United Secure Third Successive Victory
Old Trafford welcomed back a former hero in Steve Bruce on Saturday 29 November in what was game number 700 in management for the Englishman.
However, there would be nothing to celebrate as Chris Smalling, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie all got onto the score sheet for the home side and David De Gea kept only his second clean sheet of the campaign to ease to a 3-0 drubbing.
United pushed the visitors onto the back foot right from kick off and always looked like scoring at some point despite losing Angel Di Maria to a suspected hamstring injury inside 13 minutes.
Moments later, a scrap in the penalty area saw the ball land at Smalling’s feet and the defender bundled it across the line. The decision was confirmed by goal-line technology and the home side were well on their way to regaining that fourth spot on the table.
Bruce played his hand very early on when he substituted Hatem Ben Arfa minutes after conceding the opener as he was deemed too lazy to be on the field, further humiliation for the Frenchman who was only loaned out because Newcastle felt he was “too fat” to play for them.
Shortly before the interval, van Persie’s layoff found Rooney who drilled home a screamer from outside the box to double his side’s lead.
The second half saw Hull come out with the intention of pressing United into their own half to avoid any real flow to their passing. The ploy worked for a short period until Michael Carrick put a majestic ball over the defence which Robin van Persie dived onto but his header was saved and the Dutchman was ruled offside anyway.
Van Persie finally got back onto the score sheet after more than a month when, on 66 minutes, his powerful drive from 25 yards punctured the top corner of Allan McGregor’s net and secured all three points.
United then shut up shop and played the ball around in their own half for the remainder of the game. They also managed 77% of the total possession, a far more confident display than the counter-attack-reliant performance against Arsenal last weekend.
Despite the comfortable victory, the real highlights for the Red Devils were that Wayne Rooney is now only 18 goals away from Sir Bobby Charlton’s record tally for the club and Radamel Falcao was given 20 minutes of match practice after six weeks out through injury.
United have now won their last three fixtures while the Tigers have failed to win since the opening match of the season and next travel to Goodison Park to face a resurgent Everton side.