Tag Archives: robin

Manchester City and PSG agree personal terms with Edinson Cavani

Man City joined by PSG in agreeing terms with 60m Cavani… but Real Madrid are set to pounce

By
Sami Mokbel and John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

15:30 GMT, 23 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:10 GMT, 23 April 2013

Manchester City are closing in on in-demand Napoli frontman Edinson Cavani after agreeing in principle terms with the player over a summer move.

However, David Beckham's Paris St Germain remain in the hunt after striking up a similar deal despite neither agreeing a fee with the Uruguayan's club.

To make matters worse for City, the player himself has set his sights on a dream move to Real Madrid.

Scroll down to watch Cavani in action

In demand: Serie A top scorer Edinson Cavani has agreed deals in principle with Manchester City and PSG

In demand: Serie A top scorer Edinson Cavani has agreed deals in principle with Manchester City and PSG

In demand: Serie A top scorer Edinson Cavani is being tracked by Europe's top clubs, including City and PSG

GOAL MACHINE CAVANI

Edinson Cavani has scored 72 goals and delivered 12 assists in 100 appearances for Napoli in Serie A.

With fears mounting that Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be lured back to Juventus, as revealed in Sportsmail, PSG hope to hijack City’s pursuit of one of Europe’s most accomplished finishers.

Roberto Mancini is desperate to hit the ground running this summer after seeing his title chances damaged considerably last year when Robin van Persie chose Manchester United.

City, then, have agreed in principle to offer 256k per week, though there remains the barrier of his release clause, initially thought to be 53million. Recently, though, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis insisted it would take an incredible 60million to trigger it.

Getting shirty: The fight for Cavani is likely to be a long and bitter one between Europe's leading clubs

Getting shirty: The fight for Cavani is likely to be a long and bitter one between Europe's leading clubs

Getting shirty: The fight for Cavani is likely to be a long and bitter one between Europe's leading clubs

Asked to clarify the exact amount
needed to prise the 26-year-old away, the president said: ‘We included a
very high buy-out clause in his contract, because we want him to stay.

'The clause does exist, though, and if some nutter is willing to pay €70m for him we are ready to listen.'

Cavani is the top scorer in Serie A this season, with 23 goals, firing Napoli to a likely second-placed finish behind Juventus.

Friends forever: Could Ezequiel Lavezzi, who left Napoli for PSG, play a part in Cavani's future

Friends forever: Could Ezequiel Lavezzi, who left Napoli for PSG, play a part in Cavani's future

His blistering form has led PSG sporting director Leonardo to work overtime behind the scenes to convince him of the Parisien project, with reports in France claiming an offer of 7million per year, plus bonuses, is on the table.

Real Madrid have been favourites to sign Cavani, but due to Ibrahimovic openly courting a return to Juve, plus fears within PSG that they could also lose Ezequiel Lavezzi to AC Milan, competition is more fierce than ever.

VIDEO Napoli frontman Cavani doing what he does best…scoring goals

Robin Van Persie hails Manchester United"s team of winners

Van Persie hails United's team of winners as they edge closer to title

PUBLISHED:

15:35 GMT, 30 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:23 GMT, 30 March 2013

Manchester United moved another step closer to the Barclays Premier League title as they won 1-0 at Sunderland, and striker Robin van Persie was quick to praise the attitude of his team-mates.

United are 18 points clear of nearest rivals Manchester City as a result and it would take a collapse of dramatic proportions for them to throw the title away.

Van Persie claimed the only goal today, although replays suggested his shot was not going in until Titus Bramble put it into his own net, but the striker was not too concerned.

Almost there: Robin Van Persie celebrates United's win

Almost there: Robin Van Persie celebrates United's win

Get in there: Robin Van Persie celebrates with team-mates

Get in there: Robin Van Persie celebrates with team-mates

'We got the three points, we knew it would be tough because Sunderland work hard and we had to dig in, but we deserved it,' he told Sky Sports 2.

'It didn't matter who scored today, it was all about the three points.

'This team is full of winners, everyone knows what they have to do and it was never in doubt for me. I was confident we would win.'

A title coronation seems inevitable in
the next couple of weeks and midfielder Michael Carrick is anticipating
winning another medal.

'We played some good football today, even if we didn't get as many goalscoring opportunities as we'd have liked,' he added.

'It was all about coming here and winning. We're getting closer and it's one game less. We have to keep going.'

