Sunday, January 31, 2010

Forget about City, Rooney needs to deliver against Arsenal....

Thank god United put City back in the shadows where they belong. In the aftermath of what was an excellent Carling Cup semi-final victory in midweek, most of the plaudits have gone to Wayne Rooney. Ferguson described Rooney as world class. The truth is Rooney didn't play that well against City, in the first-half he was starved of decent service; this was totally down to United playing too many long balls.

City could have been two-nil up before United scored. The cup holder’s standout player on the night, wasn't Rooney, nor was it Fletcher, who was also given high praise, no, in point of fact it was the proverbial black-sheep that is Nani.

Rooney missed a sitter and could have put the tie to bed not long after Carrick had given United lead. But it was Rooney who won the tie in added time from a quite brilliant Ryan Giggs cross, so good the United striker would have found it difficult to miss the target.

So let's get things in perspective: Ferguson, who was quite understandably overjoyed at knocking out City, was so relieved United had won that he went on to overstate the part Rooney had played in that victory.

Later today United take on Arsenal at the Emirates. Both clubs cannot afford to drop points with Chelsea winning away at Burnley, in so doing extending their lead at the top of the table to four points.

Questions are being asked about Rooney, most notably: will he be able to maintain the form that has so far seen him net 19 league goals for the remainder of the season? On this morning’s Sunday Supplement, Bryan Woolnough asked will Rooney be able to maintain that form until the end of England's summer World Cup campaign? Many United fans' won't give a stuff about the latter... but it's fair to ask if Ferguson is expecting too much from his only genuine world-class striker.

It isn't stretching things too far to suggest if Rooney is out for any length of time, for whatever reason, then United will be badly affected and this is why Ferguson really needed to strengthen his forward options. The fact that Ferguson has failed to make any significant recent signings is down to several factors. One of them could well be the lack of transfer funds. Some finance experts say Fergie can only spend if the club borrows yet more money.

However, following on from renewed speculation about lack of transfer funds and the future ownership of the club, CEO, David Gill has gone on record stating there is money to spend if Ferguson wants it. In fact, Gill went further by hinting strongly that the reason United haven't made any big moves is purely down to the manager.

According to Gill, the club tabled an offer of £35m for Karim Benzema who instead elected to join Real Madrid for a fee of £40m. Ferguson's opinion, we are told is the player wasn't worth the money, which is consistent with what the manager has hinted at publicly.

On the face it Ferguson and Gill are in harmony with regards to transfer funds; but United are playing a dangerous game relying on just one striker. Sooner or later United will have to spend and spend big. Then and only then will we see if Gill and Ferguson will be able to backup their words with action in the transfer market. Until then we have to hope Rooney continues to score goals, remains injury free and out of trouble starting with Arsenal today.

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