Sir Alex Ferguson made a few changes to tonight’s line-up, picking a team which was capable of picking up the points, whilst making sure we have enough fresh players for derby day at the weekend. Gary Neville started in place of John O’Shea, Jonny Evans for Rio Ferdinand, whilst Darren Fletcher and Ryan Giggs were also given a rest. Rooney played for an hour, Berbatov for half an hour, meaning all in all we have made good use of our squad.
Getting the points was important tonight though and whilst there wasn’t much to write home about, we ground out the result. A few years ago, this is something we struggled at in Europe, when we would go to small clubs abroad and leave with just a point, or worse, nothing.
Antonio Valencia, who was again unimpressive tonight, played in Nani just inside the box. He got away a powerful shot, forcing the keeper to save and put both hands on the deck to stop him falling over. As he was getting back up, Scholesy directed the header over the keeper and in to the back of the net.
The season after Ruud van Nistelrooy left, people questioned where the goals were going to come from, given that we hadn’t bought a replacement for the prolific striker. Nobody had Solskjaer down for 11 goals in 32 appearances (7 goals in 19 appearances in the league) that season, or the 19 league goals that would come from Giggs, Scholes, Park and O’Shea (7 more than the season before), because everyone was too busy thinking about Ruud.
Wayne Rooney has been a match winner so far this season and we hoped/expected this would be the case. But it’s the people you don’t expect to get you the points which make results all the better. You wouldn’t have thought Giggsy was going to send that freekick flying in to the top corner against Spurs or that Anderson would score the goal to take us in to the lead. You wouldn’t have had Scholesy down for scoring the winner away in Turkey with his head!
We’ve got quality players in this squad and whilst no single player, other than Rooney, is expected to come to close Ronaldo’s scoring record, if enough of our players can keep chipping away, like Scholes tonight, we’ll be fine.
An important three points in the bag tonight. Onwards and upwards…