Keeping an eye on it: Van Persie sees his goal go in off Bramble

Keeping an eye on it: Van Persie sees his goal go in off Bramble

Eyes on the ball: Sunderland captain John O' Shea tackles Manchester United's Van Persie

Eyes on the ball: Sunderland captain John O' Shea tackles Manchester United's Van Persie

United next face Chelsea in the FA Cup replay on Monday and Van Persie has warned fans not to expect a classic.

It is the kind of scheduling that has England's European counterparts scratching their heads in bewilderment.

And Van Persie points out it is difficult for the players to reach a high level of performance twice in such a short period of time.

'It is not ideal,' he told MUTV.

'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.

'We just have to deal with it.

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

'If it happens I am glad, but don't expect it because these games are just too close to each other.'

Hectic schedule: Jonny Evans admits United are heading into the unknown during their packed Easter period

Hectic schedule: Jonny Evans admits United are heading into the unknown during their packed Easter period

Van Persie was speaking after
United's 1-0 win at Sunderland, which maintains their 15-point advantage
over Manchester City with just eight games remaining.

City will be the opponents for
Monday's victors at Stamford Bridge, with Van Persie eager to get his
hands on a trophy he won with Arsenal but United have not lifted since
2004.

'It has been a while,' he said.

'It has been nine years since we last won it and we want to win the double.

'We made a big step today but we want to go for both. We have a chance to reach the semi-final against City.'

Jonny Evans admitted Manchester
United will head into the unknown as they attempt to book an FA Cup
semi-final place just 48 hours after strengthening their grip on the
Barclays Premier League title.

Evans said: 'I have never really been in that situation before, so it will be new to probably most of us.

'It's
just all about tonight. We will probably go back and get a good
recovery session in and make sure we have done everything we can
physically to make sure we are right for the game on Monday.'

Evans
will make the trip to Stamford Bridge hoping for a start after getting
his chance on Wearside as a first-half substitute when full-back Rafael
da Silva limped off.

Chris
Smalling moved from central defence to right-back to accommodate the
25-year-old as aUnited defence which had been criticised earlier in the
campaign recorded its sixth successive league clean sheet.

Diving in: Alex Buttner slides in on Sunderland's Simon Mignolet

Diving in: Alex Buttner slides in on Sunderland's Simon Mignolet

Asked about the difficulty of
competing with Ferdinand and Vidic for a place in the heart of the back
four, he said: 'You are always competing.

'Even if one of those two isn't fit,
you have got Chris Smalling, who started at centre-back today. I'm sure
he was disappointed to get moved to right-back, it's not his favourite
position, but for the sake of the team, he did that.

'Phil
Jones is another one. The competition is all over the pitch. You look
at the players who didn't start today or have been left behind – it's
some team, really.'

Monday
night's game represents an opportunity to keep hopes of yet another
Double alive with United marching inexorably towards the league title.

Their
recent surge – they have now lost only once in 22 games in all
competitions, and that in controversial circumstances to Real Madrid in
the Champions League – has been based on defensive resilience rather
than attacking flair, and Evans admits it is a pleasant change for the
men at the back to receive the plaudits normally reserved for their
attacking colleagues.

He said with a smile: “You have probably noticed we haven't scored as many goals. It's getting that fine balance.

'We will take it the way we are at the minute. Especially as a defender, it's better to keep clean sheets than having the forwards getting all the glory, I suppose, so we are just happy.

'Clean sheets, that's what we want as defenders, so we are delighted with that.'

Sir Alex Ferguson used the depth of his squad at the Stadium of Light with Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney not even making the 18.

Da Silva must be a doubt after being unable to continue against Sunderland, while Vidic was left clutching his back after a rugged challenge with striker Danny Graham, although he made it through to the final whistle.

Wayne Rooney to stop taking penalties for Manchester United

Spot of bother: Rooney hands over penalty duties to Van Persie after series of misses

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

10:22 GMT, 2 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:59 GMT, 2 February 2013

Wayne Rooney has announced will stop taking penalties for Manchester United and hand the responsibility over to strike partner Robin van Persie.

The England striker admitted his form from 12 yards has not been good enough and feels it is time to allow Van Persie to become the designated penalty taker.

Rooney’s record from the spot during his Old Trafford career is poor with 17 goals from 28 attempts and his most recent miss against West Ham in the FA Cup proved to be his last.

