Wayne Rooney was played on the left at the start of the game before moving in to a more central role in the first half. However, like many of our players, he struggled to play a significant role in the game, creating little and allowing the ball to bounce off his shins time and again.
Just 20 minutes after Rooney was replaced by Chicharito, United turned the score around from 2-0 down to 3-2 up.
“We tried to use Wayne as a wide player and although he has played that role well many times, he was just not getting into the game in the first half,” said Ferguson. “It was no fault of his. The rhythm of our game wasn’t right. We were all over the place. We then tried to put him through the middle but, when we were still 2-0 down 20 minutes into the second half, we had to do something and had to gamble. Chicharito was a gamble. But of course immediately he went right through and forced a terrific save from their goalkeeper. Then he got the equaliser for us and in fact could have scored four goals. So he made a great impact.”
Looking at the best strikers in England this season, Dimitar Berbatov and Chicharito feature in the top 3. Looking at all competitions, Berbatov has scored a goal every 105 minutes on the pitch, whilst Chicharito has scored a goal every 116 minutes on the pitch. Only Robin van Persie competes with this, with a goal every 110 minutes. In contract, Rooney has scored just one goal from open play this season, is the 81st highest scorer in the league and has an average of one goal per 455 minutes on the pitch (7.5 hours). Whilst Rooney has lots of assists to his name, can Ferguson really justify starting him as a striker ahead of either Berb or Chicharito anymore?