Football: Champions still wobbling but still winning: Kanchelskis proves big hit

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Manchester United. . .3

Wimbledon. . . . . . .1

THE Galatasaray syndrome, for want of a better description, still affects the champions. They continue to win matches after showing alarming defensive wobbles. Joe Kinnear predicted afterwards: 'They'll concede goals.' Then added, diplomatically: 'They do let you play.'

Had Wimbledon had a little more luck, and been faced with a lesser goalkeeper than Peter Schmeichel they would have led 1-0, possibly 2-0, at half-time and would then have been able to block out for the second half. Once United had gone ahead the Dons had to throw more players forward with the inevitable result, Andrei Kanchelskis especially making wonderful use of the space denied him in the first half.

United's central defence is being caught on the turn and while Gary Pallister is usually fast enough to recover there have to be questions about Steve Bruce, twice left for dead by Dean Holdsworth; what is going to happen when United face Saunders, Ferdinand, Shearer and Cole again? Bruce has made a magnificent contribution to United's renaissance but both he and Bryan Robson, who was simply not sharp enough to take advantage of some penalty area opportunities, are fading forces.

United were without Ryan Giggs, rested, and Roy Keane, whose burst blood vessel is unlikely to keep him put of Wednesday's match against Ipswich. The victory was convincing enough in the end, watched by 44,748, the best of the season, a figure explained fully by Kinnear: 'We are an attractive side.'

With John Scales and Roger Joseph returning after eight weeks the Dons did not function with quite their usual deadly efficiency although Warren Barton had another outstanding game while Scott Fitzgerald partly emulated his namesake by, if not being beautiful, certainly being damned by the crowd for some of his tackling.

Their goal was well-worked, they forced two fine saves from Schmeichel before being overwhelmed by United's late goals, both contrived by Eric Cantona. The Frenchman is phenomenal and if I may gently correct United's programme: I wrote that Cantona is United's best post-war footballer other than Best, not their best individual since George. If Le Bourget can be renamed Paris Charles de Gaulle why shouldn't Ringway become Manchester Cantona?

Mark Hughes's bicycle kick was powerful, but the third goal from Kanchelskis was a thunderbolt and had Ferguson musing: 'He has incredible stamina; he's running as hard at the finish as he is at the start and has a hell of a hit in either foot.'

Goals: Pallister (53) 1-0; Fashanu (63) 1-1; Hughes (65) 2-1; Kanchelskis (81) 3-1.

Manchester United (4-4-2): Schmeichel; Parker, Bruce, Pallister, Irwin; Kanchelskis, Robson (Phelan, 88), Ince, Sharpe; Hughes, Cantona. Substitutes not used: Giggs, Sealey (gk).

Wimbledon (4-4-2): Segers; Joseph, Scales, Fitzgerald, McAllister; Barton, Jones, Earle, Talboys; Fashanu, Holdsworth (Clarke, 81).

Referee: J W Lloyd (Wrexham).

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