United + Rooney = concern for the rest

Saturday, November 27, 2010
Joint top of the Premier League and through to the last sixteen in the Champions League. Manchester United are in exactly the same position as Chelsea and just like their double chasing rivals, many people have said that they are club on a downward path. As a Watford fan, how I would love to be on a downward path like that!!

It is without doubt that United have not been their free-flowing impressive selves this season so far but that may just a little worrying for everyone else.
The facts are that in all competitions, United have played twenty-two games this season and are yet to be beaten. That is a remarkable performance from a team that isn’t playing well.
Should Wayne Rooney find some form and play in a reasonable run of games, they might just start turning some of their draws into wins and then they will take a great deal of stopping.

Rooney returned to the United side in their Champions League game at Rangers on Wednesday. The team performance pretty accurately reflected their season so far. They played some reasonably tidy football, had nearly 60% of the possession and forced thirteen corners. Despite that, they hardly created a worthwhile chance in the game.
As is often the case, United were getting stronger near the end of the game and another foray into the Rangers penalty area led to the referee pointing to the penalty spot.
Rooney had not had a great game and you might expect that with the awfull World Cup, off-field revelations and marriage problems, poor form, lack of confidence and public falling out over contract negotiations, he might have hesitated to step up to take such an important kick.

The good news for United and England was that he strode up confidently and despatched the penalty to give United the win. His manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, was full of praise for his striker.
“It took a lot of courage to take the penalty kick. It was not an easy night, he missed a couple of chances but that’s what you expect with the rustiness in his game. We are pleased for him.”
Rooney himself said there were no nerves.
“There were not many nerves really. I knew what I was doing and where I was going. I can only do that. If the keeper guesses the right way and saves it, so be it. Thankfully it went in. Obviously it is a bit of a relief for me to score. Hopefully I can build on this now.”

After he scored, Rooney ran over to the United fans to celebrate his goal with them. These were the same fans who had given him a mixed reception when he appeared as a substitute at Old Trafford on Saturday.
“I wanted to celebrate with our fans. It is always nice to beat Rangers away. Hopefully I can go on a goalscoring run now but really I am just delighted to be back playing again. I felt good. I felt fit throughout the game. I want to build on this performance and this goal.”
The other top teams in the Premier League will be hoping that Rooney doesn’t do as he says he wants to, because a United team that is unbeaten in twenty-two games plus a fit and firing Wayne Rooney could quickly become the title favourites.


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