A storm is brewing at Manchester United

by Sam Peoples

Up until England’s match with San Marino last night, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck hadn’t scored a goal at all this season. Now, 90 minutes later, both strikers came out with a brace under their belt after excellent individual performances, even if it was against the minnows of San Marino.

It’s not as if Manchester United have been struggling for goals in the Premier League this season, having scored the most in league so far with 17 in seven fixtures, but it cannot be underestimated how important that first goal of the season is for a striker.

This year is a testing time for Rooney at United. No longer is he indispensable thanks to the arrival of van Persie, who has been nothing short of superb so far this season. He has to prove himself, in much the same fashion as Evra does with the arrival of Buttner – and against Newcastle, we saw a glimpse of just how important he is to the team still.

It was never simply about Rooney’s goals. His talent shines when he has the opportunity to get involved in as much of the game as possible. The 4-3-3 diamond against Newcastle gave him the creative freedom to do that – surging forward one minute yet tracking back and sliding at the feet of Ben Arfa the next. They say variety is the spice of life and Rooney’s game epitomises that – his unpredictability is probably his strongest asset.

As for Danny Welbeck, he really needed those goals after a howler of a miss against Newcastle after rounding Steve Harper probably dented his confidence. Last season was great for Danny – he was the preferred partner to Rooney and the interlink play between the pair was reminiscent of Yorke and Cole at times (especially one goal against Everton in the 4-4 at Old Trafford).

The touch, poise, control and first touch of Welbeck really aren’t characteristics normally associated with English strikers, and it makes him massively unique. With Javier Hernandez now back amongst the goals too, scoring again last night against Guyana, Welbeck knows he has got a fight on his hands to get into a team brimming with attacking talent.

Before the season started, fans avoided the comparison with the 1999 or 2008 strike force but with all four strikers among the goals now, a goal storm is certainly brewing.

I’ve no doubt that Robin van Persie will be our out-and-out top scorer this season. You can see in his general play that he is avoiding getting involved too deep in order to make sure he is up top, ready to score. It wasn’t something that he did at Arsenal but that was because they depended on him heavily in the build up play too. Now that Rooney and Kagawa are playing behind him, he doesn’t need to do that and it can only mean more goals for the prolific Dutchman.

As for Wayne Rooney, goals won’t be his priority this season but it is not to say he won’t still net a fair few. He will want to be a real lynch pin this season and involve himself as much as possible and I think that can only be a positive thing for United. The only real way we could have got Rooney and van Persie playing as out-and-out strikers would be in a 4-4-2 but with us making a move away from rigid width for a narrow, ball playing formation, it wouldn’t play to our strengths having both playing up top.

I see Danny Welbeck getting more game time than Javier Hernandez this season simply because of his ability with the ball at his feet. Hernandez is a goal poacher, and a mighty good one at that, but his general link up play has always lacked. When we are in need of a goal late on in a game, there isn’t anybody better to bring on that Chicharito, that remains the same, but I don’t think we will see a repeat of the dizzy heights of the Mexican’s first season at United.

With our defence likely to be unstable all season with injuries that will no doubt keep cropping up, the fact that we have four strikers all scoring goals is a godsend. After we lost the title on goal difference last year, Sir Alex was always likely to bolster his attacking options and if United’s early season goal streak is anything to go by, then it is unlikely to come down to goal difference this year, especially when you look at Manchester City’s disjointed attack.

Chelsea have started the season in typically fantastic form but they always do. United’s first “big” fixture will come when we pay a visit to Stamford Bridge in October and with six goals in the corresponding game last year, hopefully our new fantastic four can bring another shower of goals this season.

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ray 10/14/2012 - 17:29

I am not sure if this article is talking about the Rooney and Welbeck who play for Manchester United or from some playstation game.
Point by point
Rooney is not indispensable any more?
Complete and utter rubbish.
The overweight Rooney that started the season was indispensable but the one that played the last two games is a world class player.
He can score goals,he can control a midfield,he can help out defensively at corners and now we know he can tackle.
He has,over the years,done a great job as an out an aout striker.
He did a good job on the wing when he was forced to play out wide to desperately try to create a postion for either Welbeck or Chicorito.

