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Saturday 15 September 2012

Ferguson praises 'fantastic' Scholes

Sir Alex Ferguson hails United's Paul Scholes; Arsene Wenger excited by six-goal Arsenal

Manchester United mob Alexander Buttner after his debut goal against Wigan

Ferguson lauds 'fantastic' Scholes

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was delighted with the performance of Paul Scholes, who marked his 700th appearance for the club with the opening goal in United’d 4-0 defeat of Wigan Athetic.

After a scoreless first half, Scholes broke the deadlock by tapping home after Ali Al Habsi, who had saved Javier Hernandez’s early first-half penalty, had only been able to parry Nani's low cross into his path.

"Now he has scored on his 100th, 300th, 400th, 500th and 700th appearance - it is fantastic"
Sir Alex Ferguson

"That is what we always remember about Paul, the way he ghosts into the penalty box," said Ferguson. "Obviously, as he has got older, he has not been able to do that. He doesn't need to do that now because we prefer him to play central midfield.

"But now he has scored on his 100th, 300th, 400th, 500th and 700th appearance - it is fantastic."

Hernandez atoned for that earlier penalty miss when he added a second before debutants Alexander Buttner and Nick Powell rounded off the scoring for the hosts.

"Nick Powell is going to be a really good player," said the United boss of the midfielder who scored with a long-range strike. "He has a great temperament. He has two feet and is quick. He is a great striker of the ball. For an 18-year-old boy it has been a terrific day.

"Alexander was a little bit rash at times but he has a great engine. He is raw and has a lot of rough edges. Hopefully, we can develop that and he will be a really good addition for us."

Ferguson confirmed that Patrice Evra had missed out through injury rather than any form concerns, although Buttner has now applied pressure for the Frenchman's previously certain first-team spot.

"I found out I was playing yesterday," Buttner said. "I wasn't nervous then but when I was standing on the field looking around I was a little bit. It was my first goal in my first game and I will never forget it because if I play I want to let it be seen that I can do a good job."

Wenger excited by Arsenal momentum

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says that he is excited by his side's form and has backed them to hit their momentum after a 6-1 thrashing of Southampton.

The Gunners dominated proceedings in north London with four goals in the opening 37 minutes, before going on to score twice more after the interval.

"We had a good combination of pace, speed of our passing and quick combinations - the movement was excellent
Arsene Wenger

Gervinho's brace alongside own goals from Jos Hooiveld and Nathaniel Clyne, a Lukas Podolski free-kick and Theo Walcott's late effort did the damage at the Emirates Stadium.

"In the first 45 minutes we were at a particularly high level," said Wenger. "We had a good combination of pace, speed of our passing and quick combinations - the movement was excellent.

"We were quite lucky as well because they conceded two own goals, but overall I think it was a level of continuity with what we have shown at Liverpool.

"The game was very interesting to watch. We lost a bit of urgency in the second half, but that is human. We controlled the game and remained serious."

The performance bodes well for Arsenal as they prepare for tough fortnight in which Wenger's side travel to Montpellier in the UEFA Champions League, before Barcalys Premier League encounters with Manchester City and Chelsea.

"It is a big week coming up because we go on Tuesday to Montpellier, then on Sunday we play at Man City.

"We have two interesting weeks coming up because we play Man City, Chelsea and Montpellier in the Champions League.

"We know much more about the team. There is a positive energy in this team - a desire to play, a desire to play well together and real team play so it is very exciting."

The three points puts Arsenal third in the standings, while leaving visitors Southampton rooted to the bottom of the table.

Adkins reflects on 'ruthless' Gunners

The six-goal rout will have done little to help the morale of a team who have lost all four of their matches since returning to the top flight but manager Nigel Adkins refused to appear downcast, highlighting instead the quality of the English top-flight.

"We just played a very good team and the big thing is - we highlight it all the time - if you have good possession of the football and you turn it over cheaply, the players at this standard are going to punish you," the Saints manager said.

"It just highlights the standards in the Barclays Premier League and what we have to aspire to"
Nigel Adkins

"When the fixtures came out, people were looking at Man City, Man United, Arsenal - three games that on paper we would probably get a good chasing in.

"Today we have come out on the back of a poor scorelines, but from my point of view it just highlights the standards in the Barclays Premier League and what we have to aspire to.

Southampton's task was made all the more difficult at 2-0 down after Jos Hooiveld went off injured, forcing Adkins to hand new signing Maya Yoshida his debut in the 28th minute.

"We lost Hooiveld after a period of time with a calf injury," Adkins said. "We'll have to see how serious it is.

"Maya has only had one training session with us. He has just been to Japan and he was thrown right in at the deep end.

