Manchester United didn’t do much right during their first transfer window of the post-Alex Ferguson era. In fact it could be argued that the club only did one thing right from the time David Moyes took office on July 1st until the summer window closed on September 2nd. Moyes’ ability to convince Wayne Rooney to stay at Manchester United while fighting off interest in the player from Premier League rivals Arsenal and Chelsea has saved Manchester United’s season.
Millions of people across the globe watched the latest matchup between Manchester United and Arsenal this weekend. Going into the match, not many would have given the Red Devils a chance at beating the Gunners after the recent showings from each club.
Arsenal was coming off two huge wins in their previous two matches. They beat Liverpool in convincing fashion at the Emirates, 2-0, then followed that up with the biggest road win in club history when they shutout Borussia Dortmond and snatched a 1-0 decision in the Westfalenstadion.
United entered the match with Arsenal after a mid-week nil-nil draw with Real Sociedad in the Champions League which was preceded by a 3-1 victory at Fulham. United opened the match in London with a magical 22-minute spell which saw the club blast three goals past the Cottagers. But then United settled into the form that their supporters have come all too accustomed to seeing…inconsistent.
The only thing consistent about Manchester United this season has been the play of Wayne Rooney. While the focus and determination of the players as a whole has wavered during the early part of the season, Rooney has played with a renewed passion and intent.
His willpower was in full display against the Gunners. The forward covered every blade of grass on the afternoon as he harassed Arsenal defenders, battled the their midfield, and pitched in to help United’s previously porous defense. Rooney’s highlight moment was his delivery to Robin van Persie for United’s opening goal in the 27th minute.
Rooney played every minute of the match against Arsenal and it could be argued that his pre-match comments and in-game actions drove his club to their best 90-minute performance in over a year.
Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher had this to say about Rooney following the match with Arsenal: “Rooney is the reason why they’re only five points behind this season because United have been poor.