• Rooney’s Revival
• Van Gaal’s Four-in-a-Row
Isn’t it great when the weekend comes along and United actually win a game? Make that victory against your biggest rivals, and the joy increases ten-fold.
As always when these two meet, both sets of supporters were weary as they wouldn’t want to lose such a game.
Both clubs have been playing average football, and when the line-ups were announced we were worried that United looked weak in midfield, but L’pool supporters were more worried as they looked even weaker.
The first half was as scrappy as they come, and though L’pool created a few chances you could hardly say they were dominant. United were set up as they have been for most games under Van Gaal, where they try not to concede so as not to lose, and if they then manage to score themselves it’s a bonus.
The second half was more of the same, with L’pool huffing and puffing, and United not buckling under the ‘pressure’. David de Gea was called upon a couple of times to keep United in it, and as time passed it looked like this would be another boring, uninspiring goalless draw. That was until Bush-head Fellaini headed a Mata cross onto the crossbar and the ball fell to Wayne Rooney who fired it into the top of the net to put United ahead, which turned this into a boring, uninspiring victory instead.
And so it was. When the final whistle went, we were all overjoyed and for once quickly forgot the sub-standard performance as any win against the Scousers is brilliant, no matter how it comes. That was shown in the stands where over 2,500 United supporters (including Michael Carrick, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo) couldn’t hide their joy. Many have noted that United scored with their only shot on target, but when you see that L’pool only had four shots on target at a ground where football atmosphere was apparently invented, you realise that it wasn’t that one-sided. This was also the first time in eight games in which L’pool didn’t score at home, making it the first time they didn’t score at Anfield since Jurgen Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers, so a few positives can be taken away with the win.
With his goal, the first one he scored at Anfield for eleven years, Captain Wayne Rooney became the highest scorer for a single club in Premier League history with 176 goals for United, overtaking Thierry Henry who scored 175 for Arsenal. This also puts him just seven behind Sir Bobby Charlton’s United record, one that he has every chance to beat this season on current form. After having a torrid 2015, Rooney has started 2016 with a bang, and when it seemed like his career was ‘dying’, he’s turning that around and coming back to life with five goals scored in the four games played so far this year. Talk about being a revenant, eh?
As for Louis van Gaal, isn’t it brilliant that though we’ve had quite a few negative performances since he came along, he’s always beaten L’pool? Whenever he does leave the club (could well be this summer), we can still look back at his time managing United and smile, at least knowing that he did something that hadn’t happened since 2006-2008 by beating them four times in a row (and counting). A bit like Diego Forlan, or ‘forlorn’ as those in the media would have had us believe. The Uruguayan didn’t have the best of times while at United, but those two goals he scored in two minutes at Anfield to beat them 2-1 in 2002 (yes, THAT long ago) will always be remembered by us. DIEGO WO-AH, DIEGO WO-AH, HE CAME FROM URUGUAY, HE MADE THE SCOUSERS CRY…
Looking at other games in the Premier League, Arsenal managed to get a point at Mark Hughes’ Stoke where they drew 0-0; Leicester could only manage a draw themselves when they drew 1-1 at bottom club Aston Villa; Manchester City seem to be hitting form at the right time as they beat Pardew’s Palace 4-0; Spurs turned it on as well as they beat Sunderland 4-1; Champions Chelsea dropped more points as they drew 3-3 at home to Everton thanks to Lionhearted captain John Terry equalising from an offside position in the ninth minute of injury-time; Southampton beat West Brom 3-0; Bournemouth beat Norwich with the same score; Newcastle had a good 2-1 win at home to West Ham; while Swansea got their second win in twelve games by beating Watford 1-0. This all means that United are fifth, still just two points off fourth place and seven points off the top.
In other football news, Swansea have appointed Italian Francesco Guidolin as their manager in their quest to stay in the Premier League; Argentinean Jorge Sampaoli has quit as manager of Chile, fuelling rumours that he could become manager of Champions Chelsea in their quest to not become a mid-table club; and Nemanja Vidic has had his contract terminated by Seria A side Inter, same as Roma have done with Ashley Cole. While Cole has already signed a contract to move to the L.A.Galaxy, former United legend Vidic’s future is still undecided, and the five-times Premier League winner might just call it a day at thirty-four years of age, though there’s interest for him from MLS clubs.
United’s next game will see them host Ronald Koeman’s Southampton at Old Trafford on Saturday (3pm UK time). We will be hoping that the momentum from the excellent win against L’pool will make the players and the fans turn up the heat to make this another victory that would keep us close to the top of the table… COME ON UNITED!!!