United might have started the David Moyes era triumphantly by thumping Swansea 4-1 on Saturday, but the first three points under the new manager are a distant memory on today’s backpages, which focus, yet again, on transfer speculations as the transfer window enters its final two weeks.
The man at the centre of attention is, rather obviously, Wayne Rooney. The saga surrounding the England striker’s future has been arguably the story of the summer, second only to the Luis Suarez’s shamble down the East Lancs Road and the doubts surrounding the future of the man who trademarked a goal celebration.
OK, one down and 37 to go. So what have we learned from United’s first match of the season, first victory as well as first regular season match under new manger David Moyes?
First off let me congratulate David Moyes on his first victory. I have to say this, even though Dave was never my choice for manager of this prestigious club, I am one of those out there who is very happy for him and delighted with a tough road win that hopefully filled us all with some optimism while answering some immediate questions.
The last time United faced Swansea, Sir Alex Ferguson waved goodbye to Old Trafford for the last time as Manchester United manager under a torrential downpour, so there was perhaps a sense of inevitability as David Moyes began his United career against the same opponent and in the same weather conditions.
The continuity between the final chapter of the Ferguson era and the first league match under David Moyes didn’t end there, as Robin Van Persie continued where he had left season, by showing that United might lack a world class midfielder, but they definitely have a world class striker in their squad.
Starting XI: De Gea, Jones, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Carrick, Cleverley, Giggs, Valencia, Welbeck, RvP
Subs: Lindegaard, Smalling, Zaha, Rooney, Kagawa, Anderson, Fabio
As Manchester United debuts go, Wayne Rooney’s was amongst the greatest and most memorable of all time. Ronaldo, Macheda, van Nistelrooy and Shay Brennan all received approving nods via our Twitter following last night, but surely none compare to Rooney’s? Shame then how the want-away striker could sour the occasion for a man who seems intent on sticking by him.
Today David Moyes takes centre stage as he marches his troops to South Wales for an early evening season opener against Swansea City, a fixture that looks and feels difficult for a number of reasons.
But what will be occupying Moyes’ thoughts throughout what promises to be a cracking spectacle? I can’t see how it can be anything other than Wayne Rooney.
Manchester United have released the official first team numbers ahead of this season. As expected the number 7 and number 9 shirts have been left vacant, as new signing Wilfried Zaha and Guillermo Varela have chosen number 29 and 30 respectively while, after returning from a season-long loan at QPR, Fabio has chosen number 22.
When the Premier League season finally kicks off tomorrow, whichever United XI will take the pitch against Swansea will have a very familiar look to the one that secured a record 20th league title last season.
United’s inactivity in the transfer window throughout the summer has been well documented as has the appalling lack of strategy the club seems to have employed since Ed Woodward replaced David Gill, with United missing out on Thiago Alcantara, before having various bids for Cesc Fabregas turned down.
I am writing this rant shortly after reading an article in the Daily Mail that states “English football’s biggest rivals Liverpool and Manchester United have made an unofficial pact to stop Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney leaving for Premier League rivals in a fight to curtail player power. Anfield principal owner John W Henry and United’s Glazer family, who already know each other well from their connections in American sport, have been in regular contact throughout the transfer sagas, which alongside Real Madrid’s efforts to sign Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, have dominated the summer. They have agreed to stand resolute and not cave in to Suarez, Rooney or their representatives, who have agitated for moves. Liverpool will not sell Suarez at any price to Arsenal, and Rooney can forget a move to Chelsea. By pursuing this strategy, both sets of owners believe it could mark a turning point in the steady rise in player power.”
What a laugh……