Tag Archives: giggs

Chelsea v Manchester United FA Cup live

FA CUP LIVE: Chelsea v Manchester United – the quarter-final replay as it happens from Stamford Bridge

-1907FBDC000005DC-228_634x419.jpg” width=”634″ height=”419″ alt=”One last push: Sir Alex Ferguson urges his side to press after Demba Ba's goal put Chelsea on course to Wembley” class=”blkBorder” />

One last push: Sir Alex Ferguson urges his side to press after Demba Ba's goal put Chelsea on course to Wembley

68min: It should be 2-0. That was a big, big miss from Hazard. He pounces on a sloppy Michael Carrick pass and drives towards goal. He drags a shot wide of De Gea's post from just inside the area. He has got to hit the target there and should really have beaten De Gea from that range.

65min: Ryan Giggs has replaced Nani now. The Portugal winger was pretty shoddy today. He offered so little and I'd love to see his pass completion stats. Ferguson won't be happy with his man, that's for sure.

var timeout = setTimeout(“location.reload(true);”,120000);
function resetTimeout()
clearTimeout(timeout);
timeout = setTimeout(“location.reload(true);”,120000);

64min: Neil Ashton is glad to see Tom Cleverley subbed for Van Persie.

He adds from Stamford Bridge: 'Cleverley is sacrificed for RVP. Still not sure what Cleverley is supposed to do, yet to see him have a decent game for United or England.

'The latest chants around the ground are “Rio Ferdinand, **** off to Qatar”'

Wonder save: Petr Cech somehow kept Javier Hernandez's header out after Ba's opener

Wonder save: Petr Cech somehow kept Javier Hernandez's header out after Ba's opener

63min: Matt Barlow reports: 'United have reacted to the goal by loosening their formation. The full backs going forward with more adventure and it has created more space for Mata, Oscar and Hazard.'

61: What a save! Javier Hernandez heads from close range at Cech's goal. Somehow the goalkeeper, at full stretch, tips the ball over the bar. One of the saves of the season. Utterly sensational.

Van Persie replaces Cleverley.

Get in: Demba Ba hooks the ball into the net as Rio Ferdinand (left) chases

Get in: Demba Ba hooks the ball into the net as Rio Ferdinand (left) chases

59min: Ryan Bertrand receives Phil Dowd's second yellow card. Cynical from the left back there, as he chops down Javier Hernandez to prevent a break.

Robin van Persie has stripped off and is ready to try to turn this one round for United.

57min: Graham Poll has his view on the Chelsea goal: 'At last some action. Excellent work from assistant Andy Garratt on non-offside for Demba Ba’s goal.

'Absolutely indisputable yellow card for Cleverley for heavy challenge on Ramires.'

56min: The goal has lifted both sides and we can expect a more exciting match from here on in.

United look like they want this one and have upped the ante.

54min: Sami Mokbel believes Ferdinand was culpable for Ba's strike.

He adds: 'Rio won’t be happy with his contribution to Demba Ba’s opener. Got caught napping for a split second and got punished. Great finish, though.'

Neil Ashton also points out that Ferdinand has never won an FA Cup, and may never get the chance should United lose today.

Meanwhile, Tom Cleverley goes into the book for a hefty tackle on Ramires.

52min: The Chelsea fans are in full voice now.

Game on: Demba Ba (left) celebrates after opening the scoring for Chelsea

Game on: Demba Ba (left) celebrates after opening the scoring for Chelsea

Neil Ashton reports they are chanting '”Rio Rio what's the score” coming from the Matthew Harding Stand.

49min: GOAL! CHELSEA 1 Man United 0

What a strike! Juan Mata lifts the ball over the United defence and Demba Ba is onto it. It looks like it's out of his reach but the striker wraps his foot around it and hooks it into the top corner. Wonderful finish.

Sportsmail's Neil Ashton describes it as a 'really special strike'. I can't disagree with that assessment. It's a sublime finish.

48min: Excellent improvisation from Demba Ba there. Ryan Bertrand puts in a speculative ball to the striker who raises a leg to flick the ball goalwards. David de Gea is wise to it and gathers well.

There's still a fizz lacking from this match at the moment. It needs a pick-me-up before this half gets going.

46min: No changes at half-time. United press early on and Phil Jones wins a free-kick on the edge of the area.

But Nani puts the ball into the Chelsea wall.

13.32: KICK-OFF: MANCHESTER UNITED RE-START THE MATCH

13.29: Chelsea have had the better of this one. Just. United never made it out of the blocks and Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez are the only two players who look like causing Chelsea any problems.

Nani has been particularly off colour. A couple of substitutions would liven this tie up.

Meanwhile, the players are back on the pitch and ready for the second half.

13.24: Surprisingly, there haven't been too many talking points so far. These two teams normally serve up thrillers when they meet but it's been anything but that in the first half. Perhaps Robin van Persie was right when he said the players would be too tired for this one.

13.18: Here's Matt Barlow's views on the first half.

'“Handbrakes on” as Arsene Wenger would say in the first half.

'Chelsea have enjoyed the territorial edge but United will not be unduly worried about that. The visitors have looked in control, Smalling and Ferdinand have been strong, and the visitors have threatened on the break.'

On your back: Oscar tries to take the ball from United full back Patrice Evra (front)

On your back: Oscar tries to take the ball from United full back Patrice Evra (front)

13.17: HALF-TIME: CHELSEA 0 MANCHESTER UNITED 0

44min: United have a pretty tenuous penalty claim as Nani goes down unde the challenge of Ryan Bertrand. Graham Poll is having none of it.

He says: 'Nani diving for a penalty and what would have been a red card for Ryan Bertrand – can’t keep him out of the headlines.'

