Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Leaders Eke out a Nervy Victory

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Leaders Eke out a Nervy Victory

Article excerpt

Manchester United 1 West Ham United 0 ROBIN van Persie struck after 33 seconds as Manchester United edged past West Ham at Old Trafford.

But it turned into a nervy evening for the Barclays Premier League leaders, who were well below their best.

And while the visitors were not exactly on top form either they came close to snatching a point late on, when Anders Lindegaard denied Carlton Cole from close range.

On his return to Old Trafford last Friday for the first time since he was bombed out by Sir Alex Ferguson six years ago, Ruud van Nistelrooy declared his hope that Van Persie would eventually eclipse his Red Devils career.

As Van Nistelrooy scored 150 times in five seasons in Manchester, Van Persie evidently has some way to go.

He could hardly have made a better start though.

The 29-year-old's 12th goal came in his 18th game, one fewer than Van Nistelrooy managed it in following his arrival from PSV Eindhoven. And any latecomers missed it.

With a side lacking any orthodox wingers, Van Persie checked inside from the left flank, then made his way to the edge of the area as Michael Carrick exchanged passes with Anderson.

Van Persie swivelled past Winston Reid as he collected Carrick's forward pass, then profited from James Collins' desperate attempt to block, which only sent the ball looping over Jussi Jaaskelainen and into the net.

Beaten 7-1 by Blackburn on his last visit here two years ago, Sam Allardyce must have feared the worst.

Evidently though, his team is far more durable than the poor QPR outfit that came north on Saturday.

Skipper Kevin Nolan turned Matt Taylor's low corner into the side-netting before Andy Carroll smashed a volley not that far over Lindegaard's goal.

As anticipated, Anderson's introduction for only his second Premier League start of the season provided the hosts with momentum from midfield.

The lack of width was clear though and, judging by a couple of woeful left-footed attempts that went well wide, Anderson is one of the few Brazilians who is no good at shooting.

Javier Hernandez screwed a shot wide for the hosts and the Mexican was responsible for the only other decent chance in the opening period, when Jaaskelainen turned the Mexican's shot from the edge of the area around a post. …

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