Over it goes: Wayne Rooney misses from the spot against West Ham

Over it goes: Wayne Rooney misses from the spot against West Ham

Ryan Giggs stepped up to take the spot kick against Fulham in the FA Cup last week – and scored – despite Rooney being on the pitch.

And Rooney said: 'To be honest, it was my choice. At a club like this, to miss two penalties the way I have and not hit the target was not good enough.

'I went in to speak with the manager and said, 'I spoke with Robin van Persie and said he can take them'.’

Rooney has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks with former United captain Roy Keane saying the miss against West Ham would be the 'last penalty' Rooney would take.

Over it goes: Rooney sees his effort go over the bar

Over it goes: Rooney sees his effort go over the bar

Meanwhile, Sir Bobby Charlton has hailed Rooney and backed the Manchester United striker to join the growing list of players to reach a century of England caps.

Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole is set to become the seventh player to make 100 England appearances when Brazil visit Wembley on Wednesday, and Charlton fully expects Rooney – who has 78 caps at the age of 27 – to follow suit.

That's it: Rooney decided to stop taking penalties after this miss

That's it: Rooney decided to stop taking penalties after this miss

Charlton, England's record goalscorer with 49 goals in 106 internationals, said in the new book England Centurions: 'Wayne Rooney has the potential to reach 100 caps and much more. He is a great talent, an automatic choice when we have a shortage of top international talent.'

Cole will follow in the footsteps of Peter Shilton (125), David Beckham (115), Bobby Moore (108), Charlton, Billy Wright (105) and Steven Gerrard (100) in reaching the milestone if he takes the field against Brazil.

Charlton said of the 32-year-old: 'Ashley Cole is a good player, and no-one could not be considered top quality to reach 100 caps, and also in top condition because it does demand stamina to play on for so long.

'So I would wish all those reaching 100 caps 'good luck'.'

Manchester United 4 Fulham 1 – match report: Javier Hernandez scores twice

Man United 4 Fulham 1: Merciless Reds put on dazzling display to send Cottagers out

PUBLISHED:

19:22 GMT, 26 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:31 GMT, 26 January 2013

Manchester United marched into the fifth round of the FA Cup after battering Fulham at Old Trafford.

Ryan Giggs scored from the spot after an Aaron Hughes handball early in the game before Wayne Rooney and two goals from Javier Hernandez put the tie beyond doubt.

Hughes clawed back a consolation for the Cottagers, but the result never looked in doubt.

Cruising: Javier Hernandez (right) is congratulated by Wayne Rooney (left) after scoring Manchester United's fourth

Cruising: Javier Hernandez (right) is congratulated by Wayne Rooney (left) after scoring Manchester United's fourth

Game over: Hernandez scored Manchester United's third to put the result beyond doubt

Game over: Hernandez scored Manchester United's third to put the result beyond doubt

Doubled: Rooney scored Manchester United's second of the evening after half-time

Doubled: Rooney scored Manchester United's second of the evening after half-time

On the spot: Ryan Giggs opened the scoring for United from the spot

On the spot: Ryan Giggs opened the scoring for United from the spot

MATCH FACTS

Man United: De Gea, Rafael, Evra, Jones, Smalling, Anderson (Kagawa 71), Giggs (Valencia 71), Carrick (Scholes 61), Nani, Rooney, Hernandez

Subs not used: Lindegaard, Ferdinand, Welbeck, Van Persie

Goals: Giggs 3, Rooney 50, Hernandez 53, 66

Fulham: Schwarzer, Riise, Hangeland, Baird (Karagounis 46), Hughes, Riether, Sidwell, Duff (Rodallega 61), Kacaniklic, Berbatov, Ruiz (Dejagah 70)

Subs not used: Etheridge, Senderos, Briggs, Petric

Goal: Hughes 77

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

More to follow…

Incriminating: Aaron Hughes gave away the penalty after handling the ball in the box

Incriminating: Aaron Hughes gave away the penalty after handling the ball in the box

Battle: Alex Kacaniklic (right) and Rafael compete for possession

Battle: Alex Kacaniklic (right) and Rafael compete for possession

Close: Rooney looks to the skies after seeing the ball go wide

Close: Rooney looks to the skies after seeing the ball go wide

.

Welcome back: Dimitar Berbatov (left) and Chris Smalling (right) battle for possession

Welcome back: Dimitar Berbatov (left) and Chris Smalling (right) battle for possession

.

Powerless: Martin Jol watched his Fulham side succumb to a routine defeat

Powerless: Martin Jol watched his Fulham side succumb to a routine defeat

.