Rivals: John Terry (right0 warms up on the bench as Rio Ferdinand walks across the pitch

Rivals: John Terry (right0 warms up on the bench as Rio Ferdinand walks across the pitch

43min: Sportsmail's Sami Mokbel is at the match too.

He's reporting that both sets of fans have behaved pretty well so far in this one. Good to see but it's a shame the game hasn't really got going yet.

Enjoying it Frank Lampard (right) and John Terry watch from the Chelsea bench during the first half

Enjoying it Frank Lampard (right) and John Terry watch from the Chelsea bench during the first half

41min: Petr Cech gets away with some suspect goalkeeping there. Javier Hernandez pulls the trigger from range and the Czech international dives to the left but ends up saving the shot with his right foot. It almost crept in.

39min: Eden Hazard looks in the mood. He pounces onto a loose ball in the United box and smashes the ball towards goal. But he's put too much on it and it whistles past the post.

38min: Graham Poll is also disappointed with Nani's behaviour.

He says: 'Why kick the ball out There was nothing wrong with Nani and he stayed down to try and prove he’d been hit.

'Hoping for a repeat of the Champions League game; a red card for Nani should help both teams and the game.'

35min: Nani is lying on the floor after a knock from John Obi Mikel. Chelsea put the ball out but Nani is straight up.

Replays show that it was barely even a tap from Mikel and an accidental one at that. Pretty poor conduct from Nani really.

35min: Matt Barlow has spotted John Terry warming up on the touchline.

'JT out to warm up and getting relentless stick from United fans.'

33min: Ramires creates an opening for Ba this time. The Brazil international slides the ball into Ba who should hit the target. Instead, he pulls his shot into the legs of Chris Smalling.

Chelsea have injected a little more urgency into their attacks now as United look stuck in second gear.

Hitting the deck: Ramires (left) and Chris Smalling of Manchester United (right) both go to ground

Hitting the deck: Ramires (left) and Chris Smalling of Manchester United (right) both go to ground

31min: Eden Hazard creates Chelsea's first scoring opportunity. The diminutive playmake wrong-foots Chris Smalling and slips the ball into Demba Ba.

The Senegalese striker fires low and hard but David de Gea sticks a leg out to save well. Excellent work from Hazard.

28min: Javier Hernandez gets his first sight of goal but fails to shoot. The Mexican twists and turns away from David Luiz in the area but looks reluctant to shoot with his left foot.

The striker slips as he tries to work it back onto his right and Chelsea can bundle the ball away.

27min: Ashley Cole injury update from Matt Barlow.

'Cole disappears down the tunnel with a brief shake of his head. Is his injury another episode in the story of intricate pre-planned training programmes

'Cole has been handled carefully by club and country. He travelled with England, didn’t play against San Marino, played against Montenegro, rested against Southampton on Saturday and yet lasted only 20 minutes on a cold day with an early kick-off.'

26min: United have finally lurched into gear. Tom Cleverley is found in acres of space on the left and curls a ball into the area. Ivanovic spots it and boots it away. Much better from the visitors.

Best of enemies: Rafa Benitez and Sir Alex Ferguson (left) shook hands this time

Best of enemies: Rafa Benitez and Sir Alex Ferguson (left) shook hands this time

24min: Former Premier League referee Graham Poll is watching Phil Dowd's performance closely today… and the misfiring Nani.

'If Phil Dowd was performing like any number of players, in particular Nani, there would be an outrage!

'Why is it players can play like this and refs can’t put a foot wrong'

A good point well made. Nani is having a stinker so far. I'm not sure if he's found a pass yet.

21min: United waste a pretty good chance there. Ashley Cole pulls up lame when chasing Danny Welbeck, who finds Nani on the edge.

But the Portugal winger attempts an atrocious pass which is quickly cut out. Shocking.

Cole will be unable to continue, and Ryan Bertrand takes his place. Looks like a hamstring injury.

19min: You can see why Ferguson has deployed Phil Jones in the deep midfield role. He was exceptional there in the Champions League first leg against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. The problem for United is that Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar drift in and out of the wide areas.

15min: Chris Smalling just put his body on the line! Eden Hazard is teed up by Demba Ba for the shot. The Belgian pulls the trigger and it hits the sliding Smalling straight in his private parts. Cue huge cheers from the Chelsea crowd, but it did the job.

In action: Danny Welbeck (left) tries to hold of the challenge from Chelsea midfielder Oscar

In action: Danny Welbeck (left) tries to hold of the challenge from Chelsea midfielder Oscar

14min: Nani hasn't really done much thus far. Former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel has noticed too.

He tweeted: 'Can somebody wake up Nani….!'

13min: United almost showed their prowess in attack. Welbeck burst forward on the left and almost leaves Branislav Ivanovic in his wake. But the Serbian gathers himself and marshals the England international expertly, winning the ball back for the Blues.

9min: Chelsea are having the lion's share of possession so far. United seem happy enough to sit back and settle into this one before pouncing.

We all know how quickly they can break with Welbeck and Hernandez in attack though…

7min: Matt Barlow is keeping a close eye on the fans of each club.

He reports: 'Fans trade a few chants. “Where’s your racist centre half” from United fans. John Terry songs from Chelsea end. Boos for Rio on the ball. '

5min: Chelsea have a trio of players behind Demba Ba that have buckets of flair.

Shake on it: Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole get the formalities over and done with

Shake on it: Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole get the formalities over and done with

Oscar, Mata and Hazard are a handful for any team. Oscar just turns Patrice Evra with aplomb in the United box, but Chris Smalling reads his cross to clear well.

4min: Rio Ferdinand gets his first touch of the ball at the back. A chorus of boos from the Chelsea fans.

2min: It appears Phil Jones will be playing in his adoptive role anchoring in midfield. A potential week spot for United is that Antonio Valencia will deputise at right back in Rafael's absence.

