Friday, April 20, 2018

With Wayne Rooney back in form can Manchester United return to title race?

United's captain back to his best / Image via

United’s captain back to his best / Image via

Manchester United captain’s recent form has been the talk of the town as the good part of the Red Devils family bemoaned the lack of goals and firepower from their team’s leader.

Indeed, with Manchester United struggling to produce decent performances in the Premier League for much of the ongoing season, Wayne Rooney was put under scrutiny perhaps even becoming a scapegoat for his team’s poor results and displays in general in the first part of the ongoing campaign.

Wayne Rooney’s games were characterised with lack of pace, desperately poor first touch and lack of precision in front of goal.

He seemed unfit, unmotivated and unprepared to take the captain’s responsibility on his shoulders in order to lead the team forward.

The results slumped, so did his form, equivalent to Manchester United’s demise.

Wayne Rooney has so far played 18 Premier League matches for Manchester United, netting 6 goals in the process. He also added one in the FA Cup, followed by one more in the League Cup.

However, it is the new year 2016 that has brought back the real Wayne Rooney, the one we all remember. The England captain has bagged five goals in four games across competitions since the 2nd January and the win over Swansea City which, coincidentally, marked the rise of the fallen giants.

His winning goal against Liverpool was particularly impressive.

United’s captain has now scored more goals for a single club than any other player in Premier League history. Having scored against the Reds at Anfield on Sunday, Wayne Rooney broke the record previously held by Thierry Henry.

Rooney amassed 176 goals for Manchester United and it is fair to say that the Red Devil’s captain has been singlehandedly leading his team in the last couple of matches.

With 22 Premier League games under the belt, Manchester United are currently sitting in 5th place in the standings with 37 points to the name.

Arsenal are still leading the pack together with Leicester City with 44 points, but Manchester United can feel optimistic about the title chances with other results going their way in the last couple of rounds.

February is likely to be the defining month for Van Gaal’s side as Manchester United are in line for a couple of tough games in their schedule.

First up is the Premier League match versus Southampton at home, and Manchester United currently stand at 5/6 to claim the maximum three points against the Saints.

FA Cup fourth round clash with Derby County follows with Premier League action continuing on the 2nd February when United will play hosts to Stoke City, before embarking on a three-game trip away from Old Trafford.

Visit to Stamford Bridge is first up, followed by the trip to Sunderland and UEFA Europa League Round of 32 visit to Midtjyland.

Should they manage to keep up their current pace and stride, Manchester United could make a firm push towards the top of the league. Louis van Gaal publicly voiced his optimism towards his club’s chances of winning silverware this term following the morale-boosting triumph over the archenemies.

Dutch manager also praised his captain for an inspiring display.

“A striker who scored is always very important and now he is scoring in a row and we are winning in a row. I am very happy for him but also for Manchester United. Everyone wants to see Rooney scoring”, said Van Gaal after the game.

Victory at Anfield will surely unload a great deal of pressure of Van Gaal’s shoulders as the Manchester United manager was believed to be walking on thin ice.

With restored confidence and their form going upwards, Red Devils will be hoping for their skipper’s form to last enough for the entire team to gain momentum.

Apart from Rooney’s goal United’s performance versus Liverpool has been fairly uninspiring and the captain will need support from his teammates in the crucial part of the season.

Can in-form Wayne Rooney lead Manchester United to glory this season?


Milos Markovic

Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently and His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.



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An in-form Rooney, and either have LVG install a more attacking style of play like the MU of old or sack him (most likely the latter) can get us back into the top four and offer up a bit of a challenge, but I doubt we’ll even finish second.

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