It was those familiar names – Ronaldo and Rooney – on the scoresheet once again at Old Trafford as United beat Bolton Wanderers 2-0.
And although referee Rob Styles gifted the Reds a penalty to open the scoring after an hour, Sir Alex’s men proved their superiority time and time again over the 90 minutes. As has been the case over the years, only the brilliance of Jussi Jaaskelainen in the Bolton goal kept the score respectable.
The manager made four changes to the side that drew 1-1 at Chelsea last weekend. Despite five goals in his last five starts against Bolton, Wayne Rooney had to be content with a place on the bench. He was joined there by fellow Stamford Bridge starters Paul Scholes and Jonny Evans.
Nemanja Vidic reclaimed his spot in the heart of the Reds’ defence, while Cristiano Ronaldo earned his first league start of the season. Anderson replaced Owen Hargreaves in midfield, with Sir Alex opting for Carlos Tevez up front alongside Dimitar Berbatov.
But it was Bolton who engineered the first shot on goal, Kevin Nolan firing a crisp half-volley into van der Sar’s midriff after just two minutes. The Trotters enjoyed the lion’s share of possession early on and the visiting fans were in fine voice.
Then the Reds stepped up a gear. Anderson, Berbatov and Ronaldo combined well before the Bulgarian had half a chance to head United into the lead on 12 minutes. Fletcher’s pinpoint cross found the former Spurs forward eight yards from goal but his header lacked the necessary power to beat Jaaskelainen.
United went close again after a quarter of an hour when the ‘keeper spilled Tevez’s shot into the path of Ji-sung Park. Unlike last weekend at Stamford Bridge, however, Park couldn’t direct the follow-up into the net.