KICK-OFF: CHELSEA GET THE GAME UNDER WAY

Warming up: Manchester United's substitutes gear up for the clash

Warming up: Manchester United's substitutes gear up for the clash

12.28: Matt Barlow's take as the teams are making their way out onto the pitch.

'Teams come out and United fans sing: “Rio, Rio, Rio”.'

And yes, Benitez and Ferguson DID shake hands before kick-off.

12.22: Last time these two sides met, Sir Alex Ferguson walked straight past Rafa Benitez before the match and neglected to shake hands with the Chelsea boss. Rafa says he'll shake on it this time. Let's wait and see.

Ferguson had this to say to ITV on Rooney's injury: 'He got a groin injury playing for England and he wasn't 100 per cent yesterday. There’s no point risking a player with a groin injury.

'Hopefully he'll be ready for next Monday's game.'

12.20: Sportsmail's Matt Barlow is also at the match.

'Sleepy feel inside Stamford Bridge. None of the High Noon electricity you might have expected.

'Kerry Dixon has just presented Frank Lampard with an award for becoming the second Chelsea player to 200 goals for the club. Sure it will warm up.'

12.18: I'm going to have to disagree with Robin van Persie's prediction for this game. The Dutchman believes the players will be too drained from the weekend's schedule to put on a show to remember.

He bemoaned the fixture pile-up ahead of the replay and said: 'These games are just too close to each other.

'People have to realise they can’t expect a great game of football because it is not possible.

'Normally on the second day your muscles are quite bad, but now we have to play at this certain time.

'It is a shame but we can’t do anything about it because there are Champions League games in midweek and Chelsea are still in the Europa League.'

12.14: Further confirmation of Rooney's injury from Neil Ashton at the stadium.

'Rooney is out with a groin injury picked up on England duty.

'United hope he will be back for Monday's game with City, or Sunday's semi-final at Wembley if they make it there.'

12.07: The crowd reaction to Ferdinand will be under the spotlight this afternoon.

Rio's brother Anton was the player Chelsea's John Terry racially abused during last season's game against QPR. Which resulted in a four-game ban for the centre half, who rigorously denied any wrongdoing and was cleared of criminal charges for the on-pitch incident.

12.06: Sportsmail's Neil Ashton is at Stamford Bridge for this one, and he's got some news from the stadium.

He says: 'Teams read out, lot of boos for Rio Ferdinand from Chelsea fans. Still 20 minutes until kick off.'

12.01: Phil Jones will deputise at right back this afternoon for United, after Rafael limped off after just half and hour against Sunderland on Saturday.

Nemanja Vidic is also out of Ferguson's side. He looked in some discomfort at the beginning of the Sunderland game when he was clutching his back. That said, Ferguson has opted for a pretty hefty overhaul of his squad.

12.00: Both of these teams will be looking to improve on their weekend performances. Although United beat a poor Sunderland side, they looked lethargic at times and only won by the most narrow margin.

Chelsea on the other hand were beaten at St Mary's by Mauricio Pochettino's Southampton side.

11.55: Rooney update: Sir Alex Ferguson has told ITV that the striker has picked up a groin injury while on international duty with England.

That would explain why he is out of today's clash, and why he wasn't in the squad for United's victory against Sunderland.

Now the good news for United fans Rooney should be okay to play against Manchester City in next week's derby.

11.52: Gary Cahill is still out with a knee injury for Chelsea, but John Terry will start on the bench today instead of Brazilian defender David Luiz.

11.50: Although there will be no Wayne Rooney this afternoon, this Chelsea back four won't be resting on their laurels.

Javier Hernandez has scored a remarkable six goals in his previous seven appearances against Chelsea.

11.44: Undoubtedly the biggest shock of the line-ups is that Wayne Rooney has not made Sir Alex Ferguson's squad. We're not sure whether he's injured or whether Sir Alex has decided to drop him for a big game like he did against Real Madrid. But watch this space for updates.

Six changes by Chelsea and seven by Manchester United from the Premier League fixtures this weekend.

11.43: Manchester United team: De Gea; Jones, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Nani; Hernandez, Welbeck

Subs: Giggs, Lindegaard, Young, van Persie, Powell, Kagawa, Vermijl

11.36: Chelsea starting XI: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cole; Mikel, Ramires, Hazard, Mata, Oscar, Ba

Subs: Turnbull, Terry, Benayoun, Bertrand, Moses, Lampard, Torres

11.34: The winners will book their place in the semi-finals, where Manchester City wait after beating Barnsley at the Etihad. United are hoping to keep their hopes of a League/Cup double alive, whereas interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez is desperate to deliver a trophy to Blues owner Roman Abramovich. The FA Cup and Europa League are the only two competitions Chelsea can hope to prevail in.

11.30: Good morning, good morning. Is there a better way to spend your Bank Holiday Monday than following coverage of two Premier League giants going head to head in the FA Cup quarter-final

Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney's goals were cancelled out in the corresponding fixture at Old Trafford by second-half goals from Ramires and Eden Hazard, who forced this afternoon's replay.

And Sir Alex Ferguson believes Chelsea even deserved to win the game, claiming his side were tired and emotional after their Champions League defeat by Real Madrid.

Ferguson said: '‘I thought we were lucky to be honest with you (in the first leg),’ Ferguson told United’s official website, manutd.com.

In transit: Robin van Persie and his team-mates travelled by train yesterday from Manchester Piccadilly

In transit: Robin van Persie and his team-mates travelled by train yesterday from Manchester Piccadilly

‘I thought that tiredness had got into the team and, from a comfortable position for the first 20 minutes, you could see the signs when we started to give the ball away just before half-time. That is a definite sign of tiredness.

