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United go into this game off the back of a good win over Arsenal last Sunday. Are Louis van Gaal’s side finally beginning to show a bit of form? Hull on the other hand are on a run of three consecutive Premier League losses so they’ll be going to Old Trafford hoping to pick up some all important points to move away from the relegation zone.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the action. Email ruaidhri@thescore.ie, tweet @TheScore_ie, post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Good afternoon. It looks to be a dull one out there but luckily enough there are six Premier League fixtures to keep you occupied. Right here I’ll be keeping you up to date with all of the goings on at Old Trafford as Manchester United welcome Hull City.

So despite all of the talk during the week about the impending dropping of Robin van Persie, Louis van Gaal has defied public opinion and kept him in the side. That United side in full is:

De Gea, Smalling, Carrick, Rojo, Valencia, Fellaini, Mata, Di Maria, Young, Rooney, Van Persie.

The Hull team meanwhile, lines up as follows:

McGregor, Davies, Dawson, Chester, Elmohamady, Robertson, Brady, Livermore, Diamé, Ben Arfa, Jelavic.

So from looking at the lineup van Gaal seems to have gone with Valencia right-back and Rojo left-back with Carrick and Smalling making up the central defensive partnership. In midfield Rooney will play alongside Fellaini in a central role with Di Maria and Young taking up the wide positions and Mata playing in the hole just behind van Persie.

Disclaimer: that could be wrong, it’s all just come straight off the top of my head.

Three changes for United from the team that saw off Arsenal last Saturday. McNair, Blackett and Shaw the three players to miss out today. Rojo is a bit of a surprise in the starting 11 as he wasn’t expected to be back from his shoulder injury just yet. Time will tell if United are taking a risk with that one.

The United bench is made up of: Lindegaard, Falcao, Januzaj, Herrera, Fletcher, Blackett and McNair.

And keeping warm on the Old Trafford heated dugout seats for Hull will be: Jakupovic, Rosenior, Bruce, Meyler, Aluko, Quinn and Huddlestone.

Today is Steve Bruce’s 700th match as a manager and what better place for him to do it than Old Trafford, the ground where he enjoyed some of his finest moments. None more so than this:

Source: TheBoffrington/YouTube

It’s also Antonio Valencia’s 200th Manchester United appearance but, unfortunately, he’s never made an assistant manager dance on the pitch so I won’t be posting a video.

In other interesting news, Steven Gerrard has been dropped on the day Liverpool pay tribute to his 16-year career at Anfield.

We’re exactly 26 and a half minutes away from kick-off so why not take our weekly sports quiz to pass the time?

Over at The Hawthorns Arsenal have beaten West Brom 1-0 thanks to a Danny Welbeck header.

Christmas has reached Old Trafford. Will Louis van Gaal be giving United fans an early present today?

(I wish I could have thought of a pun there but I just couldn’t).

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester United v Hull City - Old Trafford Source: EMPICS Sport

Word is that United are playing with Young and Valencia at wing-back, Fellaini protecting a three-man defence and di Maria, Rooney and Mata supporting front man Van Persie.

1Mins

We are underway at Old Trafford.

3Mins

An early corner for United is whipped into the box by van Persie. There were shouts for a handball but Anthony Taylor waved them away.

5Mins

We’ve had a bit of a surprise with how United have lined up. A flat back four of Valencia, Smalling, Rojo and Young has Carrick sitting just in front, Fellaini ahead of him, Mata on the left di Maria on the right and Rooney just behind van Persie. Not what was expected.

7Mins

Chance for United! Rooney cuts in from the left and tries a curler to the far post that we’ve seen him do many times before but it flies just wide of the post.

10Mins

Most of the game is being played in Hull’s half so far with United looking in control. Rooney just had a header saved by McGregor. Van Persie looks a bit off the pace again, his first few early touches have been poor.

11Mins

Di Maria is feeling his hamstring in a very worrying fashion for United fans. He walked off to the sideline but has now returned to the pitch. He’s definitely not moving freely though.

12Mins

Herrera is stripped and ready to come on. It looks like di Maria is going to be the 41st injury that van Gaal has had to deal with in his time at United so far.

14Mins

So, just 14 minutes in and United have had to make a change. Herrera is on for di Maria. It’s the right move from van Gaal considering the injury could have been made a lot worse were the Argentinian to have played on.

17Mins

GOAL! Manchester United 1-0 (Smalling, 17′)

18Mins

Goal-line technology has come to the assistance of United here and ruled them into the lead. An almighty scramble in the box saw the ball drop to Smalling at a tight angle near the post. He volleyed it towards McGregor’s near post, forcing the ‘keeper to take it over the line. All eyes turned towards referee Anthony Taylor who gave the signal for a goal after looking at his magic watch.

20Mins

Without a doubt that goal would not have been given in previous years. Far too many bodies were in the eye line of the assistant referee. United can thank the magic of goal-line technology.

22Mins

Thinking to yourself that you’d like to see the goal? Well, like the magic of goal-line technology we, thankfully have the magic of vines at our disposal, so here it is:
http://vine.co/v/OnXqueXDnmX

24Mins

Mata slips a lovely through ball between the Hull defenders, a classic ‘triangle pass’ on FIFA, but McGregor just beats Rooney to the ball and smothers.

26Mins

A sweetly struck shot from Hererra is blocked by the forehead of Curtis Davies and goes out for a corner. Rooney’s ball into the box is half cleared to Mata on the edge. The Spaniard attempts a shot but it’s cleared and Hull move up the pitch.

28Mins

Rooney the latest to go down injured for United, thanks to a kick on the achilles from Robbie Brady. He looks to be okay now and has returned to the pitch.

