Premier League

December 31, 2011


Man Utd

2 - 3


Premier League

12:45 +00:00, December 31, 2011

Old Trafford, England

Referee: Mike Dean

  • 94'

    FT Fergie must finally realise that De Gea is not currently up to standard and the Blackburn fans need to deal with the fact that Kean's team have now drawn at Anfield and won at Old Trafford.

  • 94'

    FT however, it's probably safe to say that if Fergie had stuck with goalkeeper Lindegaard rather than restoring De Gea then United would have at least a draw and be top of the league.

  • 94'

    FT Three points for Blackburn move them off the foot of the table and prevents United going top, ahead of Manchester City.

  • 94'

    That's it! The final whistle blows and Blackburn have bagged themselves a shock 3-2 victory at Old Trafford.

  • 94'

    ..... the ball drops to Jones, who shoots only to see his effort blocked by Evra, who is still lying on the ground.

  • 93'

    Evra connects with the corner with a diving header but it's saved...

  • 92'

    Very few ideas from United as time ticks away. Keane wins a corner.

  • 91'

    United continue to probe but there is no way through as yet.

  • 90'

    Evra drives forward and then gives the ball away. Anderson chases back to deny Petrovic a chance to shoot.

  • 89'

    Valencia's cross is cut out at the near post with three team-mates waiting on the penalty spot.

  • 88'

    Blackburn make their final change. Yakubu goes off and young Jordan Slew comes on.

  • 87'

    Jones is pushed right up the pitch on the flank now but when the ball comes to him, his cross is atrocious.

  • 86'

    Lowe keeps the ball in the corner for Blackburn as time ticks away for United.

  • 85'

    Blackburn also make a change. Formica goes of and Scotland international Goodwillie comes on.

  • 84'

    United make a change. Rafael goes off and 18-year-old Will Keane comes on.

  • 83'

    ...He takes it himself. Samba fails to clear and Berbatov heads over the bar at the far post.

  • 82'

    Valencia wins a corner...

  • 81'

    I don't thing De Gea has done one thing successfully today. He looks like he may have cost his team points.

  • 80'

    From a corner, De Gea is beaten to the ball by Hanley, who also wins the second ball to head in Blackburn's third goal. Absolutely rubbish from De Gea though.

  • 79'

    GOAL Hanley for Rovers!

  • 78'

    Henley gets forward with style. He skips past Carrick in the United box but Jones comes across to block his shot.

  • 77'

    Nani does really well to keep the ball in play. Rafael stumbles in the penalty box but it certainly isn't a foul.

  • 76'

    Blackburn goalkeeper Bunn is going to get booked for time wasting very soon, I would think.

  • 75'

    Evra chips the ball down the line for Berbatov to chase. Samba out-paces the striker and clears the danger.

  • 74'

    Valencia beats Henley again and Lowe hooks the ball over his own bar. From the corner Valencia blasts a shot over the bar.

  • 73'

    Carrick comes out from the back to try a long shot but his effort is blocked behind for a corner.

  • 72'

    From the corner Hanley beats De Gae to the ball but his glancing header goes wide.

  • 71'

    Formica drives through the midfield and shoots from long-range. His effort is deflected wide by Carrick's knee.

  • 70'

    Nani beats Hanley and crosses to the near post. The angle is too acute for Welbeck to get a decent shot on goal.

  • 69'

    Blackburn are back in possession and happily slow down the action as they pass it around the side.

  • 68'

    A draw would not seem enough for United now as they throw everything forward to try and get the win.... but they must watch out at the back.

  • 66'

    Valencia crosses and Jones heads wide from about 12-yards out.

  • 65'

    Nani does really well to beat three men on the flank but then his cross is poor. Berbatov keeps possession for United.

  • 64'

    Backs against the wall for Rovers as Berbatov shoots and his effort is hooked clear by Lowe.

  • 63'

    Valencia breaks again. He chips the ball to the back post for Welbeck, who nods it down to Nani. The winger's shot takes a deflection and goes wide.

  • 62'

    Well it's 2-2 now and you would expect United to be the next team to score. Rovers are rocked.

  • 61'

    GOAL Berbatov scores! Valencia beats young Henley on the outside and crosses for Berbatov to divert into the net.

  • 59'

    Blackburn are keeping possession well and making United chase all over the pitch.

  • 58'

    Stat Berbatov's strike is Manchester United's 1500th goal in the Premier League.

  • 57'

    Berbatov is fired up and wins the ball back for United with a great tackle.

  • 56'

    Nani picks up the ball and puts it down for Bunn to take a goalkick. Bunn picks it up and moves it to the other side. Rovers time-wasting already.

