1. Every time United find themselves in a rubbish situation, you do have to wonder if this is going to be one of the occasions when we can’t turn it around. Time and again we pull it off, which is why fans are left with faith of a result in situations they have no right to. So with so many players missing and 2-0 down on an hour played, it would probably have been fairly optimistic just hoping for a draw. To come away with three points yesterday takes the piss. This result was this season’s equivalent of the victory at Goodison Park in 2007. I’d like to think this is the day we’ll look back on in May as the day that put one hand on the trophy.
2. What was Patrice Evra thinking when he gave away that penalty? It’s stuff like that which we could really do without. When he came off at half-time, you imagine he had received a grilling from Ferguson. The idea of Giggsy filling his spot so Chicharito could come on seemed suspect. Had Evra said something back to the manager after the hair dryer? Turns out, probably not, with this tactical move a stroke of genius from the manager, freeing up Rooney and still giving us options to attack down the left flank.
3. When the 2nd penalty was awarded less than quarter of an hour later, that’s when the sinking feeling came. Replays show Vidic’s foul was outside the box but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Referee Mason was the same one who missed Zigic’s handball just before an offside Bowyer robbed us a few months ago. But we shouldn’t be critical. Why should we expect a referee to be able to see and do his job? Later on in the game some were calling for a straight red for Vidic after he committed a foul as the last man. The rule talks about “a clear goalscoring opportunity”, not last man, and there was no doubt the ball was going straight to Kuszczak. Still, Vida was all over the place today. Let’s hope he’s got it out of his system and is ready for the important games ahead.
4. As the clock ticked past the hour mark and Rooney displayed, as someone else called it, “the first touch of a goat”, I lost the plot well and truly. We bent over backwards, embarrassing ourselves to accommodate Rooney and beg him to stay because he’s a special player who should do special things. He’s on £180k-a-week to win us games and here he was, giving the ball away and looking nothing like a special player. Winds me up. And then it started. Giggs stood over the ball, like he always does with the person who will actually take the freekick, and watched Rooney float a delightful freekick in to the top corner. Beautiful. Eight minutes later, Antonio Valencia drilled in a great ball to Rooney, with his first touch taking it past the defender before firing in to the far post. Delightful. Six minutes later, some great work from Fabio lead to a penalty, after Upson blocked Fabio’s cross with his arm. Could it be? After 60 minutes of doing nothing, was Rooney going to score a hattrick in 14 minutes? Yes. Incredible. Well done Wazza.
5. Of course Rooney stole the show with his goals but there were other players who should be singled out for praise, with Antonio Valencia having the best performance of the day, even if Rooney’s contribution was obviously more important. He had a great game down that right wing and only wet the appetite for our games ahead with him down one wing and Nani down the other. The return of Park only helps with this prospect, with his tireless effort, as a starter or from the bench, an obvious bonus for the games remaining.
6. Rooney will be pleased he scored a hattrick, if only to ensure his starting place when Berbatov and Chicharito were such effective subs. It shouldn’t be viewed as a coincidence that we were 2-0 down until Berba came on. He gave us that extra composure up front that leaves me utterly baffled as to why he doesn’t start games like this. Chicharito’s finishing again leaves us wondering why he wasn’t starting. Most of us prefer 442 anyway, but against a side facing relegation, it’s puzzling as to why Fergie opted to start with just one striker. Alls well that ends well, but the superior possession and better chances we created in the first half maybe would have meant the two penalties against us didn’t leave us shitting ourselves, had we had two strikers on the park.
7. What? Fucking what?? What?