United wreak revenge
Striker finds form to wipe memory of hammering
MANCHESTER UNITED 3
(Van Persie 27, Falcao 32, Morgan 44 og)
LEICESTER CITY 1
Robin van Persie ended his dry spell with a spectacular finish that propelled Manchester United to a comfortable win over Leicester City.
Van Persie scored his first goal for over a month to put United ahead and Radamel Falcao got on the scoresheet before Wes Morgan’s own-goal sealed the win which moved Louis van Gaal’s men up to third in the Premier League.
Marcin Wasilewski scored in the second half, but Leicester were unable to pull off another great comeback as they did in the first meeting, when they won 5-3 in September.
Van Persie spoke candidly this week about how disappointed he was with his form this season. The Dutchman said his performances had not been up to scratch and conceded he did not know if he had done enough to earn a contract extension.
But yesterday he looked something like the Van Persie who scored 30 goals in his debut season at the club. The Dutchman watched Daley Blind’s chip pass over his left shoulder before expertly stabbing the ball past Mark Schwarzer with his right boot.
Replays showed the 31-year-old may have been slightly offside, but he did not care.
Falcao rounded off a move which Van Persie started five minutes later and the three points were in the bag at half-time after Morgan turned Wayne Rooney’s corner into his own net.
The win – and the fact that they scored three goals – will give confidence to Van Gaal’s team, who had scored only five goals in their previous six matches.
For the first 20 minutes, United looked just as flat as they did in their last home match, the 1-0 defeat to Southampton.
The tempo was slightly quicker, but Leicester goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer remained untested early on.
The home fans became annoyed at their team for not going on the attack against the bottom team in the division – too often they passed the ball sideways or backwards.
Nothing seemed to be going for the hosts, and Rooney’s attempted crossfield pass ended up in the East Stand.
Angel di Maria showed his class by chesting down a Leicester clearance, but he followed it up with a volley into the crowd too.
The home supporters needed a goal to lift their spirits and Van Persie delivered it in spectacular fashion just before the half-hour. Blind pinched the ball off Andrej Kramaric and chipped a clever ball over the Leicester back four towards Van Persie. The striker showed true class by watching the ball over his shoulder before stabbing past Schwarzer.
Five minutes later, United doubled their lead. Van Persie started the move, brushing his man off to find Di Maria. Schwarzer spilled the Argentinian’s shot and Falcao scrambled home his fourth goal of the season just before Ritchie Da Laet and Wasilewski could intercept.
United were now playing at their freeflowing brilliant best, and Falcao and Di Maria exchanged passes in a counterattack, but could not test Schwarzer.
With Leonardo Ulloa isolated up front, Leicester could offer little on the attack and two minutes before the break they found themselves 3-0 down.
Rooney’s corner skidded off the head of Blind and Morgan, who was caught out by the flick-on, accidentally diverted the ball into his own net.
Just after bringing Esteban Cambiasso off the bench at the break, the Foxes hit United on the counter, but Kramaric’s bicycle kick failed spectacularly.
United remained by far the superior team though, and Adnan Januzaj saw his swirling 25-yard shot dip just over Schwarzer’s bar.
Leicester finally pulled one back when Wasilewski headed in, but there was no time for another comeback.
Delighted Carver is handed first win
HULL CITY 0
NEWCASTLE UNITED 3
(Cabella 40, Ameobi 50, Gouffran 78)
Second-half goals from Sammy Ameobi and Yoan Gouffran ensured John Carver’s reign as permanent Newcastle head coach got off to a flying start with victory over Hull City at the KC Stadium.
Carver, without a win in four games in caretaker charge, watched Remy Cabella open his Magpies account after pouncing on an Andy Robertson error 10 minutes before half-time.
Carver said: “Everybody has re-focused because they know I am now the head coach, and I hope we are going to go forward.”
Hull contributed a whiff of controversy when Ahmed Elmohamady punched a Gaston Ramirez free-kick into the net in the first-half, only to be booked for his troubles after his indiscretion was spotted by an eagle-eyed assistant.