‘The tiredness came, possibly, from the emotional intensity of the Real Madrid game and also the way we lost it. I think that affected two or three players. In the second half in particular there was no doubt that Tom Cleverley’s and our two full-backs’ [Rafael and Patrice Evra] legs had gone.

'That was [due to] emotions. The way full-backs are, they put so much energy into getting forward but they found it difficult getting back.'

Destination Wembley: Chelsea came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 in the original tie at Manchester United

Destination Wembley: Chelsea came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 in the original tie at Manchester United

Anderson set to leave Manchester United in summer

Anderson set for Man United exit while others could follow in Old Trafford clear-out

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

07:19 GMT, 17 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:20 GMT, 17 March 2013

Anderson is set to leave Manchester United in the summer after failing to hold down a place in Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

The 24-year-old Brazilian has failed to fulfill on the potential that United saw in him when they prised him from Porto with a 17million bid in the summer of 2007.

Bar the odd brilliant match, Anderson has not looked like reaching the level expected of a United midfielder and is behind Tom Cleverley, Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs in Fergie's plans.

Farewell Anderson (left) could leave Man United in the summer after failing to earn a regular starting position

Farewell Anderson (left) could leave Man United in the summer after failing to earn a regular starting position

He has made just 12 Barclays Premier League appearances this season and scored just one goal in the competition.

His other strike this season came against Newcastle in the Capital One Cup.

Anderson is likely to head back to Portgual in the summer, according to The Mirror.

Javier Hernandez

Nani

In the balance: Javier Hernandez (left) and Nani (right) could also leave Old Trafford in the summer

Other players who could leave Old Trafford in the summer are Paul Scholes, who may retire again, and Javier Hernandez who wants to start more games.

Alexander Buttner and Anders Lindegaard will also be evaluated come the end of the season, while Nani could also be sold, with his contract set to expire in 2014.

LIVE: Manchester United v Norwich, Chelsea v West Brom, Everton v Reading, Southampton v QPR, Stoke v West Ham, Swansea v Newcastle, Sunderland v…

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Follow the action from around the grounds as it happens

By
Dan Ripley

PUBLISHED:

04:00 GMT, 2 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:18 GMT, 2 March 2013

Live scores (3pm)

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Chelsea v West Brom

Everton v Reading

Manchester United v Norwich

Southampton v QPR

Stoke v West Ham

Sunderland v Fulham

Swansea v Newcastle

Click here for the live Premier League table

All the latest from the Championship

All the latest from League One

All the latest from League Two

All the latest from the SPL

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Manchester United host Norwich in one of seven games kicking off at 3pm. The league leaders will hope to avenge their defeat at Carrow Road from earlier this season when Chris Hughton's side recorded a 1-0 win.

Elsewhere Chelsea know a win against West Brom at Stamford Bridge will take them back up into third place while Everton will hope to keep up their chances of qualifying for the Champions League at Goodison Park against Reading.

Down near the bottom of the table, Southampton can build a 13-point gap over rock bottom QPR at St Mary's and Newcastle will look to build on recent good form when they visit Capital One Cup winners Swansea.

Trying to avoid getting sucked into a relegation fight, West Ham will hope to improve on a poor away record when they visit Stoke and Sunderland host Fulham with the Cottagers in with a chance of moving into the top 10.

Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or via Twitter @Ripinho.

14.10: It's not every weekend we have a double serving of games at 3pm, but as a little bonus click here to follow live coverage of Real Madrid v Barcelona from the Bernabeu in La Liga.

14.05: Well that's a bad start to the weekend – Ryan Giggs is not even in the Manchester United squad!

With that in mind, let's take a huge contrast and focus on West Brom's Izzy Brown. The midfielder (who is still at school) could become the youngest Premier League player this afternoon at 16 years and 54 days old (he is in the Baggies squad at least.)

14.00: We are set to see a few extraordinary things this weekend. As ever the north London derby will be one of them but arguably the most impressive is set to be Ryan Giggs' 1000th senior game.

Team news is coming up for all seven matches, let's hope the Welshman make an appearance at some point.

Milestone man: Manchester United's Ryan Giggs is poised to make his 1000th senior appearance

Milestone man: Manchester United's Ryan Giggs is poised to make his 1000th senior appearance

Alex Ferguson says his priority is Europe, not the FA Cup

Keeping it Real: Fergie wants the FA Cup but Europe remains the priority

By
Chris Wheeler

PUBLISHED:

22:43 GMT, 4 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:48 GMT, 4 January 2013

For all Manchester United’s desire to lift a trophy they last won nine years ago, the simple fact is that the fifth and sixth rounds of this season’s FA Cup fall in the same week as the Champions League.

‘Let’s be honest,’ said Sir Alex Ferguson on Friday. ‘Would you rather be at West Ham or Real Madrid’

He did not expect an answer.

Priorities: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will be trying his hardest to win the FA Cup, but the reality is that the Champions League tie with Real Madrid falls between the fifth and sixth rounds of the competition

Priorities: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will be trying his hardest to win the FA Cup, but the reality is that the Champions League tie with Real Madrid falls between the fifth and sixth rounds of the competition

It’s traditional at this time of year to talk up the old competition and the romance of the third round.

But even if he can navigate a difficult trip to Upton Park today and then the fourth round, it’s clear the United manager will have to dig deep into his reserves to successfully take the next two steps on the road to Wembley with Jose Mourinho’s Madrid providing a sizeable distraction.

The Spaniards apart, though, Ferguson is sincere in his ambition to win the FA Cup for the first time since beating Millwall in 2004.

