Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reds back on track, as transfer talk erupts.....

United played more like the United we know and love at Loftus Road on Sunday, the champions ran out 2-0 winners and deservedly so. Wayne Rooney opened the scoring with an early headed goal from an Atonio Valencia cross from the right. Michael Carrick sealed the victory with an all too rare solo goal in the second-half following a 50 yard run at the Rangers defence.

It was Carrick's first goal for the club in 70 games - a stat that will have concerned both manager and player, but against Rangers, Carrick, showed signs that he's forging a useful  relationship with midfield star in the making, Phil Jones.

Carrick, Jones and Rooney linked up well throughout Sunday's fixture. Jones should have added to his tally for the season - on another day, he could easily have scored a brace. The former Blackburn defender shaved the post with his best effort and his driving runs from deep are invoking memories of Bryan Robson.

While Jones and Carrick controlled the game from the middle of the park, it was Wayne Rooney who was the real star of the show. Rooney hasn't enjoyed the last few weeks, following a run of indifferent performances - it was starting look as though the England striker might need  a rest - but with so many injuries that would have been difficult for Ferguson.

Thankfully, on Sunday, Rooney played like he did at the beginning of the season. The flicks and deft touches were there in abundance.  When Rooney plays as he did against Rangers he looks like a world beater. Danny Welbeck started alongside Rooney, despite playing for England and showing signs of promise, the young striker is not the finished article and he was eventually replaced by Javier Hernandez who made a welcome return to action and very nearly scored with his first touch.

Ashley Young appears to have fallen out of favour with the manager following a good run of games at the start of the season. On Sunday, Young replaced Nani with just 12 minutes remaining, but he didn't really have time to impress.

There was better news to report where the back four is concerned. Jonny Evans had another solid game; Ferguson appears to have faith in the Northern Ireland international - certainly more so than many fans.

In the absence of Vidic, Rio Ferdinand was defending on the front foot; on more than one occasion he charged out of the back four when making timely interceptions in midfield and then played a good ball to feet - let us hope the former England captain can maintain the form he showed at Loftus Road on Sunday, because he too was superb.

Chris Smalling was once again steady at rightback, but on the opposite flank Patrice Evra continues to be a source of concern.

Evra appears to have lost a yard of pace amidst suggestions that the Frenchman is lazy - an accusation that has only recently surfaced from the lips of fans and pundits alike. We never heard talk of laziness a couple of season ago...

So United appear to be back on track following the huge disappointment of Champions League elimination, with the loss of face and not forgetting the lost TV millions.

As we head towards 2012, predictably, with the transfer window set to open, United are being linked to just about anyone and everyone again. It was ever thus.  If we are to believe the latest tittle-tattle, United are set to agree a deal worth up to 40 million Euro's for Benfica's Argentine midfielder Nicolas Gaitan. According to reports the deal will go through in the summer.

Next up: United face Fulham in West London. United must take all three points if they are to keep the pressure on leaders City.

Coming up later this week, we will be reviewing Roy Keane's latest spat with Ferguson and what that all means. And we will we be giving our views on the Patrice Evra Luis Suarez row over those racism claims. The Liverpool striker has been banned for 8 games and given a £40,000 fine by the FA.

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