  • 55'

    Petrovic gets booked after a series of niggly fouls on Anderson. Not before time.

  • 54'

    Blackburn make a change. Rochina goes off and on comes a very fresh faced defender, Josh Morris.

  • 53'

    Evra drives into the box on the left flank and forces Bunn to make a good save with his feet at the near post.

  • 52'

    Well it's all happening now! The crowd have found there voice, United are in full flow and it looks like the game has finally come to life.

  • 51'

    GOAL Berbatov scores! Rafael mis-hits a shot and Berbatov stoops to head in from close-range.

  • 50'

    Blackburn 2-0 up at Old Trafford.

  • 49'

    GOAL Yakubu scores! Carrick fails to clear, Jones makes a poor tackle and Yakubu beats De Gea in a one-on-one.

  • 48'

    Nani cuts in from the left and curls a shot over the crossbar... leaving Berbatov screaming in disgust as he was unmarked and waiting for a through-ball.

  • 48'

    Right, so Anderson has dropped into central midfield. Nani has shifted out to the left and Welbeck is in attack with Berbatov.

  • 47'

    Lowe takes out Nani on the edge of the area and gets booked.

  • 46'

    United have made a change. Anderson has come on for Hernandez, so presumably Welbeck will now play up front.

  • 46'

    Blackburn get the second-half underway.

  • 45'

    HT What's that they say about lies, damned lies and statistics? Here's one for the Rovers fans: Man United have lost the last three Premier League home matches in which they have been behind at the break.

  • 45'

    HT The good news for United fans is that Blackburn have dropped more points from winning positions than any other team in the Premier League this season.

  • 45'

    HT Not much in terms of experience on the bench for Fergie but maybe one of the youngsters can add a dynamic spark for United.

  • 45'

    HT Lots of huff and puff in possession from United but they only looked like scoring in the final few minutes of the half. United need to up the tempo as Blackburn are certainly there for the taking.

  • 45'

    HT Well it maybe Fergie's birthday but it's opposite number Steve Kean who has been given the gift of a 1-0 lead at Old Trafford.

  • 45'

    ...Nani delivers a good corner to the penalty spot but there isn't a single United player there to challenge.

  • 45'

    Evra wins a corner as the half heads to an end...

  • 44'

    Samba makes a great header to deny Hernandez an almost certain goal from a Nani cross.

  • 44'

    United have a freekick to the right of the box. Nani takes, Hernandez controls the ball and Bunn makes a save at his near post.

  • 43'

    Nani collects and Evra cross. He shifts the ball out of his feet and toe-pokes a shot at goal that Bunn is forced to save. Much better from Nani!

  • 42'

    Yakubu and Jones enjoy a real tussle for the ball. Jones wins it and that's the first thing the Old Trafford crowd have really had to shout about.

  • 41'

    Formica breaks for Rovers. Rochina gets himself a bit of space on the edge of the box but drags a harmless shot well wide.

  • 40'

    Evra and Park link up well on the left flank but it results in another predictable cross from United that Blackburn head clear.

  • 39'

    Nani claims for a corner and doesn't get it. He really really really needs to start firing.

  • 38'

    Rochina makes a promising break for Blackburn, but Carrick mops up at the back for United.

  • 35'

    Nani has been at the centre of everything today but his final ball and shooting have been well below par.

  • 34'

    Sir Alex Ferguson enjoys his pre-match 70th birthday tribute at Old Trafford

  • 33'

    It looks like Blackburn might get some joy from set pieces with Berbatov marking Samba.

  • 32'

    Samba beats Berbatov to a corner. De Gae fumbles the ball but the whistle blows for a foul on the United keeper.

  • 31'

    Welbeck and Hernandez combine in the box. The ball is played back to Nani, who lashes a shot well over the bar. He really had time to at least hit the target there. He needs to get some composure in this game.

  • 30'

    Henley takes a blow in the family jewels as he blocks a cross from Valencia. He's okay though.

  • 29'

    Formica musters a 35-yard shot for Blackburn but it's well wide. Formica claims a corner, the ref says no.

  • 28'

    One-way traffic at the moment. But still no real cutting edge from United.

  • 27'

    Evra passes to Hernandez on the edge of the box. He turns well but shoots wide of the far post.

  • 26'

    Berbatov flicks on a corner, Jones shoots from close-range but Hanley makes a great block. Good last-ditch defending from Rovers.

  • 25'

    now they do with Rochina, who actually shoots from just after the half-way line.

  • 24'

    Blackburn can't get out of their own half.

  • 23'

    Nani whips in a cross but it's too close to Bunn, who comes off his line to collect the ball.