On the sidelines: Robin van Persie

On the sidelines:A fan shows her support for United

On the sidelines: Robin van Persie as a fan watches United with a green and gold scarf

Manchester United put through their paces at Qatar training camp… but what are Van Persie and co doing wearing a tea-towel kit?

Manchester United put through their paces at Qatar training camp… but what are Van Persie and co doing wearing a tea-towel kit

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

12:51 GMT, 22 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:45 GMT, 22 January 2013

It's difficult to argue Manchester United have done badly by swapping Britain's freezing conditions for the warmth and sun of Doha, Qatar.

What's more questionable, however, is their choice of attire.

Robin van Persie and company have already been pictured wearing Bugs Bunny pyjamas, and today that controversial taste appears to have extended to their training kit.

Checkmate: United cannot be accused of not doing things as a team

Checkmate: United cannot be accused of not doing things as a team

Comfortable: Nor do they look unhappy with their choices - Danny Welbeck (centre) is particularly convincing

Comfortable: Nor do they look unhappy with their choices – Danny Welbeck (centre) is particularly convincing

Now it shouldn't be overlooked that in Sir Alex Ferguson's time there have been some bad clothing choices – one grey away kit was ditched after a 6-3 defeat at Southampton in 1996 – but there's a chance that these are the worst yet.

United's next fixture is in the fourth round of the FA Cup at home to Fulham on Saturday.

And staying in Doha's luxurious Aspire Academy – albeit without Ferguson who still has commitments in Britain – where Bundesliga sides Bayern Munich and Schalke have also trained is surely one of the finest ways to prepare.

Prolific: United's front two show different levels of happiness at the kits

Prolific: United's front two show different levels of happiness at the kits

Prolific: United's front two show different levels of happiness at the kits

One who might be particularly uncomfortable is goalkeeper David de Gea, however. Ferguson is thought to have run out of patience with the difficulties he has experienced in adjusting to English football, so any kit may well be the least of his concerns.

De Gea is understood to be homesick and keen to be re-united with pop star girlfriend Edurne in Madrid, where he played for Atletico before his transfer in the summer of 2011.

Despite clearly improving following a particularly uncertain start to his United career, errors remain within De Gea's game and most recently during Sunday's 1-1 Premier League draw at Tottenham, where his unconvincing punch led to Clint Dempsey's stoppage time equaliser.

Contrast: Anderson's enthusiasm is different to Scholes', who's never been one with an interest in off-field matters

Contrast: Anderson's enthusiasm is different to Scholes', who's never been one with an interest in off-field matters

Contrast: Anderson's enthusiasm is different to Scholes', who's never been one with an interest in off-field matters

Regardless of any goalkeeping changes, United are thought to be on the verge of sealing the 12million arrival of forward Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger today insisted he had never had an interest in the 20-year-old, despite previously suggesting otherwise, leaving United as the firm favourites to secure his signing.

'We were never in for Zaha,' Wenger said. 'I don't know if he will go to Man United. If he goes to Man United, good luck to him.'

Classy: Even Carrington is unappealing compared to this during the winter months

Classy: Even Carrington is unappealing compared to this during the winter months

Relaxed: United's hotshots stretch in the sunshine

Relaxed: United's hotshots stretch in the sunshine

Bibs No need for those with tea-towels on hand

Bibs No need for those with tea-towels on hand

Sir Alex Ferguson, meanwhile, was in far less salubrious parts of the world. The boss was pictured with Instagram user Oliver Regis at Peterborough train station, making his way back to Manchester after a function in London.

In the cold: Ferguson was unable to join his squad in Qatar

In the cold: Ferguson was unable to join his squad in Qatar

Danny Welbeck dilemma for Man United as Sir Alex Ferguson loathe to drop striker for Wayne Rooney

Welbeck dilemma for Man United as Sir Alex loathe to drop striker for fit-again Rooney

By
Joe Bernstein

PUBLISHED:

22:55 GMT, 19 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:55 GMT, 19 January 2013

Manchester United manager Sir Alex
Ferguson has revealed a softer side ahead of his biggest selection
headache of the season against Tottenham.

Ferguson will explain privately to
players left out of the mouthwatering game at White Hart Lane why they
haven't been included. He says the days of simply pinning up the
teamsheet without any discussion are over.