Drought: United have not won the FA Cup since beating Millwall 3-0 in 2004

Drought: United have not won the FA Cup since beating Millwall 3-0 in 2004

His fondness for the competition was clear in the press conference as he recalled the two Cup final defeats by Arsenal and Chelsea since then, and went even further back to 1996 when United met Liverpool’s Spice Boys in their creamy white suits.

‘That horrible final,’ said Ferguson. ‘One of the worst in the history of mankind. I saw Roy Evans’ face, looking around at the bakers’ XI. Roy was mortified. I thought it was a 1-0 victory for us straightaway!’

Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs played in that one. But along with Darren Fletcher, who played in the win over Millwall in Cardiff, and Robin van Persie, who scored in Arsenal’s penalty shootout victory over United in 2005, they are the only members of the current squad with winner’s medals.

'That horrible final': Ferguson remembers the 1996 final, in which Eric Cantona (right) scored the only goal of the game, none too fondly

'That horrible final': Ferguson remembers the 1996 final, in which Eric Cantona (right) scored the only goal of the game, none too fondly

Rio Ferdinand, a United player for more than 10 years, is still waiting.

‘It’s amazing, we’ll have to do something about it,’ said Ferguson.

Missing: The FA Cup remains the only club honour missing from Rio Ferdinand's (pictured) collection

Missing: The FA Cup remains the only club honour missing from Rio Ferdinand's (pictured) collection

‘Rio mentioned it in the dressing room before we went out against Liverpool last year so it means a lot to him and will do to someone who has been in the game for that length of time.

‘The Champions League, without doubt, is the bigger challenge. You have all the big clubs in there now and we are playing Real Madrid.

'It’s a fact of life, but the FA Cup is still the best domestic cup in the world.

‘It still holds the romance about it when you are waiting for the draw. West Ham away is a particularly hard one.

'We’ll play a strong team and hopefully we can get through.’

Wayne Rooney will play no part after he was ruled out for another two weeks with his knee injury.

Ferdinand could also be rested, but Ferguson insisted the veteran is coping with his back problem better than in recent years, and is confident he will sign a new deal even though he is free to speak to foreign clubs.

‘I don’t think Rio wants to leave and I don’t think he is panicking about that,’ said Ferguson. ‘We’re comfortable with it.’

Ryan Giggs warns Manchester United to forget big Premier League title lead

Don't blow it again! Giggs warns United to forget big title lead and learn lesson from last season

|

UPDATED:

15:41 GMT, 31 December 2012

Ryan Giggs is refusing to get carried away by Manchester United's seven-point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

United head to Wigan tomorrow having taken 37 points from a possible 42 since they were beaten by Tottenham at Old Trafford at the end of September.

Manchester City and Chelsea performed well over the weekend but there is nothing either of them can do to prevent United securing a record 20th title if Sir Alex Ferguson's men maintain their present form.

Top of the pile: Manchester United currently enjoy a big Premier League lead

Top of the pile: Manchester United currently enjoy a big Premier League lead

But Giggs, a veteran of all 12 Premier League championship triumphs, acknowledges it is far too early to start thinking the job is done.

The Welshman only needs to look back a matter of months, when the Red Devils blew an eight-point lead in the space of four games to lose out to City in the 2011-12 title race, to know nothing can be taken for granted.

'We were this many points ahead with fewer games to go last season and it wasn't enough,' said Giggs. 'We are only halfway there and there are a lot of tough games to come.

'There is also the FA Cup and the Champions League, so there are other things to consider.

'We are in a great position and are happy where we are, but we know we have to carry on.'

However, Giggs does concur with his manager, who has always felt United would be in contention if they reached New Year's Day within striking distance of top spot.

Agony: United reflect on their title race defeat by Manchester City last season

Agony: United reflect on their title race defeat by Manchester City last season

Agony: United reflect on their title race defeat by Manchester City last season

Agony: United reflect on their title race defeat by Manchester City last season

This time, Ferguson can spend his 71st birthday peering down on the rest, with many pundits already declaring it is United's title to lose.

'From the manager's experience and the players who have been here a long time, we know Christmas is the time to get down to business,' said the 39-year-old.

'If we are there or thereabouts in January and then go on a run of winning 10 or 12 games it is going to give us a great chance.

'There can be no mistakes. But usually when the stakes are high and the concentration is there, good players produce the goods.'

It was not the case last season though.

The start of the unravelling process can be traced to a trip to Wigan, a side United had beaten every time they had met up to that point.

Inexplicably, Ferguson's team were caught cold, found themselves unable to cope with Wigan's three-man defensive formation and slipped to a deserved defeat.

It was part of a staggering run from the Latics, which took them clear of relegation trouble when at one point they had seemed certain for the drop.
Their form was so good Giggs was not expecting to find them back in the mire this term.

'I'm surprised that they're down there considering the tough game they gave us last season,' he said. 'They play with a different system to the ones we are used to and do it very well.

'We knew they were in a false position going into that game and when you don't turn up against a team in good form you will come unstuck, no matter who you are against.

'It was tough, especially when you consider our record there and it undoubtedly contributed to us losing the title.'

Ferguson is expected to make a number of changes given the draining conditions his players encountered at Old Trafford during Saturday's win over West Brom.

Michael Carrick looked particularly tired, whilst Robin van Persie's 17th goal of the season should ensure his recall at a time of year when freak results are almost commonplace.

'When you have got four games in nine days you are going to get different results and things can change quite quickly,' said Ferguson.

'The most important thing is not to panic and look after your own results and performances.'

Manchester United 2 West Brom 0 – match report

Manchester United 2 West Brom 0: RVP climbs off bench to add gloss to narrow win

|

UPDATED:

17:27 GMT, 29 December 2012

Robin van Persie's 17th goal of the season ensured Manchester United claimed yet another scalp on their march towards what they hope will be a 20th league title at Old Trafford.