“This year is a testing time for Rooney”
No this year is a testing time for Welbeck and he is failing the test.
Having demanded and got a significant pay rise and contract and with him being Englands centre forward he is now expected to provide a style and skill alongside other England centre forwards of the past such as Shearer or Linekar.
He is not.

“Danny Welbeck needed the goal after his howler of a miss after rounding the Newcastle goalkeeper”
Also the howler of a miss a but earlier when he was left in front of goal but scuffed the ground in a situation that was better than a penalty(We should have been 4 up at half time with the game away and gone but after Welbeck’s performance (again) the third goal suddenly became critical.

“The touch,poise,control and first touch of Welbeck make him unique”
None of those are his attributes.
He has a first touch like a rapist and the ball usually bounces well away from him.
He has no poise as he showed against Newcastle when he rounded the goalkeeper and missed by 30 yards.
He tapped his own ankle when he won us an embarrassing penalty at Old Trafford.
I think people will understand when i think Park left his roller skate boots at Old Trafford when he joined QPR as Welbeck spends as much time on his bum as Park did.
No what Welbeck had was effort and endevour.I say had as it is clearly missing from his game this season.
They are desperately trying to find,without success, a position for him as the has played out wide and through the middle.Neither has worked.
So where does he go?
Alongside Bebe for me in the reserves

“There isn’t anybody better to bring on than Chicorito when we need a late goal”
I believe he has been brought on several times this season and the end result is?
Nil Point
Pity.He is a lovely lad and had such a great first season but he was worked out and now poses no threat against anybody and that included third rate teams in pre season friendlies.
Everybody wants him to be Ole reincarnated but unfortunately it isn’t close.
After such a poor season last season and with his horrible start this season i can’t see him lasting

John Tring 10/14/2012 - 15:07

WR not indispnsible at Utd??? Are you having a laugh, mate? The world-class palyer that Utd and England have is WR. Hopefully SAF doesn’t repeat his dumb act like last season, dropping him at OT against B’Burn and promptly losing the match and losing the title. If SAF bought wisely in 2011, today Utd would still be Champs. SAF is a shadow of himself,a spent force.

Sid 10/14/2012 - 13:05

Thanks Timbo! I’ve been saying this for some time now so fully agree with your points!

timbo 10/13/2012 - 23:09

Yet another myopic moron buying into the Rooney myth. He’s the most over-rated piece of footballing crap foisted on the British public in generations. He can’t shoot accurately from anywhere beyond 10 yards, requires the collective focus and sacrifice of 9 other players to look even adequate (great players on the other hand make those around them look better) has the vision of Stevie Wonder, the touch of Hulk Hogan, can’t beat an opponent one-on-one to save his life, is up there with the latter-day Ryan Giggs for being the greatest waster of possession in the team, and the only dribbling skills he possesses are those he displays at the dining table. So he scored a couple of times against mighty San Morino, one of Europe’s perennial easy-beats. This is the Rooney we all know, the flat-track talentless waist of space who racks up goals for England in inconsequential outings, yet disappears completely when the going gets tough – his one solitary goal for England in the recent European championship was his first in a major tournament for his country in EIGHT YEARS!

People seemed to have missed the thinly veiled references by Ferguson to the fact that United failed to convert their dominance in numerous games last season into game-wining goals, and to that end the manager brought in Van Persie – against everything the club has preached in recent years about paying over the odds for aging stars with no sell-on value – to provide the kind of talent up front hat Rooney clearly lacks. If people still don’t understand the difference, hark to the Dutchman’s first four goals for the team and note the simple fact that three of them were such beautifully executed example of outstanding football talent that they would easily have been beyond Rooney’s capabilities. Where Van Persie was concerned they were scored with composure, complete certainty, and not a trace of luck. With Rooney any thought of even repeating the efforts would have been done to pure arse, and he would have been lucky to slot even one of the efforts away under similar circumstances. As for his vaunted work ethic – garbage. The guy is one of the most poorly conditioned players in British football and practically uses his playing time to hone his fitness levels. Only for him are specific allowances made within the team to give him continued playing time even when woefully out of form and fitness, because the manager sees him as so talismanic that he’ll let the player wonder through half a season playing like crap, and costing the team games, where other players are held to stricter standards.