All aboard: Alex Ferguson and his players wait for the train to London on Saturday

All aboard: Alex Ferguson and his players wait for the train to London on Saturday

Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa are all fit to start for United at White Hart Lane but Danny Welbeck's man-of-the-match performance against Liverpool last weekend means Ferguson is loathe to drop the England youngster.

United's injury worries in defence have also eased with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic available to compete with fitagain Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, who were outstanding in the midweek FA Cup win against West Ham when United kept only their third clean sheet at Old Trafford since September.

Ferguson said: 'You want to be able to say to someone “I'm leaving you out not because you did not play well last week – you played great – but I'm going to pick a different team”.

Police escort: The Man United players board the train to London

Police escort: The Man United players board the train to London

'It's difficult to leave players out. You have to speak to them. The days of just putting a team up on the notice board are gone. The stats of players' running performance over the last 10 years have soared. It's amazing. As the game gets quicker and more energy gets spent you have to think more about picking your teams. Players do accept being left out now. I'm not saying they enjoy it but they handle it not too badly.'

Rooney and Van Persie could start together for the first time since Rooney was injured in mid-December. United will be keen to avenge a 3-2 home defeat by Spurs in September. Spurs have never completed the League double over United in the Premier League era.

Rio Ferdinand will not complain over coin thrower

Rio will not pursue complaint against coin thrower who left him bleeding during derby

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

11:30 GMT, 5 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:36 GMT, 5 January 2013

Rio Ferdinand has told police he does not want to press charges against the fan who threw a coin at him during a heated Manchester derby.

The Manchester United defender, 34, was struck by a two-pence piece last month.

Blood was seen streaming from the cut as United won 3-2 at the Eithad Stadium thanks to Robin van Persie's late winner.

Nasty: Rio Ferdinand was left bleeding after being hit by a coin last month

Nasty: Rio Ferdinand was left bleeding after being hit by a coin last month

Police began an investigation into the incident but having contacted United, were told Ferdinand did not wish to pursue a complaint, reports the Manchester Evening News.

As a result, the probe was dropped and the offender is now unlikely to face punishment.

Manchester City apologised to the player immediately and Ferdinand himself made light of the altercation.

Agony: Ferdinand recalls after being hit during the Manchester derby

Agony: Ferdinand recalls after being hit during the Manchester derby

He posted a message on Twitter which read: 'what a result, 3points! Sweet! Whoever threw that coin, what a shot! Can’t believe it was a copper 2p….could have at least been a 1 coin!;

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said afterwards: 'It’s just unfortunate towards the end a City fan runs on and then they throw coins at our players and that. I don’t think you need that.”

Van Persie added: 'That should not really happen on a football pitch.'

Raring to go: Ferdinand could feature for United at West Ham in the FA Cup

Raring to go: Ferdinand could feature for United at West Ham in the FA Cup

Meanwhile, the City fan who stormed on to the
football field to confront Ferdinand at the end of the match has been banned from attending matches for three years.

Matthew Stott, 21, was told he came close to going to prison, but instead his 56-day jail term was suspended for 12 months.

Stott
had to be restrained by City goalkeeper Joe Hart from confronting
Ferdinand.

Swansea 1 Manchester United 1 – Match report

Swansea 1 Manchester United 1: Reds frustrated as Michu's goal gives Swans share of the points

|

UPDATED:

16:13 GMT, 23 December 2012

Manchester United missed the chance to extend their lead in the title race to six points as Michu came out on top in the battle of the Barclays Premier League's top scorers at the Liberty Stadium.

Patrice Evra had given United the lead in the 16th minute as he headed home from a Robin van Persie corner.

But Swansea continued their good record against the top-flight big guns as Michu finished from close range to move clear of Van Persie with his 13th league goal of the season.

Flat out: Michu makes it 1-1 as goalkeeper David de Gea lies on the ground

Flat out: Michu makes it 1-1 as goalkeeper David de Gea lies on the ground

Match facts:

Swansea: Vorm, Tiendalli, Chico, Williams, Davies, Dyer, Britton (Ki 62), Agustien (Shechter 88), De Guzman (Moore 71), Routledge, Michu.

Subs not used: Tremmel, Graham, Monk, Richards.

Goal: Michu 29

Booked: De Guzman, Williams

Man Utd: De Gea, Jones, Evans, Vidic, Evra, Valencia (Hernandez 62), Carrick, Cleverley (Scholes 86), Young, Rooney (Giggs 78), van Persie.

Subs not used: Lindegaard, Welbeck, Fletcher, Buttner.

