Manchester Utd 4 Hull City 0: Four-some Rooney sends United back to the top of the table

23 January 2010 11:34
On Wayne Rooney's shoulders rests the future of Manchester United's footballing success and therefore their ability to service infamous debts of £716 million placed on the club by the Glazer family.

A good job, then, that he has broad shoulders and an uncomplicated approach to bearing intolerable burdens.

Rooney is a football phenomenon, an irresistible force imposing himself on weaker opposition and leaving sporting devastation in his wake.

Thunderbolt: Wayne Rooney opens the scoring at Old Trafford

On Saturday, the 24-year-old Liverpudlian delivered a stunningfour-goal display. And as Rio Ferdinand made his long-awaited returnto the defence and United moved back on top of the table, it was hardto conceive the potential long-term decline of the club, a prospectraised by the refinancing of loans secured against them by the Glazers.

For now, all seems well, but mainly because one man is rising tothe challenge of replacing Cristiano Ronaldo and weathering the stormgathering over Old Trafford. Rooney took his total of goals to 19 in 21Premier League games, a statistic which will encourage England managerFabio Capello as he prepares for the World Cup.

Of more immediate concern to manager Sir Alex Ferguson is that hetook his team two points clear of Arsenal at the Premier League summit,with United visiting the Emirates next weekend.

Double trouble: Rooney smashes home a second

As long as Rooney stays on top of his game, United will stave off questions of financial management and stagnant form.

All that was best about United came from him: their aggression,speed and creativity. There was also a glimpse of his self-destructivestreak, that instinctive need of a street footballer to kick back whenhumiliated.

After 41 minutes Rooney was dispossessed by Ricardo Garcia. Hisresponse? To chase down Stephen Hunt, who now had the ball, and hackhim down from behind in an act of retribution which merited a booking.Still, we come to praise him, not to bury him.

It's a knockout: Rooney (centre) celebrates with Jonny Evans (left) and Darren Fletcher

It was not just his finishing that impressed; it was his all-round contribution. He was the hub around which United revolved.

'Having witnessed what I've just have, you'd have to say he's oneof the best strikers in the world,' said Hull manager Phil Brown, whohighlighted the fact that Rooney's work-rate was not matched by hisplayers of lesser ability.

Hull held their own for 82 minutes and had threatened to add to therebellious mood as fans protested against the Glazer family, byembarrassing their hosts.

My ball: Wayne Rooney

They blunted United's attack and came close to an equaliser on 75minutes but substitute Kamel Ghilas shot just wide across the face ofgoal.

Hull were then obliterated by the full force of Rooney. He startedwell on eight minutes with a goal snatched up in typically predatoryfashion by pouncing from close range after Boaz Myhill had merelyparried a 20-yard Paul Scholes shot.

United continued to dominate for the rest of the half althoughMichael Owen, making a rare start, was unconvincing unlike Rooney andthe impressive Nani.

Despite remaining nominally in control after the interval, Uniteddid not manage to consolidat their superiority until the 82nd-minuteintervention of Rooney. Nani struck a free-kick from 25 yards whichbewildered Myhill, who deflected the ball onto the bar.

In the ensuring scramble, Andy Dawson collided with his keeper but,as play continued, substitute Darron Gibson slid in a fine pass forRooney, who scored with force.

Hull, now beaten after standing firm for so long, capitulated. On 86minutes, Nani was finally rewarded for his efforts, crossing for anunmarked Rooney to head home. The denouement came in injurytime, withDimitar Berbatov by now on the pitch.

The Bulgarian hooked the ball over the defence for Rooney, whoplayfully toyed with Paul McShane and Kamil Zayatte, juggling the ball,before striking past Myhill from 10 yards.

The day - his day - was complete.

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Source: Daily_Mail

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