23/01/2010 16:45, Report by Ben Hibbs
United 4 Hull 0
United returned to the top of the Barclays Premier League table with a 4-0 victory that was inspired by the imperious quality of Wayne Rooney, who scored all four goals. Up until the last ten minutes, the team performance had perhaps not been completely convincing, but the same could not be said of Rooney's 90 minutes.
The Reds’ no.10 turned what was a fairly ordinary match into a very healthy victory that catapults United above Arsenal and Chelsea, who both play league fixtures in midweek. Rooney's first goal arrived in the eighth minute of a first-half display that was energetic and provided plenty of attacking intent. But United struggled to back it up in the second period, that is until Rooney took matters into his own hands late on. The final eight minutes were a goal rush for Rooney as he bagged the match ball in brilliant style and added a fourth for good measure.
Sir Alex was able to recall Rio Ferdinand for his first match since defeat to Liverpool at Anfield back in October, while Michael Owen and Rooney started together for only the fourth time in the league.
The United boss made clear that the target on an otherwise empty weekend in the league programme was to take top spot from new leaders Arsenal. United’s determination to achieve it was clear from the start as Rooney broke through down the left channel and cut the ball back for Owen in the third minute. The no.7’s shot, however, was deflected wide by Hull captain Anthony Gardner.
An early breakthrough was still achieved, four minutes later, when Paul Scholes’ fizzing long-range effort was parried by Boaz Myhill into the path of Rooney, who steadied himself and drilled the ball into the net.
Hull, who are without a win on the road and have scored only eight away goals this season, found themselves increasingly penned in the defensive third of the field, with Nani blazing a shot over the bar and Park inches away from