United eased through the gears to beat Blackpool at Old Trafford this afternoon and in the process send Blackpool down to the Championship
Sir Alex put to bed any fears of fielding a weakened side, ahead of the clash with Barcelona next Saturday, by selecting a starting eleven brimming with talent and a bench most teams would die for.
Team – Van der Sar, Evra, Vidic, Evans, Rafael, Anderson, Park, Nani, Scholes, Fletcher, Berbatov
Subs – Lindegaard, Ferdinand, Smalling, Valencia, Gibson, Owen, Rooney
United got the half underway but should have been a goal down after thirty-odd seconds. Scholes gave the ball away and when Adam curled in a great cross Southern could only shoot wide.
United responded with a smart volley from Park that Gilks did well to save before Blackpool, pushing forward again, saw a dangerous cross from Adam just avoid Taylor-Fletcher.
Berbaotv then created a chance for himself with some nifty footwork only for Gilks to pull off a fine save from close range. With twenty-one minutes gone though, United went ahead when a Berbatov ball into the middle found the advancing Park and he chipped his effort over the keeper.
United 1 Blackpool 0 (Park – 21 minutes)
Blackpool responded well though with some neat build up work and Adam went for the virtually impossible by trying to lob Van der Sar from the half way line, thankfully the effort sailed just over the bar.
Gilks was once again forced to save from Berbatov before Mike Dean missed a clear penalty when Adam clearly tripped Park in the box. Five minutes before half time though Taylor-Fletcher won a free kick in a dangerous place, outside the box. Adam steppe dup and curled a beautiful low shot into the net, with the ball hitting the inside of the post before going in.
United 1 Blackpool 1 (Adam – 40 minutes)
Half Time – United 1 Blackpool 1
Sir Alex introduced Smalling for Rafael at half time but it was Blackpool that got off to a good start. DJ Campbell was fouled in a dangerous position and Adam forced Van der Sar to tip the blistering drive over the bar. The visitors forced three corners in quick succession but United held firm.
Evra, with a great chip into the six yard box saw Baptiste turn his header over the bar before Blackpool took a shock lead when Taylor Fletcher netted with a slick flick after good work involving Vaughan and Puncheon.
United 1 Blackpool 2 (Taylor-Fletcher – 57 minutes)
Blackpool held the lead for a mere five minutes though with Anderson unleashing a curling shot, past Gilks, after a great assist from Park.
United 2 Blackpool 2 (Anderson – 62 minutes)
Sir Alex then took off Park and introduced Owen. Gilks produced a great one handed save to deny Berbatov before Nani won a free kick that saw a Scholes shot blocked. A Smalling ball in then saw Nani head well wide form a great position.
But the siege on the Blackpool game was to give United the lead soon after when another ball in from Smalling was turned into his own goal by Evatt.
United 3 Blackpool 2 (Evatt og – 74 minutes)
Blackpool now had to chase the game to stand any chance of staying up and Van der Sar did well to get a block in when Evatt tried to make amends. But with nine minutes of normal time left United scored a fourth when Anderson split the Blackpool defence with a through ball that saw Owen fire home.
United 4 Blackpool 2 (Owen – 81 minutes)
Vidic, who had been slightly limping earlier, was replaced by Rooney before, with time now running out, a Phillips ball in was crewed wide by Ormerod.
Four minutes of stoppage time was announced and still the action flowed with Gilks watching Berbatov fire over from a good position and Varney rattling the woodwork with a cracking effort.
And then the celebrations began.
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