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Shared moment: Rooney and Van Persie congratulate each other, but all is far from well.
Wilfried Bony (Swansea City 1-4 Manchester United)
Swansea City’s club-record signing, brought in by Michael Laudrup in July for £12 million, found himself on the bench for the first half of his side’s meeting with Manchester United.
His debut came in the second half of the game, with Swansea 2-0 down but still very much in the game. He gave a glimpse of the movement and aerial prowess that earned him 31 goals in 30 games with Vitesse Arnhem last season.
Naturally, Michu will remain the first choice to lead the line, but Bony added another dimension to Swansea’s attack. He found himself on the end of a number of chances before capping his debut with a well-taken first-touch shot into the bottom corner.
Olivier Giroud (Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa)
It seems unlikely that Arsene Wenger is entertaining the idea of another season relying on Giroud as his main goalscorer, but the Frenchman didn’t do too badly on Saturday against Aston Villa.
Giroud knocked in a well-taken close-range finish from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s deft low cross, a situation that could easily have resulted in him tripping over the ball on another day.
A couple more chances came his way and went begging. The former Montpellier player will be hoping to improve on last year’s tally of 11 league goals, and this was a good way to start.
Wayne Rooney (Swansea City 1-4 Manchester United)
Although there is still no public confirmation from the player or his representatives over whether or not he wants to leave Old Trafford, David Moyes saw fit to introduce Rooney as a second-half substitute, and what a good decision that was.
While he was nowhere near his best, even a partially in-form Rooney is an asset, as demonstrated by the two goals he created during the 20 or so minutes he was on the pitch.
However, a couple of fundamental mistakes—such as uncharacteristically drifting offside—showed a lack of focus, while a certain picture of an isolated Rooney while his teammates mob Robin van Persie has also been doing the rounds. Some journalists, even the astute Jonathan Northcroft of The Times, have insinuated that the picture is indicative of Rooney being ostracised at the club—but that straddles being speculative and borders on ridiculous.
Still, even with all the media distractions, it was not a bad showing at all.