Yet the performance of skipper Nemanja Vidic was equally notable, as he guided United to only their fourth Premier League clean sheet of the season after Gareth McAuley's early own goal had put the hosts in front against West Brom.

Plagued by injury for the past 16 months, and restored to the United line-up for the only the second time since his most recent knee operation, Serbian Vidic used all of his experience to ensure the hosts were not made to pay for a lacklustre second-half display.

Game over: Robin van Persie celebrates scoring his team's second goal

Game over: Robin van Persie celebrates scoring his team's second goal

MATCH FACTS

Man Utd: De Gea, Smalling, Vidic,
Evans, Evra, Carrick, Cleverley (Scholes 82), Valencia, Kagawa (Van Persie 65), Young, Welbeck.

Subs not used:
Lindegaard, Ferdinand, Giggs, Hernandez, Buttner.

Goals: McAuley 9 (og), Van Persie 90

Booked: Valencia

West
Brom: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Tamas, Ridgewell, Thorne, Brunt (Morrison 75),
Rosenberg (Lukaku 67), Dorrans (Fortune 83), Odemwingie, Long.

Subs not used: Myhill, El
Ghanassy, Jara Reyes, Dawson

Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire)

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE, FIXTURES AND RESULTS

And when Van Persie curled home a brilliant effort in the final minute, the Red Devils` handsome seven-point lead at the top of the table was preserved.

After all the furore around Ferguson's confrontation with Mike Dean on Boxing Day, mascot Fred the Red probably approached the United boss with a degree of trepidation as the pair met on the touchline prior to kick off.

The exchange was cordial, though, as was the jocular encounter between Ferguson and fourth official Phil Dowd shortly afterwards.

And once the match started, referee Jon Moss did little to get the United manager vexed, beyond an inexplicable free-kick against Tom Cleverley when the midfielder had been looking at a dropping ball on the edge of his own box when Billy Jones crashed into him.

/12/29/article-2254524-16AF5D93000005DC-775_634x384.jpg” width=”634″ height=”384″ alt=”Bullet: Van Persie climbed off the bench to seal all three points for United against West Brom” class=”blkBorder” />

Bullet: Van Persie climbed off the bench to seal all three points for United against West Brom

Vidic was wide with a couple of headers and Gabriel Tamas turned away Michael Carrick's goalbound shot.

The nearest United went to doubling their lead was when Young strode onto a deflected Antonio Valencia cross.

He hit it sweetly on the half volley, only for former Red Devils keeper Ben Foster to respond with a brilliant save, which earned his slice of good fortune when he shoved the ball onto the crossbar and over.

Provider: Ashley Young's cross was turned in by McAuley for the opening goal of the game

Provider: Ashley Young's cross was turned in by McAuley for the opening goal of the game

West Bromwich Albion's Gareth McAuley, second left, reacts after deflecting in a shot by Manchester United's Ashley Young, second right, for a own goal

Danny Welbeck – afforded a rare start in a central striking berth – and Shinji Kagawa – back for the first time since suffering a knee injury in October – both sparkled for the hosts, who were so obviously on top.

With a defence that has leaked so many goals this season, Ferguson would not have felt safe.

Yet the presence of Vidic offered some degree of comfort.

Steel: Nemanja Vidic helped shore up a previously leaky Unite defence

Steel: Nemanja Vidic helped shore up a previously leaky Unite defence

The Serbian has been absent so often over the past 15 months it has almost been forgotten what a calming influence he is.

His bravery is unquestioned too. And when Chris Brunt drilled a free-kick goalwards in the final throes of the opening period, it was no surprise Vidic should be the one to emerge from a crowd of bodies having headed it away.

However, with the clock ticking by and heavy rain continuing to pour down on a sodden surface that required a precautionary inspection a couple of hours before kick-off, United started to get stuck.

Doubt: The match at Old Trafford went ahead despite torrential rain prior to kick off

Doubt: The match at Old Trafford went ahead despite torrential rain prior to kick off

Young completely miskicked when Valencia's cross presented a golden opportunity on the hour, which offered a Baggies outfit already growing in self-belief more reason for optimism.

Had Brunt's piledriver been either side of David de Gea it surely would have brought the visitors level.

As it was, the shot went straight to the Spain keeper.

Friendly chat Sir Alex Ferguson with fourth official Phil Dowd and mascot Fred the Red

Friendly chat Sir Alex Ferguson with fourth official Phil Dowd and mascot Fred the Red

Little wonder Van Persie's arrival midway through the second period was greeted with such enthusiasm, underlining the Dutchman's influence since his summer move from Arsenal.

West Brom were in the mood, though.

And with United's passing becoming increasingly sloppy, they continued to push on with force.

Back in action: Shinji Kagawa made his return for United following an injury lay-off

Back in action: Shinji Kagawa made his return for United following an injury lay-off

Vidic needed to be in the right place to clear a Romelu Lukaku cross that threatened panic inside the United six-yard box and the sight of his fellow defenders throwing themselves at anything that moved, it had turned into an unedifying backs-to-the-wall effort so unlike the thrill-a-minute action this stadium has become used to.

Van Persie was denied by Foster with nine minutes remaining but the former England keeper could do nothing about the Dutchman's late shot, which curled expertly into the top corner from Paul Scholes' pass.

Manchester United 4 Newcastle 3 match report: Javier Hernandez winner

Manchester United 4 Newcastle 3: Hernandez nets late winner to settle thriller after Fergie rages at officials again

|

UPDATED:

17:37 GMT, 26 December 2012

In the final minute of a thrilling encounter Javier Hernandez netted his 10th goal of the season and sent Manchester United seven points clear at the top of the table.

Three times Newcastle led in the search for their first Old Trafford win since 1972 and three times they were pegged back.

