Total Team Effort Was Greater Than Rooney’s Goal
Wayne Rooney has been justifiably criticized for his lack of killer touch in front of goal, but he showed a glimpse of his amazing scoring potential in the Manchester Derby. There is no question that his well-taken goal will be the major talking point following the match, but it was certainly a performance where the sum of the parts were greater than any individual performance – or moment for that matter.
Sir Alex Ferguson will be elated by the collection of efforts put forth by his players that he selected, because the Reds executed his questionable game plan and formation to complete perfection. Up until his brilliant overhead kick, which was worthy enough to see earn him a mention for Man of the Match, Rooney was really a non-factor in the derby, and it will somewhat overshadow the dominating performances by his teammates.
Everyone, including Mike Sumerbee, should acknowledge that the better club won the 158th Manchester Derby, because it was a telling team display by United, which was comprised of a whole bunch of solid individual performances.
Nani, Nemanja Vidic, Edwin van der Sar all put in commanding displays against City, but it was most impressive to see Chris Smalling show that he could handle the occasion. Smalling was awarded the start following another confirmed three-week injury lay off for Rio Ferdinand, and he rewarded the manager’s confidence in him with a composed display that would make his predecessor very proud, himself.
The only fault that he maybe made against him is that he was not tight enough to Edin Dzeko that led to the City equalizer, but everything else, including that the pesky Carlos Tevez, he did well to handle. He not only defended well, but he also made a long, adventurous run, which should have been picked out by Nani, and he could have been clean through on goal.
The untested combination of him and John O’Shea on the right-hand side of the United defense out-shone their counterparts on the left. Somewhat surprisingly, Sir Alex went with O’Shea over Rafael, but it was to add more height and experience in the defense to deal with our set-piece problem.
When City did get behind the United defense on a couple of occasions they reacted well to recover, but van der Sar was immense in what could be his last Manchester Derby. van der Sar’s massive presence and his natural ability to get off his line quickly prevented David Silva from putting City in front within four minutes.
Even though he is our last line of defense, the ageless goalkeeper showed that he is also our first line of attack – again. It was his great vision, and distribution to match, which led to the opening goal for the second straight game at Old Trafford. In the first half, Vidic was constantly being asked to come out and defend wide on the left, because of constant misplaced passes from both Ryan Giggs and Patrice Evra.
The big Serbian was graciously left out of his national team game during the week, which saw him refreshed and ready for everything City threw forward. As the game went on, Vidic became even more commanding by winning a series of powerful headers, but the most convincing one left City’s new biggest moneymaker, Edin Dzeko needing treatment to close up a wound on his head.
The result could very well, and hopefully will, extend City’s 43-year top-flight title drought, which should appease the supporters and ramp up the banter. City’s equalizer, as undeserving and cruel as it may have been, left the home supporters with their hearts in the mouth thinking that they game may end up in another disappointing draw.
However, Rooney’s fine effort bicycle kick was good enough to win any match, should start to see him work his way back into the hearts of the United supporters following his highly discussed antics in October.
It was stated by numerous of United supporters following his dramatic u-turn that he would need to now score a dramatic winner in the derby, and what better way to hit a stunning goal than in front of the traveling City fans, which one was seen donning a Rooney 10 shirt during that debacle.
Hate to say it though, but Nani’s goal was just as classy as Rooney’s was, because of how precise and penetrating the passing was. Just depends what one values more: a clinical, counterattacking team goal or individual moment of brilliance.
In the end, it is three points more crucial points for Manchester United from a valuable local derby, which should resurrect their confidence to go on and win the Barclays Premier League title.
Submitted by The United Religion
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