Premier League Preview: Manchester United vs. Hull City
The Tigers travel to the "Field of Dreams" on Jan. 23 to take on Manchester United. In the clubs last meeting, less than one month ago at Hull City's K.C. Stadium, the current reigning Premiership Champions beat Yorkshire's finest through an inspired display by their England International striker Wayne Rooney.
Rooney, who scored the Red Devils' first, led from the front with some masterful play, and it was his goal in stoppage time of the first half that separated the two sides.
However, the Tigers may have felt aggrieved to go in at one goal down after a spirited performance where the Manchester United forwards hardly got a look of the ball with Anthony Gardner, and Kamil Zayette playing like giants against some of the footballing world's finest.
This didn't last and as the Tiger's grew weary and had a slight loss of concentration as the first half drew to a close the Red machine took advantage despite Hull City's efforts.
On the hour mark, Rooney made a horror back pass to the Manchester United keeper Tomasz Kuszczak, which Craig Fagan rounded on but was forced wide. Fagan crossed the ball to the far post and as the American striker Jozy Altidore connected with the ball, Rafael made a clear push on the American. Alan Wiley the Referee had no doubt and blew for a penalty.
Craig Fagan, who had been a thorn in Manchester United's side all afternoon, slotted the ball away to level the scores. Wayne Rooney looked over at the Manchester United bench and Sir Alex Ferguson with a look of fear that his error had level the scores.
However, in the response to his error, Rooney was magnificent in getting the Red Devils back in the game and his efforts made both goals for the Champions, that gave them the victory at 3-1 with an own goal from Andy Dawson and Dimitar Berbatov.
Ferguson will be happy to see the return of Rio Ferdinand, but he will have to have worked very hard on the training ground to dislodge Wes Brown who has been fantastic in Ferdinand's absence. Unfortunately, the Manchester United manager will be without Owen Hargreaves yet again because of his long standing knee injury, and John O'Shea who has a thigh injury and Nemanja Vidic who is suffering from a nerve problem in his leg.
The Yorkshiremen have a few injuries themselves with Kamil Zayette expected to get a late fitness test on an ankle injury. However, there is no chance of a return to action for Jimmy Bullard and club captain Ian Ashbee who are on the long term injury list.
Daniel Cousin and Seyi Olofinjana are at the Africa Cup of Nations representing their countries, but new signing, Amr Zaki who represents Egypt missed the tournament through injury is still working on match fitness. He should be ready for a place in the first team squad in time for next weeks fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Both managers will be hoping for three points from the tie but one will have a much better chance of claiming the spoils. Hull City have only ever won once at Old Trafford; an FA Cup game in 1952. At the start of that match, Man U were 2nd in the First Division and ended up as champions, Hull City were 21st in the 2nd division. A remarkable result given those starting positions !
Phil Brown will be hoping that his team will be able to give the Red Devils more of a fright than last season where the teams were involved in a seven goal thriller with Ferguson's footballing aristocrats hanging on for grim death at the end of 90 minutes.
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