The surge of United's scintillating attack force
Manchester United has an attack force which can rival the best in Europe. The capture of Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie has brought back the ‘wow’ factor which the team had kind of lost when Ronaldo and Tevez departed in the summer of 2009. The team is scoring goals for fun and in 17 Barclays Premier League outings, it has already netted 43 goals. Last year, the team had got 42 by the same time but the stand out difference is that three games yielded 18 goals last year while 14 yielded just 25. The distribution of goals scored has been better, i.e. there has been more uniform scoring this season. Four goals have been scored only thrice and the remaining 31 have come in the other 14 games. Let us have a look at the members of the striker force at the club:
1 – ROBIN VAN PERSIE: This guy has been simply sensational since he’s joined the club. He already has 12 goals and 6 assists in 17 EPL games and has scored 15 goals overall. He was in red hot form for Arsenal last season and he has simply carried it over this year. He hasn’t taken any time to bed-in at the club and has proved that the 24 million pounds spent on him by the boss (Sir Alex) was a wise judgement. The best bit about the guy is that he is not just a goal scorer but he is also someone who is equally adept at bringing others into the play. He was the lone striker at Arsenal so all such qualities have been perfected by him over the past two seasons. Robin’s quality is such that it gives a sense of calmness to the whole team. They know that he is there to make the best of the chances that they create. Also, his presence ensures that Wayne Rooney does’t have to shoulder the burden of scoring goals. Having two top notch strikers at the club ensures a level of safety which transmits itself to other players and to the manager.
2 - WAYNE ROONEY: Wayne Rooney or ‘Wazza’ as he is fondly known, has been at the club since 2004. He imbibes the ethos of the club and is poised to become a legend at Manchester United. His level of commitment, desire, hunger and urge to succeed are the qualities which have seen him become a top notch striker for the club as well as the country. He belongs to the old school of players who only concentrate on playing the game. He breathes, eats and drinks football. His recent autobiography titled ‘My decade in the EPL’ clearly demonstrates the above point. It’s a recurring theme in that book. This season, Rooney hasn’t had to score most of the goals for the club as a certain Robin Van Persie has joined the side. Rooney’s role has now changed from that of a no.9 to a no. 10. He is at the heart of all United attacks. He is typically everywhere on the pitch, one moment at right back and the other, going forward and scoring from a counter attacking move. His fitness levels at the start of the season weren’t up to scratch but ever since his return from the thigh injury he got during the Fulham game, he has looked fit, sharp and more like the game winner all United fans have come to love. His brilliant performance in the Manchester derby last weekend and in the Reading game before showed that he is firing on all cylinders. He now has 14 goals for the season and looks well set to breach the 30 goal mark yet again.
3 - JAVIER HERNANDEZ: Chicharito is the name he wears on his jersey and it is the name by which he is widely known. He reminds people of Ole Gunner Solskjaer, a former United legend who famously won the Champions League final for the club in the 1998-99 season. Javier Hernandez is a poacher by nature. He is absolutely deadly inside the penalty area. Opposition defences in England can attest to that! He was a revelation in his first season at the club, getting 20 goals in 45 matches. Though his form dipped in his 2nd season wherein he got 12 goals in 36 games, he was back to his best this year where he has scored 9 goals in 17 games, most of which have been through substitute appearances. His finishing is clinical and his nature is such that he doesn’t want to be just a finisher. He works hard to add to his game so that he can bring more to the side. His attitude is exemplary which is a big source of pride for all fans of the club. He wears his heart on his sleeve and tries to do his best whenever he is on the pitch. The club needs another 20+ goals from him this year and I’m dead sure he’ll get them.
4 – DANNY WELBECK: Danny Welbeck is a product of the youth system at the club. He has had limited opportunities this season thanks to the blossoming Rooney-Van Persie partnership but much like Chicharito, Welbeck has done his bit when called upon. The prime example of this was when he robbed the City player of the ball last weekend in the 90th minute and kept it till Rafael came up to support him. It was from the subsequent foul on Rafael that Van Persie scored the winner. Had Welbeck not held the ball, City might have continued their attack. They had come back from 2-0 down to 2-2 and may well have gone on to take all three points. Welbeck has pace, a good built and his hold up ability is pretty good too. His shooting is his area of weakness though. If he can learn from his strike partners, he can become the main man for the club and the country in the years to come.
In conclusion, I’d like to express my delight at how easily United is scoring goals this season. The strikers are all in top form and I hope they stay in top form for the rest of the season. United need them to score a lot of goals so that the title can be wrested back from Man City. It is only then that last season’s hurt of losing the title to City can be erased.