hoped our thrashing of Arsenal would create a reaction for their match against Chelsea, however the blues handled them easily.
We’ll learn much more about our title challenge in our coming matches away to Villa and Everton. Villa weren’t very impressive against Spurs at the weekend whilst Everton didn’t ever look like scoring against 10 man Liverpool. Of course, this doesn’t mean we’re in for an easy ride, but maybe it’s a good time to play these teams. Chelsea travel to Goodison Park next so we’ll have a further clue to how we should get on.
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