Their pain at defeat, Sir Alex Ferguson's altercation with the officials and a serious looking injury to Vurnon Anita were the only sad aspects of a staggering day that showed off all that is so alluring about English football.

Decider: Javier Hernandez struck the late winner in typically clinical fashion

Decider: Javier Hernandez struck the late winner in typically clinical fashion

Seeing red: Sir Ferguson was furious with referee Mike Dean and the officials after Newcastle's second goal

Seeing red: Sir Ferguson was furious with referee Mike Dean and the officials after Newcastle's second goal

Match facts

Man United: De Gea, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes (Cleverley 69), Giggs, Van Persie, Hernandez (Fletcher 90).

Subs not used: Lindegaard, Vidic, Buttner, Wootton, Tunnicliffe.

Booked: Evans, Valencia, Hernandez.

Goals: Evans 25, Evra 58, Van Persie 71, Hernandez 90.

Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Anita, Perch, Bigirimana (Obertan 65), Cisse (Sammy Ameobi 79), Ba (Shola Ameobi 71), Marveaux.

Subs not used: Elliot, Ferguson, Tavernier, Campbell.

Booked: Simpson, Williamson, Cisse.

Goals: Perch 4, Evans 28 og, Cisse 68.

Att: 75,596

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Latest Premier League table and results

After stumbling at Swansea, the last thing Ferguson wanted was a nosedive against Newcastle.

Yet the worries began when the teams were announced.

With Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young
injured and Danny Welbeck out through illness, Ferguson was short of
attacking options beyond Hernandez and Robin van Persie.

Even more concerning was the presence
of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes in the same starting line-up for the
first time since September.

With a combined age of 77, a sizeable
number of Red Devils followers now believe it is time one of the pair –
or both – should be pensioned off.

It is a harsh judgement given what
Giggs and Scholes have done down the years, but with Michael Carrick
also present it was clear Newcastle were not going to be over-run down
the middle of the pitch.

For all this, it was in defence where the hosts were found so badly wanting.

The conditions were against him, but
after Carrick gifted the visitors' possession to the visitors cheaply
inside his own half, David De Gea should have done much better than
meekly parry Demba Ba's skimmer straight to James Perch.

For a player who had never previously
scored for Newcastle, Perch could hardly have hoped for an easier
opportunity to break his duck.

Opener: James Perch celebrates his goal

Opener: James Perch celebrates his goal

Good Evans: The United defender scored just three minutes before putting the ball in his own net

Good Evans: The United defender scored just three minutes before putting the ball in his own net

Good Evans: The United defender scored just three minutes before putting the ball in his own net

Behind once more, United's attempts to force their way back were not convincing.

But when Van Persie drilled a free-kick into the Newcastle box, Hernandez pounced on the loose ball.

The Mexican's shot was blocked by Tim Krul, only for Jonny Evans to slide into the empty net.

It was the start of a hectic period
for the Northern Irishman, who was booked for handball after becoming
the third player this season – following Rooney and Gareth Bale – to
score at both ends.

Fury: Ferguson told Mike Dean exactly what he thought

Fury: Ferguson told Mike Dean exactly what he thought

Fury: Ferguson told Mike Dean exactly what he thought

That hardly tells the whole story
though, as the debate over what now constitutes offside erupted after
Evans turned a shot from United old-boy Danny Simpson past De Gea.

As Graham Poll quickly confirmed on Twitter
referee Mike Dean had got it right; it can only be assumed Papiss Cisse
remained 'non-active' despite pressurising Evans from an offside
position.

Ferguson was not similarly convinced.

As Dean made his way onto the pitch
for the start of the second-half, Ferguson confronted the referee to
make his feelings known.

Fourth official Neil Swarbrick also
got it in the neck before the United manager rounded on assistant
referee Jake Collin, who had initially raised his flag, believing Cisse
had got the final touch.

Back in it: Patrice Evra made it 2-2 just before the hour mark

Back in it: Patrice Evra made it 2-2 just before the hour mark

Three and easy: Papiss Cisse thought he'd won it for Newcastle

Three and easy: Papiss Cisse thought he'd won it for Newcastle

Thankfully, Dean had the good sense to speak to his fellow official at the time, ensuring justice was done.

For United, the spin-off was that the
hairdryer treatment sparked a marked improvement and just before the
hour Evra hauled them level for a second time when his low shot beat
Krul to the bottom corner.

Yet the cruise to victory never materialised.

Instead came more of the Kamikaze defending that has characterised United's season.

Three but not easy: Robin van Persie struck United's third equaliser of the game

Three but not easy: Robin van Persie struck United's third equaliser of the game

Red Devils old-boy Gabriel Obertan streaked down the wing and delivered a perfect cross for Cisse to smash home.

Newcastle held this lead for three
minutes before Van Persie drove in his 16th goal of the season after
Krul had saved his initial shot.

Now Ferguson and Alan Pardew could
only stand on the touchline and watch as this breathless, chaotic game
headed for its conclusion.

United fury at a handball claim
against Fabricio Coloccini that went unheeded was replaced by anguish as
both Van Persie and Hernandez went close.

At the death: Javier Hernandez wheels away after scoring the final goal of the game

At the death: Javier Hernandez wheels away after scoring the final goal of the game

De Gea got away with a near-calamitous
misjudgement when he allowed Sammy Ameobi's shot to roll past him,
thinking it was going wide, only for it to hit a post and rebound
straight back.

Hernandez was denied by Krul at the other end before Van Persie headed over as injury-time approached.

Like two heavyweights slugging it out,
swinging for all they were worth, their reliance on instinct total,
there was one punch left.

And with it Hernandez knocked Newcastle out.

