Wolves 0 Manchester United 1: Scholes in the 100 club as Berbatov shows a ton of class

07 March 2010 10:08
With the Wembley pitch having 'killed' Wayne Rooney and also having brought a premature end to Michael Owen's season, Sir Alex Ferguson was looking for men to step forward at Molineux.

Paul Scholes obliged with the winning goal that elevated him into the select club who have struck a century in the Barclays Premier League. What passes for Ferguson's first-choice back four also passed muster, although Wes Brown's injury will be a worry.

Century-maker: Paul Scholes celebrates his winning goal against Wolves

Apart from the sight of the league table, it was from an unusual source that Manchester United's boss must have gleaned most pleasure on Saturday night: His No 9.

For all the barbs directed towards Dimitar Berbatov, he gave a performance on a bumpy, rutted pitch to show that he really does care.

No lack of effort: Dimitar Berbatov puts in a shift against Wolves

There were signs during last week's Carling Cup final, in which AstonVilla's James Collins and Richard Dunne had trouble dealing with hismovement, that he was beginning to appreciate the responsibility thatcomes with the shirt.

Although he only just overshadowed Kevin Doyle for the man of the matchon Saturday, it was the quality of his link-up play that just gave himthe nod.

But with Rooney and Owen absent and Federico Macheda workinghis way back to fitness, the onus was on Berbatov to deliver.

Rio Ferdinand, who reported himself to be 'niggle-free' at the final whistle, was asked whether he was impressed by the Bulgarian's work-ethic and replied: 'I wasn't, no. If you look at the statistics you'll see that he's one of the hardest runners in our team. That he covers the most ground.

'He's a bit languid but he really puts the effort in. If you see him at the training ground, he's always in the gym.

'It's just his style of play. People see a different side to him but I don't think that it actually reflects his importance to the team. He's appreciated by us and that's the most important thing.

'I thought he was brilliant here today. For one player to play up front on his own and occupy their back four the way he did was testament to his quality.'

That said, it was possible to dispute Ferguson's assertion that Manchester United deserved to win. For 73 minutes there had been little in it. Then Jody Craddock and Christophe Berra got themselves into a muddle and Scholes slammed home.

MATCH FACTS WOLVES (4-5-1): Hahnemann 6; Zubar 6, Craddock 6, Berra 5, Ward 6(Keogh 83min); Foley 6, Henry 7, Guedioura 6 (Ebanks-Blake 83), Jones5, Jarvis 7 (Vokes 88); Doyle 8. Booked: Craddock, Jones.MAN UNITED (4-5-1): Van der Sar 6; Brown 6 (Neville 46, 7), Ferdinand7, Vidic 6, Evra 6; Scholes 6, Gibson 5 (Diouf 73, 5), Valencia 7,Carrick 7, Nani 6 (Park 74, 6); Berbatov 8. Booked: Vidic.Man of the match: Dimitar Berbatov.Referee: Peter Walton.

When the Manchester United manager looks back this morning he will be immensely satisfied that arguably his first-choice back four kept a clean sheet after playing together for the first time in 18 months.

Three seasons ago, his side laid the foundation for their title success with a series of single-goal victories. And, although Wolves can feel hard done by, particularly after Sam Vokes' injury-time horror miss, one goal was always likely to be enough.

Wolves' achilles heel remains their inability to score. They have failed to find the net now in 13 games and with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake's supply having dried up and Chris Iwelumo farmed out to Bristol City, there are precious few in Mick McCarthy's side with the experience of finding the net regularly.

Doyle said: 'We have got to just keep doing what we are and we honestly believe we have enough to stay up. We have 10 games left and probably need to win four of them.'

 Martin Samuel: Red Knights? Let's go one better and send for the Barron KnightsDavid Beckham: AC Milan can still beat Manchester United in the Champions LeagueManchester United in swoop for Belgian defender Vermijl from Standard LiegeFirst the ton, then the title! Manchester United centurion Paul Scholes targets Premier League after personal gloryMANCHESTER UNITED FC

Source: Daily_Mail

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 08:44