Goal: Evra 16

Booked: Jones, Rooney, Van Persie, Scholes

Referee: Michael Oliver

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United will hold a four-point lead over Manchester City at Christmas but will be left to rue a series of missed chances during the final half hour when they piled the pressure on their hosts.

Swansea felt they had shown United too much respect during this fixture last season but, after a slow start, they showed little sign of being overawed as they took the game to the visitors.

Dwight Tiendalli flashed a threatening ball across the six-yard box before Kemy Agustien freed Michu with a superb long ball, but the Spaniard sliced high and wide.
David De Gea easily saved weak efforts from Wayne Routledge and Michu, but United halted the hosts' building momentum as they took the lead.

Wayne Rooney had already warmed Michel Vorm's hands with a stinging drive before Evra put the visitors ahead, arriving to glance a header in off the far post from a Van Persie corner.

But Swansea recovered well from the blow and Jonathan de Guzman had the ball in the net two minutes later, but the effort was ruled out for Michu blocking off Jonny Evans as the midfielder advanced.

All square: Michu scores the equiliser for Swansea

All square: Michu scores the equiliser for Swansea

Levelling up: Michu celebrates making it 1-1 just before the half hour mark

Levelling up: Michu celebrates making it 1-1 just before the half hour mark

The Liberty Stadium faithful were further angered when Phil Jones was given only a yellow card for a clumsy lunge on Ben Davies, although replays suggested referee Michael Oliver had got the decision right.

But it was United who felt they had been victims of an injustice as Michu levelled on the half hour mark.
Evra was caught out by De Guzman's clever run and when De Gea could only parry the Dutchman's angled shot, Michu was on hand to tap in.

Not going to plan: Wayne Rooney , Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick look on after Swansea level the scores

Not going to plan: Wayne Rooney , Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick look on after Swansea level the scores

Sir Alex Ferguson was visibly angered that Van Persie was not awarded a free-kick after he and Chico Flores went to ground following the Spaniard's challenge seconds before the equaliser, and the United boss made his feelings known to referee Oliver at the break.

The goal added an extra bite to Swansea's play and they had the better of the remainder of the opening half.
De Guzman and Routledge were becoming increasingly influential for the hosts and the former should have done better after working his way into the United box on the byline, only to shoot straight at De Gea with several team-mates well placed.

High riser: Patrice Evra heads United into the lead

High riser: Patrice Evra heads United into the lead

Head boy: Patrice Evra watches his header go in the back of the net

Head boy: Patrice Evra watches his header go in the back of the net

Goal rush: Evra celebrates scoring his third goal of the season

Goal rush: Evra celebrates scoring his third goal of the season

But United offered a remainder of their quality in first half stoppage time when Evra easily got past Nathan Dyer and intelligently pulled the ball back to Rooney, but the England forward fired directly at Vorm.

The second half started at a furious pace and there were chances for both sides.

Michu again headed over and De Gea had to stand firm to repel Routledge's close-range strike.

Body on the line: Ashley Williams gets across to block Wayne Rooney's shot

Body on the line: Ashley Williams gets across to block Wayne Rooney's shot

At the other end Ashley Williams made two superb blocks to stop goalbound efforts from Rooney and Ashley Young after Swansea twice surrendered possession cheaply.

United were finally exerting some authority and Van Persie came close to putting them back in front as he cleverly diverted a Rooney cross goalwards, only to see his effort cannon away off the bar.

Substitute Javier Hernandez wasted another presentable chance as he failed to control Van Persie's astute pass and Vorm gratefully held the Mexican's deflected strike.

Looking for his man: Ashley Young prepares to cross the ball

Looking for his man: Ashley Young prepares to cross the ball

Off target: Williams again gets in the way, this time to stop Van Persie

Off target: Williams again gets in the way, this time to stop Van Persie

Protecting the ball: Nathan Dyer fends off the challenge of Evra

Protecting the ball: Nathan Dyer fends off the challenge of Evra

Worse was to follow for United when Rooney dispossessed Chico Flores but allowed the defender to get back and intercept a slack pass which should have given Hernandez an easy finish, much to the fury of his manager.

Tempers flared as United frustrations grew. Van Persie was struck on the head by a Williams clearance after being brought down on the edge of the box leading to some pushing and shoving and a booking apiece for the central protagonists.

