Wayne Rooney is back in the Manchester United lineup after recovering from a leg injury he sustained against Fulham nearly a month ago and is poised to spark the Red Devils to the top of the Premier League Standings.
Man U eliminated Newcastle in the third round of the Capital One Cup Wednesday in Rooney’s return.
The 26-year-old has been a fixture with Man U since he debuted in 2004 with a hat-trick against Fenerbahce. The striker continues to bring success to the club with his potent goal scoring.
Rooney helped the Red Devils to the Carling Cup in 2006, the FIFA Club World Cup in 2009 and has been an integral part in the record 19 league titles reached by Man U in 2010-11.
With 181 goals in 367 career appearances, the talented striker has been difficult for opponents to slow with his powerful shot. His individual accolades include the Professional Footballer’s Association Player of the Year (2010), Premier League Player of the Year (2010) and five-time Premier League Player of the Month.
The successful goal scorer is one of the most feared scorers in the game. Rooney returns to the lineup with the Reds one point behind Chelsea after five matches. His return will spark Man U to get back to the top of the EPL standings for these three reasons.
The Absence of Dimitar Berbatov
Dimitar Berbatov is now with Fulham, allowing Rooney to step into a larger role in the Man U attack. The English striker appeared in just two games before suffering the cut against Fulham that has kept him out of the lineup for the last month.
Berbatov produced at an impressive clip during his time with the Reds. He had seven goals in five starts last season and a 20-goal season in 2010. Berbatov fell out of favor with Man U late last season and didn’t regain a starting spot in 2012, ultimately leading to his departure.
With Berbatov out of the picture, Rooney will shoulder a larger offensive role―a role he is comfortable in. Now that he is healthy, look for the usual production from the star attacker. Coming off a career-high 27 EPL goals in 2011, Rooney appears to be finding a more productive stroke.
It may take a couple matches, but expect his first point to be coming soon. Once he gets that first one, expect the confident striker to return to form quickly.
Surrounded by Weapons
Man U has arguably one of the better attacks in the EPL. Rooney’s return only adds to an already productive offense. He can provide a welcomed boost to the Man U offense that already features the EPL’s top scorer, Robin van Persie.
RvP’s transfer to the Reds has paid off so far with his EPL leading five goals. But, Brazilian defender Rafael is the team’s second-highest scorer with two goals. Aging midfielder Paul Scholes is one of five players who have chipped in with a goal this season.
Rooney brings back another element to the Man U offense that has maintained a top spot in the EPL―even in his absence.
Establishing Chemistry with RvP
Robin van Persie joined the Reds on August 17. Rooney got injured in September. The two have had limited time to get to know each other’s style of play. That appears to be a thing of the past now.
RvP is producing at a goal-per-match pace without Rooney. The now double-barreled threat will wreak havoc on defenses. With their striking ability and playmaking skill, these two attackers could be headed for career years.
The technical aspects of van Persie’s game combined with the work ethic of Rooney’s should provide more than a few highlights for the rest of this young 2012 season. With the loss of captain Nemanja Vidic for two months to a knee injury, the Man U offense will need to shoulder a greater load.
Fortunately, the Reds have two of the best scorers in the game, players who are more than capable of carrying the team. Establishing chemistry between the two will be crucial to launching the Reds to the top of the EPL standings. Once that gets developed, expect Man U to stay at the top.