Carroll's hit parade: De Gea and Evra feel the full force of striker in collisions that left Fergie furious (and Vidic got a crack, too)
20:11 GMT, 17 April 2013
21:10 GMT, 17 April 2013
After some lightweight performances earlier in the season, Manchester United have slowly been toughening up young goalkeeper David de Gea to cope with the rigours of the English game.
But no amount of steak and shoulder presses could prepare Spaniard for an Andy Carroll special.
The England striker clattered into De Gea shortly before half-time in this evening's match between West Ham and United at Upton Park, also taking down Patrice Evra in the process.
Collision course: David de Gea manages to punch the ball clear, but Andy Carroll (right) is already in full flight
Face-to-face: There's no going back as the Spanish keeper and the England striker hurtle towards each other
Smack! De Gea comes off far worse as Carroll smashes into him, with Patrice Evra sandwiched underneath
Both United players were left nursing bruises on the ground following the forceful barge from behind, which left Sir Alex Ferguson furious on the sidelines as referee Lee Probert declined to show Carroll a yellow.
In a sign that his 'bulking-up' programme is working, 22-year-old De Gea had come through a cluster of bodies to commandingly punch clear a corner before Carrol knocked him down.
It was very different earlier in the
season when opponents would target the keeper as a weak link and
occasionally benefit – notably when a last minute blunder cost United
three points at Spurs back in January.
remonstrated with the fourth official over the incident as the two
teams left the field at half-time and no doubt would have been satisfied
when Carroll was booked early in the second period for another tangle
with De Gea.
But the England striker was not finished there, appearing to catch United defender Nemanja Vidic with his elbow, leaving the Serb furious.
Grounded: Phil Jones, Robin van Persie and Rio Ferdinand appeal as those involved crash to the pitch
Furious: Sir Alex Ferguson remonstrates with officials after referee Lee Probert failed to show a yellow card
Round two! Carroll was booked for this collision with De Gea early in the second half
Given the elbow Carroll and Vidic go up for the ball and the West Ham striker appears to catch his opponent