  • 22'

    Carrick gets booked for a foul on Formica.

  • 21'

    Evra races on to a pass from Welbeck and goes down in the box. No penalty given, and rightly so.

  • 20'

    Lots of possession for United but there is nothing really happening in the Blackburn box for the homeside.

  • 19'

    ...Nani back-heels the ball to Jones, whose shot strikes a massed Blackburn defence. Poor choice of options there.

  • 19'

    United win a freekick on the edge of the box. Nani will take it....

  • 18'

    Stat: Manchester United have never lost a Premier League match at Old Trafford over the Christmas period (Dec 25 - Jan 6),winning 24 and drawing five.

  • 17'

    You could argue that Samba fouled Berbatov before he had his shirt pulled, but there was no mistake from Yakubu. Totally against the run of play though.

  • 16'

    GOAL Yakubu scores from the spot. De Gae had no chance.

  • 15'

    PENALTY to Blackburn. Berbatov pulls Samba's shirt and the ref gives it.

  • 14'

    Evra's touch is too heavy and he fouls Formica. The United man is lucky not to get booked.

  • 13'

    ...Carrick meets the corner at the near post but goalkeeper Bunn makes a good block.

  • 12'

    Valencia wins a corner. Nani takes it....

  • 11'

    Not much happening for Blackburn's midfield, who are being bamboozled by Welbeck.

  • 10'

    Clearly frustrated, Nani fouls Yakubu as he attempts to win back the ball.

  • 9'

    Nani takes a very poor freekick that goes straight to the Blackburn wall.

  • 8'

    Valencia, who seems to be playing at right-back at the moment with Rafael more advanced in midfield, races down the flank and crosses for Nani, who once again wastes possession.

  • 7'

    Rovers striker Yakubu runs at make-shift centre-back Carrick but the United man is up to the challenge and makes a good tackle.

  • 6'

    Park flicks the ball to Nani, who lines up a shot from 25-yards out but blasts his effort well wide.

  • 5'

    Welbeck passes the ball to the near post. Hernandez has a shot blocked and so does Nani before Blackburn clear the danger.

  • 4'

    Nani gives 17-year-old Blackburn defender Henley an early test, but the youngsters is up to it.

  • 3'

    Park is certainly putting himself about in the centre of midfield. Bunn rushes of his line and beats Nani to the ball.

  • 2'

    Formica runs into Park and loses the ball. Nani breaks for United and smashes a cross/shot that goes well over Bunn's crossbar.

  • 1'

    United get the game underway, kicking from left to right in their famous kit. Blackburn sport their black and yellow away strip.


    Now a toe-curling rendition of 'happy birthday' for Fergie. I hope the football is better.


    Some truly cheesey carol singing taking place at Old Trafford at the moment as the players emerge from the tunnel.


    Fergie says Rooney has missed a few days of training with niggles and that is why he hasn't been picked.... I was so looking forward to him bursting out that cake too.


    Blackburn Rovers may have won both of their previous Premier League matches on New Year's Eve but they are not being given much hope in the ESPN TV studio.


    More pre-match reading, and a shamless plug for yours truly, why not check out Off The Ball's end of year awards, featuring hot zombies from Getafe and Ronaldo in a nappy.


    Blackburn are missing injured duo David Dunn and Junior Hoilett from the side that drew at Liverpool on Boxing Day, but they will be hoping for a similar result at Old Trafford.


    Whilst Rooney is waiting to jump out of a cake and you're waiting for kick-off, why not Choose your best Prem XI of 2011


    .... yes it's a joke.


    Just read on twitter (@MirrorFootball) that Rooney isn't in starting line-up so he can jump out of Fergie's cake at half-time...


    And Ferguson has said that he expects to be at Old Trafford for a while yet: Fergie targets three more years


    We also have to give a substantial nod to Sir Alex Ferguson, who celebrates his 70th birthday today and is only the second manager to reach this milestone in the Premier League era after Sir Bobby Robson.


    Here's a full preview of today's game from ESPNsoccernet's James Dall: Man Utd v Blackburn


    Blackburn also have a few fresh faces in their side. Bunn; Lowe, Samba, Hanley, Henley; Nzonzi; Formica, Petrovic, Rochina, Pedersen; Yakubu


    The full United side is thus: De Gea; Rafael, Carrick, Jones, Evra; Valencia, Park, Nani, Welbeck; Berbatov, Hernandez.


    It would also appear that Park and Valencia will play out of position in central midfield.


    Michael Carrick will play at centre-back for United, who have ten players out injured. Phil Jones also starts in the centre of defence against his former club.