1. After spending most of last season dreading our away games, how thoroughly refreshing it was to see United put in a performance like that at a ground we often struggle at. When the chants of “Are you Arsenal in disguise?” started, with us 3-0 up after 25 minutes, you knew it was going to be a good day. Full credit to Sir Alex Ferguson stressing the importance of keeping the performance up in the second half, as our +3 goal difference on City is keeping us top of the table.
2. When Nani picked up the ball for the opening goal, Tom Cleverley started limping off the pitch, signalling to the bench he couldn’t play on. Kevin Davies had just made a bad challenge on him, picked up no booking, and our young midfielder’s day was over. Just like Danny Welbeck before him, it’s so frustrating to see our academy lads make their mark in the first team then get forced out through injury. As he winced in pain, our lads were celebrating around the goal mouth, after Chicharito’s incredible movement and Nani’s perfect pass put us 1-0 up.
3. It’s rare for me to be happier for a player in regards to their contribution than I am for Chicharito, but Phil Jones showed why we paid all that money for him and I was made up. All the top clubs were interested in him and it’s all too apparent why. He says he prefers playing in the centre of defence but he could play anywhere. After claiming a starting place for England at right back, Chris Smalling was dropped for a fresher Jones, who wasn’t about to let the opportunity pass him by. He played in a perfect ball to set up Rooney at 2-0 but our third goal came from some brilliance by him. He charged in to the box, beating three players, turning his marker, before setting up Rooney again. Every week I seem to change my mind over whether I like Jones or Smalling more. It’s Jones again for the time being.
4. The day was all about Wayne Rooney though, picking up his second hattrick in two games, equalling Sir Bobby Charlton’s record with the club. He has scored in every game we’ve played, a total of 8 in 4 games, signalling his best start to the season by far. This is why the manager was so determined to hold on to him. My favourite goal of his was the third, after Ryan Giggs played through a delightful ball to Nani, who put it on a plate for Rooney. He made it look easy, hitting it first time, placing it perfectly in the bottom corner. Giggs will be handy in light of Cleverley’s injury. As he showed as well against Arsenal, he’s capable of a class ball or two without needing much time to get back in to the game.
5. It was disappointing to see Bolton given the clear game plan of kicking lumps out of us. The amount of cynical challenges that went on was embarrassing for Owen Coyle. After Kevin Davies escaped even a booking after a late challenge which has ruled Cleverley out for a month, he went in studs showing on Patrice Evra, ages after the ball had gone, and was only shown a yellow card for it. Oh wanky, wanky…
6. Interesting to see Evra wearing the captain’s armband, despite Rio Ferdinand’s presence. The left back looked better than he has done for a while and it’s good to see the manager trying to boost his confidence. I do wonder what Rio will make of it though. Should he fear his starting position when Nemanaja Vidic returns?
7. How exciting is this season? It’s been a good ten years since I’ve felt like this about the start of our season. Having become so used to us starting slowly then blowing teams away in the second half of the season, it’s a bit of a shop to the system to see us playing so well and picking up such great results. No club has scored 18 goals in the opening four games of a Premier League season before and you’d never guess it would be United breaking records like that. We’ve had loads of injuries already and the prospect of us having a fully fit squad should be fairly terrifying for our rivals.