35Mins

Hatem Ben Arfa admires and makes absolutely no attempt to keep up with Valencia as he streaks by him. The winger plays a one-two with Valencia before being brought down right on the edge of the box by Davies. The free-kick is cleared only as far as Mata who crosses back in to Smalling at the near post and Michael Dawson has to make a last ditch block.

36Mins

That less than pathetic attempt of Ben Arfa’s to track Valencia has seen him substituted just 36 minutes in here. Sone Aluko has come on in his place.

38Mins

Ben Arfa has looked so promising at times in his career. His attitude has killed any chance of being a real top class player though. Sad really.

40Mins

Great chance for United! Beautiful one-touch build up play between Rooney, Mata and Herrera ends with Rooney slipping van Persie in but his effort was poor and lacked power, easily saved by McGregor.

41Mins

United have looked completely in control so far and have been good in comparison to previous games. Van Persie still doesn’t look his usual self though — off the pace and lacking confidence.

42Mins

GOAL! Manchester United 2-0 Hull City (Rooney, 42′)

43Mins

United are completely in control now. Mata plays a lofted ball to Herrera on the edge of the box. He gets up well to cushion a header down to van Persie who, in turn, cushions a pass back to Rooney 20 yards out. The United captain hits it first time with his instep, curling it away from McGregor and into the bottom corner.

45Mins

United are coasting as we approach half-time. That sense of control has been a rarity for The Reds this season. This is the first time they’ve looked really comfortable in front since the 4-0 home win over QPR back in September.

45Mins

United are just knocking it around now, waiting for half-time. Hull will be delighted just to get off the pitch and into the dressing room.

45Mins

Half time – United have been very good so far but it’s been made easier by the fact that Hull have been dreadful. I can’t remember the last time de Gea touched the ball.

Just to put that dominance into perspective, United have 76 percent of the possession so far. That leaves Hull with a meagre 24 percent. There’s really not much you can do with 24 percent possession.

For a bit of half-time entertainment here’s Rooney’s goal:
http://vine.co/v/OnX1MUwwFAe

46Mins

We’re back underway. If this game continues in the same pattern it could be United goal-fest in the second half.

51Mins

So far in the second half not much has happened. Except this nice bit of skill from Robbie Brady that is.
http://vine.co/v/OnXd5221tOv

54Mins

Hull have started the second half a lot faster than the first. Robertson has looked busy at left back, just a minute ago making a surging run at the United defence but his effort was saved by De Gea.

56Mins

Rooney spears a dipping cross “into the mixer”, as some might say, McGregor does well though and punches clear.

58Mins

The offside flag has just ruined what could have been an incredible effort and save. A pinpoint 40 yard pass from Carrick found the head of van Persie as he dived for it, a-la versus Spain in the World Cup, but McGregor made a stunning save high and to his left.

And then the linesman had to go and ruin it. Typical.

62Mins

Half a chance for Hull there. Robbie Brady’s long ball into the box found the head of Jelavic 12 yards out but his header just looped over the bar.

64Mins

This man is out warming up. Is he much good? Haven’t seen a lot of him this season.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester United v Hull City - Old Trafford Source: Martin Rickett

67Mins

A Hull attack breaks down and van Persie runs at Dawson, knocks it by him and is hacked down, for which the Hull defender picks up a yellow card. There were a few appeals for Dawson to be shown a red but he wasn’t the last man.

67Mins

GOAL! Manchester United 3-0 Hull City (van Persie, 67′)

68Mins

Robin Van Persie has well and truly answered his critics with a sublime strike. Herrera played it into the Dutchman on the edge of the box. Van Persie was allowed to run and unleashed and absolute thunderbolt into the top corner.

71Mins

Young’s cross finds Fellaini at the back post but his header goes over the bar. With that van Persie has been replaced by Falcao. Not very fair on Hull really but they have been very poor. This could be a long final 20 minutes for Steve Bruce’s side.

76Mins

An Irish duo are about to make an entrance for Hull. Quinn and Meyler are on for Aluko and Brady. Brady received treatment a few times during the game and went off seeming to indicate double vision or something similar.

Meanwhile United have replaced Valencia with Fletcher.

77Mins

Finally de Gea has a save to make. El Mohamady crosses to the back post where Jelavic manages a header on target but the Spaniard saves comfortably.

78Mins

Mata and Falcao link up nicely down the right wing but Mata’s cross is from his weaker foot and flies over the bar.

81Mins

The game is just petering out now. Hull just want to get back on their coach and go home. It’s been a very poor showing from Steve Bruce’s side today. If current scores stay as they are they’ll be above the relegation zone only on goal difference.

82Mins

Another chance for United as Rooney’s corner from the right is met by the head of Smalling (he seems mad for the goals today) but his effort off the line.

88Mins

Are these last few minutes really necessary? If Hull give the ball away any more it’ll be some sort of world record.

90Mins

To sum it up, United have had 81 percent of possession in the second half. That’s following on from 76 percent in the first half. Controlling.

90Mins

How was that not 4-0?! Falcao feeds Mata down the right who squares back to the Colombian in the box. He has an open goal in front of him but Dawson puts his body on the line (his body was, literally, on the goal line) to block.

90Mins

Rooney is down injured and looks to be in a spot of pain after an unceremonious tackle by the advertising hoardings behind the goal.

90Mins

Full-time – That’s it, United have won 3-0.

A very convincing win for United, that. Hull posed no threat whatsoever but United looked good, possibly the best they’ve looked all season. That’s three consecutive league wins now for Louis van Gaal’s side and they move back into fourth place.

Rooney was walking off the pitch at the end and looked not to be in too much pain which will be welcome news for United fans.

That’s all from me, thanks for reading and stay tuned for match reports and a round-up of all of today’s Premier League matches.

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