Head case: Williams lashes the ball against the neck of floored United striker Van Persie

Head case: Williams lashes the ball against the neck of floored United striker Van Persie

Pulled apart: Williams and Van Persie had to be separated by their team-mates

Pulled apart: Williams and Van Persie had to be separated by their team-mates

Ref rage: An angry Sir Alex Ferguson complains to fourth official Lee Probert after the incident

Ref rage: An angry Sir Alex Ferguson complains to fourth official Lee Probert after the incident

Swansea were by now under incessant pressure.

Vorm tipped a Carrick header against the bar while Van Persie and Young were denied by blocks from Williams and Davies, although there was a suspicion of handball about the latter, as Swansea held out.

Adrian Durham: Arsenal"s Santi Cazorla cannot touch David Silva or Juan Mata… Lionel Messi is a bottler

Arsenal reality check: Even Peterborough have beaten Reading… Cazorla cannot touch Silva or Mata… And why Messi is a bottler

PUBLISHED:

10:17 GMT, 20 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

11:15 GMT, 20 December 2012

Arsenal won 5-2 at Reading. So what

The way Gooners are banging on about that result makes it sound like everything is OK at the Emirates. Breaking news – everything is not OK. Bradford knocked Arsenal out of the Capital One Cup. Arsenal are 15 points behind the Premier League leaders, and we’re not even halfway through the season.

More breaking news for Gooners – Theo Walcott is good, but he will never be at the same level the talismanic Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry achieved.

Good, but not stellar: Theo Walcott scores Arsenal's fifth goal under pressure from Adrian Mariappa at Reading on Monday

Good, but not stellar: Theo Walcott scores Arsenal's fifth goal under pressure from Adrian Mariappa at Reading on Monday

Follow Adrian Durham on Twitter – @talkSPORTDrive

And Santi Cazorla is good, but over
the course of a season he’s not quite David Silva, or Juan Mata. Both
Walcott and Cazorla are players I rate highly, but both prove that
Arsenal on the field have been starved of success and stripped of
quality year after year.

The fans are desperate for a hero –
when Santi played well, he was the new hero. Then Wilshere came back,
and Santi’s form dipped and Jack was the man. Now it’s Theo. But the
fans can’t really get behind Theo because they know the chances are
he’ll be leaving.

On Monday night at Reading Arsenal
won the first half when Reading got their tactics completely wrong.
Brian McDermott changed things at half time and the 2nd half finished
2-2.

And at the end of it all it’s a great
night out when your team wins away but what does a 5-2 win at Reading
actually mean for a club like Arsenal Not a lot really. Arsenal used to
win big at Premier League cannon fodder on their way to the title or
the double. It was a means to an end. Now the odd decent win is all the
fans can look forward to.

A great club, with great fans who deserve better.

Arsene Wenger said that Monday’s win shows how strong Arsenal are.

The reality is that Arsenal beat Reading in the same calendar year Peterborough United beat Reading.

Santi Cazorla

David Silva

Juan Mata

Season's greetings: Cazorla (left) is decent but he's no David Silva (centre) nor Juan Mata of Chelsea (right)

HAMMERS GOING FOR GOLD

West Ham United's co-owner David Gold

In the summer West Ham co-owner David
Sullivan said the club were willing to 'blow the budget for several
years' by signing Andy Carroll for 17million and paying his 100,000 a
week wages. Carroll said no to a permanent move but a loan deal was
sorted out.

Fast forward to this week and West Ham
are among the clubs ready to agree to new cost controls in the Premier
League.

The other co-owner of the Hammers David Gold (above) said on Tuesday: 'It’s important to bring in governors to ensure the Premier League never
has to experience what happened when Portsmouth went into
administration. If you control costs you probably control wages, but the
driving force is for sustainability which is what we’re pursuing.'

West Ham fans better hope the club is run by Mr Gold’s philosophy.

OLD SCHOOL NO, BROWN
IS SIMPLY DIRTY

I’m neither a Leeds fan nor a Chelsea fan but here is one special reason why I’m glad Leeds didn’t make it to the semi finals of the Capital One Cup – Michael Brown.

As far as I could see he spent the whole game kicking and fouling opponents and playing very little football.

He seems to have built a career on nasty challenges.

Among those who have felt the full force of Brown’s brutality are Jacob Butterfield, Ashley Cole, Sean Davis, Jem Karacan, Theo Robinson, Jermaine Jenas and perhaps the worst foul I’ve ever seen – on Ryan Giggs in August 2006.

He launched a stamp on Giggs’ knee with the ball not even in the same postcode.

