Wayne Rooney fails to score despite improved performance

Wayne Rooney's goal versus Newcastle was ruled offside
Wayne Rooney failed to score again but put in my improved performance

It was two points dropped for Manchester United at home against Newcastle United yesterday, despite dominating the game in terms of possession and shots on goal. The visitors also had their opportunities, with new signing Alexandre Mitrovic hitting the post in the first half whilst other new boy Florian Thauvin nearly won the game right at the end, but failed to latch on to Papiss Cisse’s cross.

The home side had equaled the same amount of shots on target in the first twenty minutes of the match as they did in the opening two Premier League matches against Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa. Louis van Gaal’s men have not conceded a goal since last May, when Tyler Blackett deflected a goal past Victor Valdes in the 1-1 draw with Arsenal – but have lacked firepower up top. Do United need to invest in a new striker?

  • The last United player to score a league goal at Old Trafford was Ander Herrera against Arsenal
  • The last 0-0 at Old Trafford between the teams came in January 2004
  • United haven’t conceded more than a single goal since the 3-0 away defeat to Everton in April

Lack of firepower a cause for concern?
It was an odd feeling after the Newcastle game. United had dominated the game, but could well have lost all three points at the end. Javier Hernandez, back in the first team fold since his one season loan deal to Real Madrid, should have scored – however, Tim Krul was quick off his line to deny the Mexican a first goal since beating the same opposition at St James’ Park 4-0 in 2013/14.

“We can be satisfied with the performance but not with the result – we were unlucky.

-Louis van Gaal on 0-0 draw

Wayne Rooney came in for some considerable criticism following his poor display against Aston Villa last weekend, but was much improved against Newcastle at Old Trafford yesterday. His last goal for the club was a belter against Villa in April, right in the middle of the best run of the Louis van Gaal reign. United lost out on wide man Pedro from Barcelona to Chelsea and many United fans feel that replacing the misfiring Angel Di Maria (who has since departed for PSG) should be a top priority for the club. Memphis Depay could not replicate his scintillating goal scoring form against Newcastle, which he displayed in the 3-1 victory over Club Brugge.

If United were to assess the top ten scorers in European Football last season, domestic goals breakdown are as follows:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo (48) – No chance
  • Lionel Messi (43) – No chance
  • Sergio Aguero (26) – No chance
  • Jonatan Soriano (30) – No. Due to the quality of the current domestic league.
  • Antoine Griezmann (22) – Possible but would cost over £40million after impressive debut season
  • Neymar (22) – Recent link in tabloid but highly unlikely transfer. Would be world record
  • Jackson Martinez (21) – No. Recently moved to Atlético Madrid from Porto
  • Harry Kane (21) – No. Linked to over summer but would cost over £40million.
  • Eran Zahavi (28) – No. Due to the quality of the current domestic league.
  • Alexandre Lacazette (27) – Possible. But recently signed new deal with Lyon

To push on and step up another level – United need to buy quality and its quite clear that a vast number of the above players will not be subject to a bid from United this summer. Pedro would have a been a decent addition to the side and would have flourished in wide areas, but is Louis van Gaal searching for an even greater talent rather than what some have described as a Barcelona cast off? This next week will be very telling – not just for who will be coming in but of course, whether David De Gea will remain at the club – to see if United do add firepower to the squad. On the evidence of the past three games, van Gaal does need to strengthen if United are going to challenge this season.

5 talking points from the game

  • Manchester United need a striker following 0-0 draw with Newcastle
  • Memphis got nowhere near the quality he showed against Club Brugge
  • Will De Gea play for the club again?
  • United continue with good defensive display and another clean sheet
  • Both Uniteds had a chance to win the game in injury time


4 Comments on Wayne Rooney fails to score despite improved performance

  1. I do finally understand LVG’s ‘philosophy’, play keep ball, bore teams to death and hope they make a mistake that we can punish. I can’t for the life of me understand why he hasn’t signed a world class centre forward, a talisman to lead the line and bully defenders physically like a diego costa/drogbafor example. Perfect candidate in my eyes would be ibrahimovic… got 1 year left on his deal so you’re looking at 10-15m MAX. He will stay upfront all game and add an aerial threat to our attack. He certainly doesn’t lack confidence either. Rooney for me is finished, he’s lost his edge, a yard of pace and seems frustrated with the system we’re playing. IN LVG WE TRUST….. BUT FOR HOW LONG ?

  2. Sorry bit I don’t trust LVG. His ways and ideas are dated. He falls out with players over the smallest things and causes problems. I don’t think United need a striker but rather someone who can create and open up dogged defences like Newcastle. It is obvious that clubs are going to defend deep against United and hit them on the break unless we have ways to show them that we can open that style of play with ease.

  3. Not enough pace up front. For all their quality and ability, Mata and Januzaj are not gas enough to push United up the pitch to catch teams out.

    United need pace on the wing. Possibly push Mata inside alternating with Januzaj with Herrera playing centrally. Substitutions are a bit predictable so you know what LvG will have United do from one stage to the next. Some games it will work beautifully and United will look like world beaters. Most other games United will struggle for openings and goals and look a little lost.

    Bit odd Wilson isn’t getting a look-in. He has pace which would push United forward quickly and can get behind the oppo’s defence.

    Nothing too obvious for a solution but I wonder if lack of pace at CB is a reason for two deeper(ish) central midfielders? A quicker defender than Blind might encourage Herrera in centre with Schneiderlin or Carrick or Schweinsteiger. Herrera links well with Mata. Add a pacy winger on the right and who knows?

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