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Rooney Gives United First Half Lead

Rooney has been the main man for United

Wayne Rooney gave Manchester United a first half lead in the mega Premier League clash against current champions Chelsea.

Sir Alex Ferguson went in with the same side that beat Wigan Athletic 4-0 over the weekend. This meant that Chris Smalling retained his place in central defence as a deputy for Rio Ferdinand. Javier Hernandez was also rewarded for his enthusiasm and attitude over long spells of the season to date.

Chelsea flew out of the traps and could have had a good chance inside the first minute. Ashley Cole knocked the ball over the top for Fernando Torres who slammed the ball into the penalty area only for Nemanja Vidic to make a telling intervention.

Florent Malouda then had a clear chance to score in the fifth minute but sent his shot straight at Edwin Van Der Saar. Nicolas Anelka did well to keep the ball out on the right before putting his fellow Frenchman in with a great chance on the edge of the area.

Chelsea looked by far the better side and Malouda was again in the play just after ten minutes. He nudged the ball to Michael Essien on the edge of the United box but Essien couldn’t get any power into his shot and the ball was diverted behind for a corner.

United’s first real opportunity didn’t come until just before the 20 minute point. Javier Hernandez and Patrice Evra combined well with the left back rolling the ball across the face of the goal. Wayne Rooney was just a little too far away to turn the ball in.

United’s best chance of the first-half came courtesy of Nani who was playing down the left. The Portuguese winger found some space before putting in a sublime cross, Rooney went up for the header and caught the ball on the wrong side of his head which caused it to loop harmlessly out.

Both teams were attacking well and it was a mistake in the Chelsea midfield that also cost them dearly. A bad pass gave Rooney the chance to run at the defence, he shifted out wide to Darren Fletcher who put the ball in behind the Chelsea back four. David Luiz got a block in with Hernandez waiting to tap into an empty net.

Rooney put United ahead with a superb strike on the half hour. He controlled a pass from Nani well and was allowed too much time and space from 25 yards out. He shot at goal and pinged the ball into the corner of the net, the  only place that Petr Cech couldn’t reach it.

United could and should have doubled their advantage with the half-time break approaching. Nani whipped in a free kick from around 40 yards out, Rooney darted to the near post and flicked the ball on. Any United player that gambled would have had a tap in.

Chelsea should have equalised just after 40 minutes through a free kick of their own. Frank Lampard had a shot from a narrow angle from a dead ball. Van Der Saar made the save but pushed the ball onto Ivanovic, Van Der Saar then stuck out a hand while laying on the floor to get the ball away.


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