Manchester United 0-1 Bolton Wanderers
   
Nolan 77
Barthez,Neville, Ferdinand, Blanc, Silverstrre, Beckham, Butt, Veron, Giggs, Solskjaer, Van Nistelrooy
Jaaskelainen, Bergsson, Whitlow, Barness , Charlton, Nolan, Frandsen, Gardner, DjorkaeffPedersen , Ricketts
Forlan (Veron 76), Ricardo, Stewart, O'Shae, Chadwick
Campo (Pedersen 90), Walters , Warhurst (Djorkaeff 72), Holdsworth (Frandsen 87), Poole
Yellow : Neville 75
Yellow : Nolan 54, Holdsworth 93
Henrick Pedersen's Chance
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Van Nistelrooy's miss
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Kevin Nolan's Goal
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Jussi Jaaskelainen's Save
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"D'You smell that? Smells like.. Victory!"

For the second year Bolton arrived at Old Trafford with no one giving them much chance of surviving. For the second year they came away with three points, leaving Man United's highly expensive reputation in tatters. Bolton won this game because they wanted to more, it's as simple as that (and even Sir Alex Ferguson had to admit it). Bolton came to the game with a plan and executed it perfectly, spent most of the first half outplaying a team which cost roughly 20 times what they did and were unlucky to go into the break without a goal to count for it.

The instigator of most things in the first half was Youri Djorkaeff, who far from taking it easy after retiring from international football seems to delight in embarrassing his younger competitors, passing and probing through a United midfield that didn't seem to know what each other was doing despite (with the exception of Veron) having played together since they were 16 years old. Ricketts also had a towering game, his best in a while and a cheeky backheel sent Pedersen through (see the first movie on the left) but Barthez was able to palm away the shot Henrick tried to place past him.

Not that Bolton had it entirely their own way of course :). United are a massively talented bunch, even if they weren't functioning as a team much at all. It's some indication of how the game was going though that they had to wait until the 24th minute for an effort on target, when Jussi had to prod away Solskjaer's looping header. The game was flowing, open and played at fearsome pace but Bolton were more than holding even footing, Barness and Djorkaeff going close before Bolton got a spot of luck their work ethic had earned them. Veron sent Van Nistelrooy through but his cannon of a shot came back off the bar and bounced away having never crossed the line (see the seccond movie file). So the teams went into the second half all square, both in score and overall performance

The second half was a tighter affair, both sides possibly realising a 4-0 scoreline was out of the question and one or two goals were all there was going to be. Bergsson had a header cleared off the United line and Giggs fluffed a shot strraight to Jasskelainen. Then it happened..

Bolton won a throw in near the United penalty area and Kevin Nolan tossed in a long throw. Bergsson headed it on to the penalty area where Nicky Butt tried to volley it clear. The kick screwed off his boot and came to David Beckham at the edge of the area. Beckham, rather than doing the simple thing and heading it away, chested the ball down unaware that Nolan had followed the ball's flight and was closing in. Then, crucially, Beckham slipped. The ball bobbled loose, Nolan pounced on it and fired a left foot shot across the goal which Barthez could only get a hand to. The ball hit the inside of the far corner of the goal. A small corner of a large stadium erupted as 58,000 people looked on in shock. Bolton were ahead (see the third movie file).

Goals win games they say but what happened next was just as key to the result. Manchester United came forward from the kickoff and earned a corner. Beckham whipped the ball into the near post and Solksjaer diverted the ball at ferocious speed towards the goal. Jussi Jaaskelainen, who had had a crucial role in last season's game at Old Trafford wasn't about to let his guard and down and palmed the ball away, an amazing reaction save (see movie file four). The ball ricocheted around the Wanderers area until Jussi was finally able to grab hold of the ball from Silvestre's shot and grab a chance to reorganise.

What followed next was something akin to a footballing version of a siege warfare. Manchester threw everything at Bolton's supposedly aging backline. Forlan had come on and United had every forward on their books on the pitch. Crosses rained in. Whitlow and Bergsson, aged of leg but not of will or mind, stopped it all. In the end Barthez was playing in the centre circle and United had ten men around Bolton's area. But whatever they did, however they tried to pick their way through, someone blocked them. In the end the only real save Jussi had to make was to gather a bobbling Forlan shot in the last minute on injury time.

And that was that. United fans were leaving long before the end and the discontent that germinated in the 2-1 defeat to Wanderers last season (which set a pattern that arguably cost United their chance of the title) is now full grown. United fans are unhappy, their expensive array of talents stuttering as Arsenal look like hardly breaking a sweat getting to the top of the table. Bolton fans can simply look on in amusement, having gained three points very few outside Bolton thought they could. Liverpool and Arsenal face the Wanderers next and while both aren't quite the malfunctioning unit United appear to be, they must at least know now that Wanderers are nobodies whipping boy and should be afforded some respect.