Things don’t change at Old Trafford for Manchester United. A half time lead that can’t be beaten, while Wayne Rooney delivers a fine performance but leaves a bitter taste, along with the subjective refereeing, by another awful miss from the penalty spot.
A win is a win, and at the end of the road, all you remember are the three points or the goals that took you to the next stage in the various cup competitions. Wayne Rooney had another impressive all-around display, looking dangerous off the left for United, coming through for the early finish, connecting with Chicharito’s assist (born from a wonderful Anderson pass), while doing most of Nani’s defensive work, as the Portuguese winger, like many others in this match, got a chance in the lineup which he didn’t really make worthwhile.
Sam Allardyce put it best: There was no doubt whatsoever about the difference between Rafael’s handball and Jordan Spence’s. Jordan Spence plays for West Ham away against Manchester United and Rafael plays at home at Old Trafford.
Spence touched the ball with his hand, but not on purpose. Rafael touched the ball with his hand, but not on purpose. United didn’t score off the penalty kick, but it just adds to another bad call referees make in a stadium that seems to direct them towards one direction, something that’s been going on for years.
Javier Hernandez got an interesting comparison to Hugo Sanchez yesterday, but the Mexican striker, who is desperate to win a unmovable place in the Manchester United lineup, simply couldn’t make something of the many chances he had at his feet. He did finish with an assist to Rooney, that displayed a fantastic first touch, something often lacking in his bag of tricks, but a quality finisher like him should really make more of these situations.
And there was the other United ailment of somehow giving up possession in the second half and allowing their opponents, a team filled with injuries and playing without wingers, to come back and take control of the match. As usual, the history books say it doesn’t really matter. When Manchester United go down leading at half time, there’s no power in the world that can make them lose. West Ham did get more and more possession and a few decent chances, not including the Rafael handball that almost ended with a goal on the other side, but didn’t really test Lindegaard.
Ryan Giggs continues to be a wonder anywhere he’s positioned on the pitch – quick, smart and good enough to play the full 90 minutes. When will this end, as Paul Scholes, who has already retired once, is thinking about taking ago at the pensioners life once again? It’s hard to say, but used in the right way through his rotation, it look like Giggs can carry on for another year or two, being a very influential player for one of the biggest clubs in the world just before he reaches 40.
Despite the wrong, United once again do what’s necessary. The right amount of pressure to get them a goal, nothing more. It’s going to be enough for a title this season by the current look of things, and maybe even more than that.