Manchester United v Newcastle, Norwich v Chelsea, Sunderland v Manchester City, Evrton v Wigan, Fulham v Southampton, QPR v West Brom, Reading v…

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Boxing Day action from around the grounds as it happens

|

UPDATED:

14:13 GMT, 26 December 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League's Boxing Day action with seven fixtures including Manchester United's home clash with Newcastle kicking off at 3pm. Elsewhere it is Everton v Wigan, Fulham v Southampton, Norwich v Chelsea, QPR v West Brom, Reading v Swansea and Sunderland v Manchester City.

Have your say by contacting Rik Sharma on Twitter: @rbsfeatures

2.12pm: News in that QPR v West Brom will kick off 15 minutes late.

Manchester United v Newcastle

Man United: De Gea, Smalling, Evra, Evans, Ferdinand, Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Scholes, Hernandez, van Persie.

Newcastle: Krul, Coloccini, Santon, Simpson, Williamson, Perch, Anita, Marveaux, Bigirimana, Cisse, Ba.

So – Rooney has been dropped but Alan Pardew continues to play his out-of-form striker Papiss Cisse. Will he come good today

2.09: OK, here we go. Teams dropping in left, right and centre.

2.07: All the team news for today's 3pm kick-offs is on the way. Early indications are that Wayne Rooney has been dropped by Manchester United after his poor performance in the draw with Swansea on Sunday.

2.05: West Brom's coach was stuck in traffic on their way to Loftus Road to face QPR, but they've arrived now and are preparing for the game.

2pm: Good afternoon and welcome to Sportsmail's coverage of the Boxing Day football. I trust you all had a superb Christmas and aren't too full to feast again, but this time on goals!

Boxing day highlight: Manchester United host Newcastle at Old Trafford

Boxing day highlight: Manchester United host Newcastle at Old Trafford

Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand set for Manchester United exit

End of an era! Scholes, Giggs and Ferdinand heading for Manchester United exit

|

UPDATED:

22:04 GMT, 20 December 2012

Paul Scholes plans to retire once and for all at the end of this season as Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson prepares for another summer shake-up at Old Trafford.

United midfielder Scholes has told friends that he intends to bow out in May and that this time he will not be back.

Ferguson is also facing up to the probability that another veteran, Ryan Giggs, will leave his one and only club this summer, and the manager is aware that defender Rio Ferdinand has yet to indicate publicly whether he wishes to extend his contract.

Trio: Giggs, Scholes and Feridnand could leave Old Trafford at the end of the season

Trio: Giggs, Scholes and Feridnand could leave Old Trafford at the end of the season

With captain Nemanja Vidic also struggling of late with knee problems, Ferguson has already started to look at ways of freshening up his squad.

Recently, for example, Ferguson sent scouts to watch 15million-rated Argentinian defender Ezequiel Garay play for Portuguese club Benfica in games against Sporting Lisbon and Olhanense.

He has also been looking closely at Molde's Norwegian international centre back Vegard Forren.

Head boy: Garay (left) has been watched by Old Trafford scouts

Head boy: Garay (left) has been watched by Old Trafford scouts

Formerly of Real Madrid, Garay has to be sold by Benfica next summer since they are struggling to pay his wages. His former club in Spain are entitled to half of whatever fee he is sold for.

Garay has 11 caps for his country and has also been tracked by Juventus.

As for Scholes, he quit the game at the end of the 2010-11 season but famously returned to United in January of this year.

He was later persuaded by Ferguson to stay on for this season as well and has played 13 times so far.

Moving on: Scholes is poised to retire for a second time

Moving on: Scholes is poised to retire for a second time

However, the 38-year-old believes that his influence on the field is waning and has said privately in recent weeks that he may have given as much as he can.

It remains to be seen if Ferguson attempts to persuade one of his most trusted players to soldier on for another season.

Welshman Giggs is a year older than Scholes and is also on a one-year contract. He has played only eight times in the Barclays Premier League this season and has also seen his influence on the field drop off significantly in recent months.

Rio Ferdinand

Ryan Giggs

Suit you, sir: Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs could call time on their United careers

Giggs has not made his own mind up yet but said recently: 'When I do finish playing, I'll try to find the next best thing. Management does interest me. The nearer I get to finishing, the more I think about it. All I can do is prepare myself as best I can for when I do finish.

'I've been doing my coaching courses with Nev (Gary Neville) – levels one, two, A-Licence. We're starting the Pro-Licence next year.'

Giggs hopes to compete in a couple of triathlons and Scholes may be handed a coaching role at Old Trafford.

Ryan Giggs would buy karaoke machine for Sir Alex Ferguson this Christmas

Sing your heart out, Fergie! Karaoke machine would top Giggs' Christmas list for United boss

|

UPDATED:

02:49 GMT, 13 December 2012

What do you get for the man who has everything Well, certainly in terms of trophies anyway.

Ryan Giggs says he would buy Sir Alex Ferguson a karaoke machine – if only to keep the Manchester United manager quiet around the club’s Carrington training ground.

Sing up! Giggs would buy Fergie and Karaoke machine

Sing up! Giggs would buy Fergie and Karaoke machine

Sing up! Giggs would buy Fergie and Karaoke machine

‘I’ve done all my Christmas shopping,’
said the United veteran. ‘I’m organised. I’ve done a bit of shopping, a
bit online. Get it out of the way earlier.

‘What would I buy the manager He likes singing around the place, so maybe a karaoke machine for when he gets home … so he’s singing there rather than around the training ground!’

After so long in the game, Giggs is used to being separated from his family at Christmas but admits that not seeing his children Zach and Libby is the most difficult part.

‘Christmas is just something we’re used to,’ he added. ‘I've known nothing different since I was 15. It's tougher when you've got kids. It's difficult knowing you're in a hotel that night but the kids understand. They’re probably too busy to notice I’ve gone.’