"I think he did ever so well as he grew into the game but it is not easy as he has got to know his team-mates."

Javi Garcia marked his City debut by equalising with a free header after 35 minutes and the Spain midfielder went close to snatching a last-minute winner.

Garcia was again unmarked, this time at a corner, as he powered a header towards the bottom corner but Asmir Begovic did brilliantly to tip his effort onto the post.

There was still time for substitute Edin Dzeko to lob Begovic in injury time but Ryan Shawcross got back to make a superb clearance off the line.

Mancini grateful to Garcia

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini praised the contribution of goalscoring debutant Javi Garcia, but was left frustrated by his side's 1-1 draw at Stoke City.

The Spanish defender cancelled out Peter Crouch's early strike but the Barclays Premier League champions could find no way past an inspired Asmir Begovic in the Stoke goal.

"We had two incredible chances at the end of the game and we were unlucky"
Roberto Mancini

Begovic made a stunning late save and Ryan Shawcross cleared off the line as Stoke clung on for a point at the Britannia Stadium.

"I think that Garcia scored an important goal and he had another chance," said Mancini. "He played well. Like Maicon, it was the first game for them and I think both players did a good performance. They don't know their team-mates yet and for a first game they did well.

"Here it is always difficult, not only for us but all the teams,” said Mancini. "We had two incredible chances at the end of the game and we were unlucky. It is a difficult pitch for us.

Point pleases Pulis

Stoke manager Tony Pulis was pleased with his side's point even though the Potters remain without a victory after four successive draws.

"I thought, looking at the major incidents, we had the run of the ball today," he said. "The team worked so hard, we were playing against one of the top teams in Europe.

"To compete with them you have to play as one and the 11 that did play, played as one"
Tony Pulis

"If you look at the players they left out, the ones not even on the bench, it is a phenomenal squad they, Man City, have got. To compete with them you have to play as one and the 11 that did play, played as one."

Pulis waited until the last minute before handing former England striker Michael Owen his debut. Despite being impressed with the performance of his other forwards, Pulis hopes to find the 32-year-old a place as soon as he can.

He said: "We will try and do that, as soon as Michael is fit, because we need goalscorers in the team."

Lambert lauds excellent Villa

Paul Lambert was delighted with the display of newcomer, Christian Benteke, after he scored the second goal in the 2-0 home win against Swansea City.

The Belgium international was introduced for the final quarter of the game and caused constant problems before adding to Matthew Lowton's first half opener.

"The relief at getting the first league win is massive"
Paul Lambert

It enabled Villa to end their run of 14 Barclays Premier League games without a win as they registered only their second victory in front of their home fans in 10 months.

"The great thing is he's only 21, only a kid and still learning,” said Lambert."He has a really good game for the national team against Croatia in mid-week and, if you're holding your own in that company, you're doing alright.

"Everything is a culture shock for him at the minute but he was excellent. The goal will give him confidence. The crowd will go with him. You heard the crowd's reaction when he came on."

The Villa manager was impressed by his side's overall performance as they built on the 1-1 draw at Newcastle before the international break.

"I thought they were excellent, right from the off," he said. "We thoroughly deserved it, against a really good side which has been flying. I thought we were well-worthy of it.

"The tempo and the way we played was excellent. I have nothing but praise for the lads. We have a lot of tired legs because we had a lot of lads on international duty. It was a big, big effort.

"The relief at getting the first league win is massive. I can't fault the lads for what they have given me in the short term I have been here. Given time, hopefully we can do okay."

Williams' week to forget

Ashley Williams's contribution to Benteke's goal completed a nightmare week for the Swansea captain after being part of the Wales team beaten 6-1 by Serbia, said Swansea manager Michael Laudrup.

The Danish tactician admitted it had not been a memorable few days for the Welsh defender. "Ashley is a super guy but he has had a very severe week," said Laudrup.

"I cannot be disappointed. A first defeat had to happen one day"
Michael Laudrup

"When you lose a club game, you always have the next one to recover. But when it is an international, at the start of a World Cup campaign, and you lose two games and one result is very savage, it hurts.

"Then four or days later you have to play a tough away game. I think he did well. Of course, it was a mistake at the end but, whether it was 1-0 or 2-0, doesn't make a big difference.

Laudrup refused to be too disillusioned after his side's first reverse of the campaign. "We know we will lose games. The important thing is that we created chances and were in the game until the last two minutes. I cannot be disappointed. A first defeat had to happen one day."

Saturday 15th September 2012


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Key Points

  • Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson hails Paul Scholes' goalscoring 700th appearance
  • Arsene Wenger exciting by Arsenal's growing momentum after 6-1 win
  • Paul Lambert 'relieved' after Aston Villa's first win against Swansea