Wayne Rooney helps Manchester United beat Hull City 3-0 with a sweet strike
Strolls in the park are common around this time of year. Kicking the leaves with a loved one as you walk through a cobbled footpath without a care in the world. “Walk in the parks” were commonplace under the Fergie regime, but haven’t been seen for sometime under the direction of David Moyes and now Louis van Gaal. To describe the 3-0 victory over Hull City as a ‘walk in the park’ would be extremely kind to the visitors who, if we’re still keeping with the park analogy, put up as much fight as limp squirrel.
David De Gea, so often United’s man of the match in recent months, could be described as the lonely park keeper – up the other end and in the distance – as he only had two saves to make in comparison to the onslaught he faced at The Emirates the week previous.
Robin van Persie demonstrated his sheer class and talents with a superb strike that topped off an extremely dominated performance. There were injury scares, with Angel Di Maria tweaking a hamstring, early substitutions, with Ben Arfa contributing less than the Argentine who had gone off twenty minutes earlier and of goal mouth scramble that was easily rectified with goal line technology. Here we welcome comments from both sets of fans as we discuss the Talking Points from the match.
Robin van Persie is still a wonderful footballer
It is quite laughable to suggest that Robin van Persie’s talents are on the wane. Sure, he was poor against his old club Arsenal, with Louis van Gaal publicly stating how many touches his fellow countryman mustered in the game – but the gauntlet was laid down and van Persie reminded his manager and the watching world of his sublime ability. This public pressure and also belief, by starting him, was a great man management technique, which van Persie duly responded to.
Form is temporary, class if permanent – a phrase often branded about when a top quality player is struggling with form. Post match, van Persie spoke of him “needing that goal”, a goal which will no doubt help to build up his confidence for the matches ahead. There were grumblings that James Wilson, United’s highly rated young forward, could well replace the Dutchman for the game against Hull City, but van Gaal made the completely right choice in sticking with a player he knows well. A poll on this blog saw over 85% of you suggesting that van Persie should have been dropped for this match.
The goal was absolutely top class. To receive the ball in a tight space, slip the ball past the onrushing Chester and then to hammer it into the top corner with a ferociously powerful drive was exquisite. Operating deeper than Wayne Rooney, van Persie got on the ball a lot more often than in recent weeks and look more dangerous. The Dutchman also setup Wayne Rooney for the second goal, the first time the pair have linked up to score for United since the 1-0 victory over Arsenal back in November 2013.
If Arsenal was a ‘bad game’ for Robin van Persie, then the game against Hull – although against inferior opposition – should a complete contrast. United’s number twenty got on the ball a lot more and was far more influential than the peripheral figure we saw a week ago:
Van Persie is one of the best players I’ve ever seen in a United shirt. In that 2012/13 debut season, he was sensational. The Sir Alex Ferguson retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson obviously hit the Dutchman hard and he has never reproduced that wonderful form that saw him hit the winner in the derby. Nobody really knows how long “temporary” actually is, but that strike yesterday – was pure class.
Angel Di Maria an injury worry
The thought of a United side without the rampaging Angel Di Maria is terrifying. The most expensive player in British football history has been a revelation since his big money move from Real Madrid and is going to be an important player this season, if United want to get back into Europe and challenge for the Premier League title in the next campaign. Di Maria has that same ability that Ronaldo had in when getting your team eighty yards up the pitch in the blink of an eye. He may not be anywhere near Ronaldo in terms of goals and importance to Madrid, but his exceptional work rate, assists and sweet left foot place him as Manchester United’s top player.
His withdrawal from the Hull City game, although a worry, didn’t matter against a team that United easily dominated. Di Maria is set to miss the match against Stoke City on Tuesday night, but should be back for the away trip to Southampton Monday week. The Argentine joins Rafael, Jonny Evans, Luke Shaw, Daley Blind, Phil Jones and Jesse Lingard in the treatment room. Although it has been a difficult start for van Gaal, the injuries have really impacted preparation and United’s shape in the first quarter of the season. Hopefully Di Maria will only miss the Stoke City game and be back in time to face in form Southampton.
A win for goal line technology
It seems ludicrous now to think that goal line technology was this far fetched futuristic offering that shouldn’t be considered to tamper with the beautiful game. Sepp Blatter and FIFA, for so long, argued against the need for goal line technology. Chris Smalling’s opener showcased exactly why it was and will always be needed at the top level.
Smalling scored, its a goal, but it is not clear if the ball had crossed the line. You could forgive referee Anthony Taylor if, without the use of goal line technology, he declined to give the goal as it was ridiculously difficult to see if the ball had indeed crossed the line.
We should be pleased that in an age where football has become so over commercialised and the game has indeed lost some of its soul, a change has been made that ensures integrity prevails. It was a goal and with thanks to the technology given to refs the right decision was made.
United looking far more balanced
In the summer van Gaal proclaimed that United were unbalanced and had ‘too many number tens’. This comment suggested that United were too heavy in the attacking midfielder area and too light out wide and in the centre of the park. Transfers were made, changes ensued and the manager is happier with how United are now operating. Many fans still believe a top class centre half needs to be signed, but we all await the January transfer window with anticipation.
The game against HulL City saw Michael Carrick back to his pomp, distributing the ball with ease from deep – either in the form of a short quick pass in to the feet of Rooney or van Persie or with a beautifully floated ball over the top of Hull City who couldn’t deal with his passing range. United have missed Carrick during his recovery from injury and although he struggled under David Moyes – the team is much more balanced with him in the centre of the park.
Lastly, Wayne Rooney is closing in on Sir Bobby Charlton’s goal scoring record and will surely get there next season if he continues his great form. United’s captain scored a great second goal and has now notched up 220 goals, 29 short of Charlton’s 249 in all competitions.