25/05/2012 09:00, Report by Ben Ashby
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Review 2011/12: November

If October was defined by the shock 6-1 defeat to Manchester City, then November was all about getting back in the Barclays Premier League saddle and putting together some healing results.

If the price of doing so was grinding out points rather than winning with gay abandon, then so be it. Sir Alex loves his 1-0 wins, and two of these back-to-back made for a good return from the month’s league action, even if a home draw with Newcastle was a cause for some disappointment.

Sunderland’s visit was marked by a well-deserved alteration to Old Trafford’s geography: what was the North Stand was unveiled before kick-off as the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, as the manager made it 25 years in charge of the club (David Gill stunning the boss with the announcement pre-match, after the manager had been given a guard of honour by the players and a rousing hand from all at OT). The game didn’t quite live up to the occasion, but United (with Wayne Rooney in centre midfield) did enough to beat Steve Bruce’s men. Ironically it was Wes Brown who decided the game, scoring his unofficial sixth career United goal by heading into his own net from a corner.

After an international break the Reds faced a tough trip to Swansea, who were winning points as well as plaudits with their neat passing game, and who were unbeaten at the Liberty Stadium up to that point. Again United weren’t at their fluent best, but an early goal from Javier Hernandez, and a resolute defensive display, secured the points.

The winning streak came to an end at home to Newcastle, though but for a bad refereeing call the Reds might have recorded a fourth consecutive 1-0 league win. That was the scoreline up until the 64th minute, another Chicharito goal having given the Reds the advantage, when Mike Jones awarded a penalty for a perfectly good Rio Ferdinand tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa. Demba Ba slotted home the spot-kick and even though the Magpies were reduced to 10 men, United couldn’t find a winner thanks largely to the heroics of Toon keeper Tim Krul.

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