Wayne Rooney did score a remarkable goal on Saturday, that overhead kick which in his own words, “usually goes over the bar”. It made the score 2-1 and there were no more goals in this local derby. The win by Man United confirms them as most likely to win the English Premier League this season. But Wayne Rooney as ‘man of the match’ for this once-in-a-career kind-of-goal was unfair on others.
The way that Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling, the two Man United centre-halves, stifled danger in the box was vitally important to the result. For once Carlos Tevez did not look likely to score. The goal Man City scored was a fluke. But Rooney is an expensive star and there seems to be an irresistible force willing his confidence and therefore his goals to reappear. Where does this force come from? The media’s pressure to hype and to please us with heroes? The 75,000 spectators at Old Trafford and the world-wide fan base of Man United? His wages?
Some questions to ponder:
- Why are the players allowed to break the rules at kick-off? Starting the match, Rooney tapped the ball forward to Nani who was standing in the opponent’s half. I know everybody does it, and it is probably neater to get things going like this. but it is against the rules. At the moment of kick-off the players should be in their own half of the field.
- Gareth Barry (Man City) and Nani (Man U) wrestle their way to the goal-line simultaneously trying to preserve a likely goal-kick/force a corner. The referee or anyone else cannot pick out one of the pair as the instigator of the pushing and shoving. In any case awarding a free kick would delay the progress of the match.
There is another nonsense… taking the ball to the corner of the pitch and trying to hold possession there to play out time. Both of these recurring moments of boredom are ugly and unworthy of a game which can supply dazzling moments like Rooney’s goal. If the players cannot find an answer then there may have to be a rule implicitly insisting on playing, not delaying. A free-kick to the attacking team – the team in whose half the play is not taking place – might be necessary. It would be taken from the site of the delaying, of course. Avoiding this ‘punishment’ might smarten up the play. What does anyone else think?
- In Saturday’s match, Edin Dzeko of Man City connected with a cross from Shaun Wright-Phillips about 10 yards out from the middle of the goal in a melee of players. The ‘shot’ hit Silva on the back and went off in a completely different direction to enter the goal. Silva was credited with scoring. Not his fault, but the goal should have been credited to ‘Stan’. We need a new name on the scoresheets of football games, and this name can feature for any team at all. The name is Happenstance. You can call him ‘Stan’ for short.
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