Amazingly he only saw yellow for it, so he’s lucky to have only received eight red cards in his career.

He’s been described as 'old school,' but he’s just dirty.

Tackle from behind: Leeds' Michael Brown puts in a trademark challenge on Chelsea's David Luiz at Elland Road last night

Tackle from behind: Leeds' Michael Brown puts in a trademark challenge on Chelsea's David Luiz at Elland Road last night

Seeing red: Ryan Giggs of Manchester United reacts after being fouled by Fulham's Michael Brown in 2006

Seeing red: Ryan Giggs of Manchester United reacts after being fouled by Fulham's Michael Brown in 2006

THE SECRET FOOTBALLER WHO JUST WANTS TO PLAY

Think all footballers are in it for the money Think again.

Quite by chance I happened to sit
opposite a professional footballer on a train recently. I didn’t
recognise him at first, and when I did realise who it was I couldn’t
introduce myself because he was listening to music. Then his phone rang
so I thought I’d take the chance at the end of the call to say hello.

This ceased to be an option once I
realised the nature of his conversation. He was telling his agent how
gutted he was that he wasn’t getting a game.

To fill you in, he wasn’t injured, and isn’t a bad player at all. His manager just isn’t selecting him.

At first I thought he was another
egotistical player who thought he had a divine right to be picked. But I
was wrong. He just wants to play football.

From what I picked up, money
was not an issue at all, he just wants to play football. The manager
who won’t pick him isn’t the manager who signed him, so the player is
now in a situation where he is getting paid but not playing.

From the
outside it looks like he is taking money for nothing, but in his own
words: 'I just want to play.' A decent young English player being held
back by a club that should do the decent thing and let him go.

MAGNIFICENT MESSI HAS BOTTLED OUT OF BIG TEST

Never thought I’d say it but I’m
disappointed in Lionel Messi. The best player on the planet, arguably
the best player of all time, I’d happily pay a small fortune to watch
him play.

But why sign again at Barcelona

Messi has won everything at Barcelona,
there’s nothing left to do there. So why not come to the Premier League
so we can find out if he can do it out of his comfort zone

Avoiding England: Lionel Messi beats Gorka Iraizoz of Athletic Bilbao to put Barca 2-0 up at the Nou Camp

Avoiding England: Lionel Messi beats Gorka Iraizoz of Athletic Bilbao to put Barca 2-0 up at the Nou Camp

His new contract takes him beyond the age of 30 so we will never see Messi at his peak playing anywhere else but Barcelona.

Scoring and winning has become easy at
Barcelona for Messi. I wish he had accepted the challenge of signing for
an English side. Is he scared of Stoke

Lionel Messi – bottler.

Follow Adrian on Twitter – @talkSPORTDrive… Adrian hosts talkSPORT's Drivetime Show on weekdays between 4pm–7pm alongside former England cricketer Darren Gough

Kauto Stone yet to find a jockey for King George VI Chase after Jacob suspension.

Kauto Stone yet to find a jockey for King George VI Chase after Jacob suspension

|

UPDATED:

20:35 GMT, 17 December 2012

Connections of Kauto Star’s half-brother Kauto Stone have still to decide who will partner the six-year-old in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day in the absence of the suspended Daryl Jacob.

Jacob was on board Kauto Stone when he landed the JNWine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal but will miss the lucrative Christmas period after picking up a 10-day ban for dropping his hands and mistaking the winning line at Wincanton on December 6.

As usual, Tony McCoy’s name has been in the frame but Charlie Liverton, racing manager to owner Robin Geffen, stated that as yet things are still up in the air and discussions are ongoing.

Jacob will miss the Christmas period after picking up a 10-day ban

Jacob will miss the Christmas period after picking up a 10-day ban

Liverton said: ‘Nothing has been finalised yet. Mr (Robin) Geffen (owner) and Paul Nicholls still need to sit down and come to a decision.

‘He's very much on target for the race, though, and has been doing everything nicely since Down Royal, touch wood.’

Meanwhile, trainer David Pipe has not ruled out the King George for Grands Crus who recently had a wind operation after disappointing when a red-hot favourite for the Paddy Power Gold Cup last month.

Pipe said: ‘He just had a routine gallop and everything is fine, I just wanted to keep everyone informed with his progress. He will be left in at the five-day stage and a decision on the King George will be made very late, as I've always said it will be.’

Grands Crus is as short as 10-1 for the King George, for which Long Run is the general 7-2 favourite.