By Ollie Irish
Man Utd’s lone star lacks a strong supporting cast
Forget Liverpool’s two-man team – it appears than Manchester United have become a one-man team. (And unless that one man is a 1986 vintage Diego Maradona, it’s a dangerous situation.)
The only man playing like a champion for the reigning title holders this season is Wayne Rooney. Without Rooney, I suspect United would be out of the title race already. He was magnificent against Man City on Tuesday night, operating on a higher level than all of his team-mates – something he’s been doing all season. No wonder he is visibly frustrated that no one else seems to be on his wavelength.
How Wazza must miss Cristiano Ronaldo. Sans C-Ron, you don’t see this from United anymore:
I don’t recall Rooney scoring a goal like that since Ronaldo left for Madrid. Why? Because you never see Berbatov or Owen or Nani or Valencia counter-attack with such a deadly combination of pace and skill; United’s threat on the counter-attack has decreased massively since the Portuguese forward’s move to Spain. That makes them a much easier team to defend against.
Still, somehow Rooney’s form has not suffered since Ronaldo departed Old Trafford – the Englishman has maintained his high standards, but these days he has no one to wreak havoc with.
Of course, with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic set to return soon, United could yet move into title-winning gear. But god help Alex Ferguson if Rooney gets injured for more than the odd game.
And with United’s debt now standing at a scary £716m, it doesn’t look like Fergie can do much to strengthen a squad that is solid by Prem standards but lacks truly top-class players in their prime.