[Premier League] Manchester United 3-1 Hull City
ManUtd: James Wilson (31, 61), Robin van Persie (86)
Hull: Matt Fryatt (63)
James Wilson scored twice on his debut to help Manchester United to an entertaining 3-1 win over Hull City. The striker made his first senior appearance alongside another debutant in Tom Lawrence as interim manager Ryan Giggs rang the changes.
A new-look United side looked comfortable without the chances their patient passing style warranted until Wilson notched the first of his two goals after 31 minutes. Marouane Fellaini nodded down a free-kick and Wilson, 18, lashed the ball home from eight yards out, between goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic’s legs, for an unforgettable start to his United career.
Wilson went close to adding another early in the second half, turning the ball over the bar after good work from Lawrence. A couple of attacking substitutions by Hull manager Steve Bruce opened the game out more in the second half, but it was Adnan Januzaj who went close to scoring when his rasping shot was forced wide by Jakupovic.
United doubled the lead just after the hour when Wilson pounced on a rebound from a Fellaini shot, but Hull hit back straight away when Matty Fryatt bent the ball in around David De Gea from long range with a superb strike.
Giggs replaced the youngsters, bringing on Robin van Persie and then himself, and the player-manager was soon rolling back the years with a couple of incisive runs that worried the Hull defence. De Gea blocked David Meyler’s well-hit strike from distance, and van Persie saw a shot bend wide before the Dutchman made sure with a strike from the edge of the box from a Giggs pass. Jakupovic denied the interim boss a goal with a flying save from a free-kick towards the end.
The Match: Tigers tamed
The Match: A much-altered United side passed the ball around attractively and were patient. Marouane Fellaini was influential in a more advanced position, while Shinji Kagawa enjoyed a free role that saw the Japan international drifting in centrally from the left. New boys James Wilson and Tom Lawrence brought a much-needed injection of energy as the focal point of United’s attacks, and both looked to get involved from the off. A livelier second half saw chances galore and the welcome sight of Ryan Giggs teasing an opposition defence again.
The Goals: Adnan Januzaj looped in a free kick from the right and, after Fellaini nodded the ball down, Wilson slammed it through goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic’s legs with his left foot. Wilson’s dream debut continued when he showed predatory instincts to latch onto the rebound after Fellaini’s stabbed effort was saved at point-blank range. Hull hit back almost immediately when sub Matty Fryatt bent the ball around David De Gea from 25 yards, but Robin van Persie sealed the win when he beat Jakupovic, at the second time of asking, from the edge of the box.
Star Man: Wilson looked perfectly at home at this level on a debut to remember, taking his chances with aplomb and was clearly not overawed by the occasion. Adnan Januzaj grew more influential as the game wore on, and Giggs gave a cameo performance to remember.
Sub-plot: Giggs fielded a new-look strike partnership when he handed Lawrence, 20, and 18-year-old Wilson their debuts. It was an unexpected, but welcome, move and the pair grabbed the opportunity with both hands. The question of whether Giggs would bring himself on was answered in fine style, the Welsh maestro rolling back the years with a 20-minute cameo performance of flair and artistry that was nearly capped off with a late free-kick goal.
Opposition: Steve Bruce’s side were barely out of their own half in the opening 45 minutes, with a subdued display not seeing their fringe players making a bid for their club’s first FA Cup final appearance, later this month. The pacey Ahmed Elmohamady, a shoo-in for Wembley if fit, posed problems and Hull had the spirit to hit back immediately after going two goals down.
Statistically speaking: The figures don’t always tell the whole story, but United’s 18 shots, compared to two from Hull, and eight corners versus none show how the final score r was an accurate reflection of how the Reds played, particularly as the game wore on in the second half. That’s not always been the case this season, and it showed how Giggs’ punt on shaking the team up after Saturday had the desired effect.
Quote/unquote: "I'd just like to say keep supporting us, you've seen a little glimpse of the future, we always play attractive football - keep supporting us and the good times will come back soon." Ryan Giggs speaking on the pitch afterwards.
In the stands: Nemanja Vidic received a rousing ovation when his eight years of outstanding service were marked by a presentation before kick-off, and the Serb’s introduction, for the injured Phil Jones, lifted the volume inside OT after a subdued first 22 minutes. At one point both sets of supporters chanted “Brucey, Brucey, give us a wave” – which the man himself, clearly a popular figure in East Yorkshire as well as in Manchester, was happy to oblige. But chant of the night goes to the Stretford End, with “One James Wilson” just after the teenager’s second – but “Wilson for England” may be premature, for now at least.