[GOALS] A Champions Performance – A Vital Win
Wayne Rooney’s swearing fit of joy/relief after he completed his unpredictable hat-trick pretty much summed up the feelings of the majority of Manchester United fans. This was a man who knew he hadn’t played as well as he could have in the first half, and the pressure had been building. He had started ahead of the Premier League’s top scorer, who sat on the bench with his new short hair cut, waiting to come on – a call many United fans were asking for. But he proved everyone wrong with that third goal which hauled United over the line ahead of an irritatingly hard to get past West Ham side.
United dominated the play, but after two very avoidable penalties were conceded and scored by Mark Noble, it was an uphill battle at the ground where a second string United team had conceded four in a Carling Cup encounter with Avram Grants side. Sir Alex was frustrated by the situation they were in; “Being two goals down was a travesty in terms of possession and chances created.”
So, sitting up in the stands, watching his players from above, the veteran United manager was in the perfect position to decide what to change – and big decisions were needed. The big substitution at half time was taking the perpetrator for the first penalty, Patrice Evra off, and throwing on the baby face Javier Hernandez, a young man with a growing goalscoring reputation.
It paid off, and in the 64th minute, a free kick was won. Now since Beckham and Ronaldo left United, there has been a distinct lack of goals from free-kicks, especially at vital times. As Rooney stepped up, many I’m sure were expecting it to pathetically rebound off the wall, but this was not the case. Instead, Rooney scored the first of his three goals, and United were suddenly back in the game.
An Antonio Valencia cross was brought down superbly by Rooney and he took a touch to smash it into the bottom left hand corner of the West Ham net in a delightful finish. United weren’t going to stop there however, oh no. Typically, United would go for the win, and, with all of the momentum of a quick fire double from an inspired Wayne Rooney, they were in the driving seat, with no chance of hitting the breaks.
When the little Brazilian Fabio worked his way into the box and was closed down by Upson, it looked like any chance was gone, but a clever little flick which hit the defenders arm prompted Lee Mason to point to the spot, for Rooney to step up and place into the corner. It also prompted Rooney to confront his critics with his potty mouth in front of the camera, in the midst of being mobbed by his United team mates.
The win was there for the taking, but United were not safe yet, and United fans would have been thinking back to the early stages of the season when late goals were all that seemed to be occurring. Nevertheless, a nicely played counter attack saw Rooney roll it to Ryan Giggs, who never seemed to stop after being moved to left back at half time, and the Welshman crossed it across the ground for his little Mexican team mate to do what he does best from a few yards out.
Sir Alex Ferguson reacted to moving eight points clear of Arsenal in the table:
“We played like champions today, we kept our heads up and didn’t lose faith in our ability.
“It’s never easy coming here. They are fighting relegation but we had to do our thing.
“We dominated that second half and it was a real championship performance.
“Arsenal have a game in hand. It could go to goal difference but I somehow don’t think so.”
Berbatov came on and played brilliantly. His touch is, as ever, exquisite, and his hold up play is superb. It was a small cameo that may push him into contention for starting the Champions League game against Chelsea, but in Ferguson’s mood of playing Rooney and Chicharito may over rule again. That is the beauty of it though, because the bench is so strong – Nani, Michael Owen, Chicharito and Rooney started on the bench – showing the strength in depth at United.
It was a a Champions performance, and a performance that has stepped United closer to holding aloft that Premier League trophy.
Tell me what you think!
Watch the goals here
Submitted by DBSFootball
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