Rooney Stars As Manchester United Cruise Past Leverkusen
Manchester United have cruised to a confortable 2-0 victory against a 10 man Crystal Palace. The victory was the first under new manager David Moyes at Old Trafford, but I’m sure the Scotsman hopes the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ is home to many more of his own.
It wasn’t a convincing performance by the defending Premier League Champions, with both goals coming from set pieces, the first being a controversial penalty after Ashley Young was taken down by Palace player Kagisho Dikgacoi in the 45th minute. Dikgacoi was shown the door by match referee Jonathan Ross, but the visiting fans were not happy, especially after replays around the ground showed that Young was fouled outside the penalty box.
Some say it was justice after Young himself had been booked earlier in the half for simulation after being denied a penalty for a tackle in the box, although significant contact was evidant.
The penalty decision was somewhat justified as Referee Ross did attempt to get assistance from the linesman but the linesman responded with “I can’t help you here.”
Only a sublime freekick from sought after forward Wayne Rooney in the 81st minute extended United’s lead in an unconvincing performance from a side who failed to score in their previous 2 league encounters against Chelsea at home and then Liverpool at Anfield.
A real talking point from the game though came in the 67th minute when the yellow carded Ashley Young was replaced by the debuting 18 year old Adnan Janujaz. A man who after reports came out of Madrid that Cristiano Ronaldo had signed a new 5 year contract on Sunday, was hailed as the ‘next Ronaldo’.
The same praise was heaped on Ronaldo’s fellow Portuguese International Nani, who failed to make the squad for the match against the new arrivals.
Wilfred Zaha was another unlucky player who did not feature against Palace. Although being named as a substitute, Moyes opted for experience over youth bringing on 2012 signing Javier Hernandez for Robin Van Persie in the 79th minute; Zaha was stiff to miss out on a chance to play against his old side, a side in which he prominently helped promote to the top tier of English Football.
All in all the performance was below par by Manchester United’s standards and will simply just not cut it on Tuesday’s first UEFA Champions League group match against Bayern Leverkusen (BST).
The United defence was hardly tested but Leverkusen are a very different prospect to Crystal Palace, and crucial players like Saturday’s Man of the Match Michael Carrick have to be at their best against the likes of Lars Bender.
Both sides are very much adapt on the counter attack, so manager David Moyes might opt to use either Danny Welbeck or Javier Hernandez in support of spearhead Robin Van Persie, with Rooney moving to the left wing. Both Moyes and former Liverpool midfielder and current Leverkusen head coach Sami Hyypiä are making their full Champions League Debuts as managers and will be out to start on the right track at Old Trafford.