What’s a better way to go? A dull 0-0 or another 1/2-0 win by Manchester United that bores the life out of neutral viewers, or an exciting 5-5 draw, that did see his team drop a three goal lead and for the first time in his life not get angry about something like that. Alex Ferguson had his farewell for the club, the league and the game, while Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez tried to show there’s a future to be optimistic about, even without Wayne Rooney.
West Brom, and especially Romelu Lukaku, made Ferguson’s last match as a manager a memorable one. Only 12 shots on target throughout the entire match, but the defending and goalkeeping on both ends were extremely poor, which is quite typical for two teams who have nothing to play for, but prove to their managers their up for the challenge next season, and deserve a place in the lineup.
It’s no longer Ferguson players need to impress, but David Moyes, who was off in London seeing his players lose to Chelsea. Ferguson is still going to have some influence at the club, some say bigger than anyone might think, but it’s Moyes who’ll be the face of everything. And on a club that does need some changing, final matches are often fertile ground for players to make their push for a spot on the team for next season.
Robin van Persie had nothing to worry about, except possibly someone having a magical final day and stealing past him to claim the scoring title. That wasn’t going to happen, and the Dutchman secured his second consecutive Premier League golden boot with 26 goals in 38 matches, a little shy of his 30 from last season but still enough to keep Michu, Gareth Bale and the suspended Luis Suarez from ruining his final day.
Javier Hernandez is probably the most interesting story. Transfer Rumors keep coming from all directions regarding the Mexican forward, who proved again and again all through his United stay (3 seasons so far) that given the opportunities and playing time, he is just as prolific as anyone one else in the league, finishing with 10 goals in 22 matches, most of them coming off the bench. United are trying to keep the Rooney issue on a low flame, hoping it does blow over and they won’t be selling him in the coming few months. For all of the trouble he brings them, which is debatable on the amount, Rooney is an excellent player, who is very difficult to replace.
Shinji Kagawa is probably hoping Rooney does get to go. With Van Persie taking over the striking position and Hernandez looking like a more qualified, less expensive partner in the box, it’s the role of the player behind them that’s up for grabs, and Kagawa, who had a disappointing debut season, partially due to injuries, doesn’t need the extra competition from Rooney, who is probably looking to do the exact same role if he actually remains with the team.
There’s not much reason to point out the weaknesses in the squad, not on the final day of the season in which United win a league title with surprising ease and comfort. But celebrations don’t last very long, and soon it’ll be time to get to work, for Moyes more than anyone else. Repeating is harder than winning, especially if you haven’t won a single trophy previously.