Manchester United-Birmingham City: Carlos Tevez Shines in Devils Win

Nick Duckworth@@nickyduckyCorrespondent IJanuary 1, 2008

With a loss to West Ham still fresh in fans' minds and Arsenal back on top of the EPL, Manchester United faced a must-win game against Birmingham City on Tuesday.

And with Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, and Paul Scholes all out, Sir Alex Ferguson sent a clear message by playing Cristiano Ronaldo in an attacking role just behind Carlos Tevez.

Park Ji Sung also made his first start since returning from injury, with Nani and Anderson rounding out the attack—in a testament to United's depth up front.

The Red Devils were in control for most of the game en route to a 1-0 win.

Ronaldo had 10 attempts on net, and came close to adding to his impressive goal tally with a dipping volley from the edge of the area that whistled a foot over the bar.

Birmingham, to their credit, were very effective in their counterattack. If it hadn't been for their lack of conviction in the final third, the match could have been a much trickier one.

Tevez turned in a virtuoso performance, linking up with Ronaldo very well on many occasions, including the goal.

On the scoring play, Tevez lobbed a beautiful pass to his running mate, who sent it back with a delicious back-heel. Tevez promptly slotted the ball into the bottom corner, then celebrated by putting a pink pacifier in his mouth.

The second half saw United dominate without going into overdrive. Tevez was excellent, Nani wowed the crowd with his close-touch skills, and Ronaldo produced a few more shots on goal.

All in all, the game was a welcome reminder of the beautiful football United can play—and didn't ever look to be in danger of ending the way the West Ham match did.