United’s comfortable victory over Aston Villa was the sort of performance many Reds had been hoping for as every man played his part and we finally saw a couple of goals from Mr. Rooney.
Wazza’s brace aside there were a lot of other positives in game that credit where its due- Villa made a real contest and never gave up the chance of being only the second side this season to take something away from Old Trafford.
The 3-1 scoreline was probably a fair reflection of the match as United fully deserved the win, yet didn’t have it all entirely our own way. Brad Friedel did his usual superman impression against United, while the likes of Darren Bent, Marc Albrighton and Ashley Young gave the United defence the odd scare or two.
So what did we learn from the match other than Dimitar Berbatov is human after all and Nani doesn’t give a toss if you’re on a hat-trick- if he’s near the goal he’s shooting.
1. Van Der Sar is the new playmaker. Like he did in the previous home game against Birmingham VDS showed he’s able to pick out a 90 yard pass as he set up Rooney for the opening goal. It’s devastating that United will not have the Dutchman’s services for another year as he’s playing arguably as well as he’s ever done in a Red- or Green- shirt. There’s the hope that Van Der Sar’s final season will be very similar to Schmeichel’s last at Old Trafford and one things for sure, whoever replaces him will have their work cut out following such a colossus.
2. John O’Shea is still a worry. I know that it may seem over the past few months that I’ve had it in for O’Shea as I’ve often been critical of his performances but he still gives me a reason to doubt him almost every time he plays. Last night he did provide some good passes and was willing to get forward but time and again he looked more than a little dodgy. He was caught out of position one time too many and some of his tackles left a lot to be desired.
O’Shea is United through and through and has been a loyal servant over the years but his game just hasn’t progressed from that exciting young defender that burst onto the scene in 2002.
It’ s now glaringly obvious that he’s Rafael’s understudy and I cannot help but pray the Brazilian stays fit-especially when United are up against fast, tricky left wingers.
3. Who needs Torres when we’ve got Nemanja! Is there anything the man from Serbia cannot do? When he’s not marking the world’s best strikers into anonymity, powering headers past goalkeepers, he’s finishing like Ruud Van Nistelrooy in his prime. Vidic’s goal was that good, I actually thought I’d got it wrong when I saw him shoot- “that can’t have been Vidic.” It was of course, and he’s showing that while Chelsea may have spent £71 million on Luiz and Torres we’ve got one player who’s better than the pair of ’em in either department. His sublime finish was the goal of the game- sorry Wazza- and had Old Trafford in hysterics as he more or less put the game to bed.
4. Ryan Giggs really does get better with age. Am I alone in thinking Giggs is having his best season since the early to mid-nineties? He’s been absolutely stunning these past few months, and despite a bit of a shaky start last night, gradually began to stamp his authority on the game, until by the end he was playing like a man possessed. Giggs has that rare ability to not only run at players- even now- but also pick out clever passes and know exactly when to slow the game down and when to do the opposite. Giggs is a joy to watch- especially for us over 30’s – it’s no surprise he came top in recent poll of greatest United players of all time.
5. Wazza’s back- bu then again he didn’t really go anywhere. I’ve grown tired of writing -‘Rooney played well regardless of his lack of a goal’- and was as pleased as anyone to see him back amongst the goals. In my pre-match preview I said I expected him to score as particularly at home he’s been desperately unlucky not to get on the score sheet. Rooney deserved his two goals and if Berbatov has a bad day at the office in front of goal then United need Wazza to do his bit. It’s great to see a true attacking partnership coming to fruition at Old Trafford and some may compare it to Yorke and Cole but to me it’s more reminiscent of Hughes and Cantona.
While that analogy is a little unfair on both players -especially comparing Berba to Eric, there’s no doubt that the two of them are simply awesome and I’m praying that in the games against Chelsea and Arsenal Sir Alex starts them both.
Last night was Rooney’s night however and here’s hoping that this could be the start of a goalscoring run, but even if it isn’t as long as he keeps playing as well as he has, then that 19th title cannot be far off.