As for Rooney playing in midfield – anyone seriously suggesting such a thing has to be smoking something other than tobacco or taking hallucinogenics. You need skill, situational awareness, excellent passing ability, and a good footballing IQ (any kind of IQ) to function well in the role. On that basis, as a midfielder Rooney would make an excellent water-boy.

Quis 10/14/2012 - 02:20

So tell us how you really feel…

C.Boulevarde 10/14/2012 - 08:09

first Question Timbo,,,who do u support mate secondly,,,u obviously know bollocks all about football mate if u think Roon is shite,,He and RVP are not even the same style of player so making comparisons is ridiculous,,i can understand english fans being disappointed as Roon does seem to play better for club than country,but that comes down to the english fans stupidity thinking 1 man is going to win the world cup for them.Every 4yrs or 2 including euros the country goes bananas saying’ Roon had a terrific season for Utd he’s surely going to win the cup for us’ ,same thing happenned to cleverley a few wks back. one min he is the saviour the nxt he’s shite. English fans need to pull their head out their ass and get realistic,the English team is crap and if it wasnt for Roon,welbeck and and a great pass by cleverley to set up O-chamberlain goal they would have drawn against san marino(the worlds lowest ranked team) so stop being so bitter and laying the blame and saying he is shite ( by the way im english and have every right to express my opinion on the national team ,dont want to get in trouble from any sensitive tossers i mean readers about racism)

Marty 10/14/2012 - 09:01

Wow, you don’t Rooney. As a Utd fan I will have to disagree with a lot of your comments (but not all). 1 comment above all struck me as I’ve been saying this for years myself. Rooney is a very poorly conditioned premier league player! I just don’t understand how a professional footballer can be so out of shape! However, Rooney’s goal scoring record suggests that he’s a lot better than your rant gives him credit for, given he is payed out of position more often than RVP is. RVP has also missed a few sitters for Man Utd and in my opinion is only playing at 60% capacity right now. I’m hoping as the season moves on he’ll improve a long with Kagawa. Rooney is a good passer of the ball and has a good football brain! He has scored important goals! He has gone into the last three major international tournaments either not fit from an injury or suspended and not match fit when he got a chance to play. (Conditioning point well made). With Rooney it all comes down to conditioning rather than ability! Rooney has the ability (I’ve always said this) but he simply doesn’t want to be the best he can be (which is top 5 or 6 in the world). Some days you watch him and he is simply unplayable other days your comments are completely valid. I just feel your hatred blinds you to the real truth which is that Rooney is wasting his career on being a good player rather than a great one!

essao 10/14/2012 - 12:18

oh dear,what bile?no one says rooney is messi or ronaldo but he is not that bad. did you have designs of shagging jenny thompson and are worried rooney was there before you?

Ibrahim 10/13/2012 - 22:33

Will luv d link up play of Rvp, Rooney & Kagawa nani should b left out and get a better option. Also i think sir alex should go for d young spanish talent(Isco) he is a better long-term option in d midfield

Craig 10/13/2012 - 18:53

Are you for real nani!! I’d rather have Brady playing than nani!!! He is a load of crap and should never wear the shirt again after lashing out on petrucci in training 3 weeks ago. This is reason for his exclusion in the team.

I’d stick to 4-1-3-1-1
Evra, Evans, Ferdinand, rafael, carrick, cleverly, Welbeck, Kagawa, Rooney and RVP. Don’t know who to have in goal but I do prefer lindergaard in prem and de gea in Europe.

cleggster 10/13/2012 - 22:35


godwin 10/13/2012 - 15:39

Most expecialy against chelsea

godwin 10/13/2012 - 15:38

Good formation for man u but there are some matches we need to play the 4-4-2 formation where valencia and nani will be on both flank then rooney and chicharito will strike the likes of school and cleverly or carrick in the mid filed


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