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Man Utd 4-0 Olympiakos

I actually planned to miss this match due a new job, but at the last minute my willpower let me down and I was on the way to Old Trafford. And its a good thing I went too because I saw a solid win for the Reds and a virtual guarantee that United will top the group.

The Greek supporters were in the ground early, singing their hearts out and bouncing up and down whilst the players warmed up. They were to be silenced soon after kick off by the lackluster performance of their players.

As the match kicked off some United supporters were not overconfident. The team had looked jaded at Charlton before Ruud came on, and the Dutchman did not feature in the lineup for this match at all. There were suggestions that Butt and Scholes were carrying knocks, and that Veron was not fully recovered from the flu. However, this section of the crowd soon left their doubts behind.

United welcomed back the return of Gary Neville, making his first start of the season since his injury against Deportivo that kept him out of the World Cup. One of United’s most under-rated attributes is the ability of Gary Neville to overlap and support Becks, and it certainly showed last night. Gary’s runs enabled Beckham to find himself in more space and improve his crossing which has been below standard so far this season.

The first chance of the match actually came from G Nev, when he let rip at a 25 yard strike turned away for a corner by the dodgy Greek keeper. “Gary Neville is a red” sang the Stretford End and he applauded back. Soon after, Giggs’ recent ability to play as a poacher in the centre of the field enabled him to strike home the opener.

It was not soon after that the man of the match stole the show. Juan Veron has not had the easiest time at Old Trafford, and I can not claim that one performance against a weak away team will get the critics off his back. But his form last night was as good as anyone elses has been this season, and his arrogant chipped finish sent the crowd wild.

Veron continued to be the star of the show, my personal opinion being in Europe he is given more time on the ball than in the Premiership. Just before half time the Argentine was the centre of attention again, as a wild lunge at him on the half way line earned his Greek counterpart a red card. Perhaps a yellow would have been sufficient, but it was a bad challenge with studs showing that could have caused a bad injury.

United started the second half looking slightly weaker than the first. It was not the same fast, passing football, but instead a slower more controlled possession game. But when you are two nil up at home against a weak side who have ten men you can be forgiven for taking your foot off the gas a little!

In any case, the performance did not weaker to any great extent, because it was not long before Giggsy got his second. I am sure it was meant as a cross, and it did take a deflection, but a three goal lead was no less then we deserved.

Every single player had played their part, although some such as Rio had very little to do. The only player who had not seemed to have played any vital role was Ole. Yet before long Scholes played a well weighted through ball and Ole got his name on the scoresheet.

Overall it was an easy win against a side we should beat in Athens too. We only need a point from three games to assure ourselves of qualification, which shouldnt be too much trouble! Well played reds, on current form a crisis is anything but true.

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