Manchester United – Wayne Rooney Shines in Tactical Mayhem

Tactics? What are tactics? Alex Ferguson continues to let his players go gung-ho in their attempts to erase all of their defensive mistakes. That is just fine with Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, thriving in the tactical mayhem that has become the breeding ground for these Manchester United comebacks.

Is Ferguson happy with the way things have been going? His team are first in the Premier League, with 37 goals scored in 15 matches. Still not the best goal difference in the land, which was the whole point of playing this kind of attacking football. Ferguson never though his defense was going to be this bad. Rio Ferdinand is more and more of a bystander in every match he plays, while Jonathan Evans runs around in corners trying to close down holes created by Rio and Rafael, who got substituted after 31 minutes. He didn’t like it, but Chris Smalling did a much better job.

This isn’t Reading’s first big blowout party of the season, with the 5-4 loss to Arsenal still in mind. All their goals this time came in the same manner, as a soft Untied defense was helpless against a very physical approach. No news there. But it seems that all the criticism doesn’t really matter. The understanding that they can comeback from anything against anyone, going back years and years under Ferguson’s rule, puts such a strong belief in a very talented group of players that conceding three goals in 23 minutes is meaningless.

Wayne Rooney enjoyed the vast spaces he had to operate in, feeling like a true striker once again. Robin van Persie produced the classy finish of the match, but Rooney came out as the happier man, adding two goals to his tally after what seemed like ages since his last goal. In fact, only 40 days have passed, but being stuck on two Premier League goals was too weird for such an accomplished player, doubling his Premier League output in the space of 14 minutes.

The second half was mostly calming things down. Managing their seventh come from behind victory was enough for Ferguson, who felt there was no need for a second half filled with roller-coaster rides. Phil Jones for Anderson meant that 4-3 is enough for him. And now the question remains if what you take are the scorelines and goals or the overall ability, which like every big team in England, is very far from impressing anyone?

That was the absolute worst it’s been this season. We deserved to get battered today. We scored goals thankfully which rescued us. If you make mistakes like that defending then you are going to have to do rescue jobs every week. Today was another rescue job. It was a miracle that we won the way we were defending. I’m just glad we did win it.

Something to learn? Nothing much. Ferguson, like many others, doesn’t mind criticizing his team after he wins, paying complements to his opponents. I’m not sure it’s the same kind of attitude when he loses, which always seems to be just across the very fine line his defense is creating for him this season. United have a terrible defensive game, but something of an unstoppable offense. Unbalanced, but looks like enough to win the Premier League in 2013.

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