Ferguson rage as Chelsea go third after 8-0 rout
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson fumed that Swansea City defender Ashley Williams could have killed Robin van Persie yesterday, on a day that saw Chelsea crush Aston Villa 8-0 to climb to third.
Williams struck the prone Van Persie in the back of the head with the ball during the second half of a 1-1 draw at the Liberty Stadium, sparking a furious reaction from the Dutchman that culminated in bookings for both players.
Swansea top scorer Michu had earlier cancelled out Patrice Evra’s opener for United to prevent Ferguson’s men from restoring their six-point advantage over second-place Manchester City at the Premier League summit.
“Robin van Persie is lucky to be alive,” said Ferguson.
“It was a disgraceful act from their player today and he should be banned by the FA (Football Association). Robin could have had a broken neck.
“It was one of the most dangerous things I’ve seen on a football pitch in many, many years. It was absolutely deliberate, and right in front of the referee.”
Williams claimed it had been an accident, telling Sky Sports: “I just cleared the ball with frustration and unfortunately it hit him in the head and he got a bit angry about it.”
Swansea threatened first in the match, Michu firing off-target after out-pacing the returning Nemanja Vidic, before Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young tested fit-again Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm at the other end.
United took the lead in the 16th minute, with Evra getting in front of his marker to dispatch Van Persie’s corner and claim his third goal – all headers – of the season.
Michu headed over from Nathan Dyer’s cross, but it did not take long for the Spaniard to find the net.
In the 29th minute, Wayne Routledge’s cute pass freed Jonathan de Guzman and when his shot was parried by David de Gea, Michu followed up from close range to claim his 13th league goal of the campaign.
De Gea thwarted Kemy Agustien and Routledge early in the second period, before Van Persie hooked a superb volley onto the top of the Swansea crossbar.
Michael Carrick then hit the bar from a corner, while both Van Persie and Young were thwarted by some last-ditch defensive blocks, but Williams’ clash with the former Arsenal striker was to prove the biggest talking point.
It was United’s first draw of the season in all competitions and leaves them four points above City ahead of the home game with Newcastle United on Wednesday.
Later in the day, Frank Lampard marked his 500th Premier League start with a sweetly struck goal as Chelsea annihilated Villa 8-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Fernando Torres broke the deadlock with an emphatic third-minute header before David Luiz, deployed in central midfield, found the net with a glorious 25-yard free-kick.
Branislav Ivanovic made it 3-0 11 minutes before the break, following up after Brad Guzan saved from Gary Cahill, before Lampard struck from 25 yards to claim a club-record 130th top-flight goal.
Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez sent on a trio of Brazilian substitutes in Ramires, Oscar and Luiz Piazon, and they ran riot in the last 15 minutes.
Piazon released Ramires to score Chelsea’s fifth in the 75th minute, with Oscar netting his first league goal from the penalty spot four minutes later.
Eden Hazard made it seven shortly after as Villa were brought down to earth with a resounding thud after last weekend’s 3-1 win at Liverpool.
Piazon saw a penalty saved before Ramires completed the rout in injury time as Chelsea equalled their most emphatic league victory and condemned Villa to their heaviest ever defeat in the top flight.
Torres 3; Luiz 29; Ivanovic 34; Lampard 59; Ramires 75,90; Oscar 79 pen; Hazard 83;
Aston Villa 0
HT: 3-0. Att: 41,363.
Missed penalty: Piazon (C) 89.
Man. United 1
HT: 1-1; Att.: 20,650.
Wednesday: Premier League 16.00 Everton vs Wigan; Fulham vs South-ampton; Man. United vs Newcastle; Norwich vs Chelsea; QPR vs West Brom; Reading vs Swansea; Sunderland vs Man. City. 17.30 Aston Villa vs Tottenham. 20.45 Stoke City vs Liverpool.
Postponed: Arsenal vs West Ham.