Manchester United vs. Manchester City: United doomed as Rooney lob comes too early
David Moyes may have enjoyed watching his team win by routine against West Ham, but in truth it was a Pyrrhic victory for the visitors at Upton Park. Now Manchester United must somehow rally to face Manchester City in midweek, burdened by the knowledge that their last remaining hope has been extinguished by the lustful boot of Wayne Rooney.
What a goal his opener at the weekend was: a thwacked, searching goblet of an artillery round that looped over the scrambling Adrián’s head and into the goal. It was so good, Steve Bruce had to call a break mid-press conference to indulge himself in its execution.
Yet though it may well go down as a strike for the ages, it arrived three days earlier than expected, like a missed delivery to a house you haven’t quite moved into yet, or a cavalry charge through the wrong battlefield before the right war has been able to break out.
Manchester United win – 3.15
Manchester City win – 2.10
Draw – 3.30
(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)
And now Rooney’s energies are spent; his special move wasted on a relatively meaningless fixture, leaving nothing left in the tank for taking into the City game. I mean, did you really think that shinned, upside down bicycle kick goal from a couple of years back was merely the product of good fortune, timing and a bit of creativity? Of course not.
Ryan Giggs, misunderstood by the football press to be sulking and scheming behind Moyes’ back, has actually been spending the last few weeks hidden away in a Carrington backroom, using his tantric yoga abilities to build up a reservoir of karma to fuel another derby day weapon for Wayne.
Unfortunately, just as when faced with the temptations of unattended, high-calorie pastry products, and red-lit establishments catering to a more mature demographic, Rooney’s lack of self-control saw that potential match-winner go off in his right sock as Big Sam & Co. looked on bemused. Now United will have to resort to trying to best their crosstown rivals at football, which will only end one way: defeat.
After all, City have now assimilated the Moyesian United model and bested it in every category. They have the better quality manager with spooky eyes and a haunted face, a fancy new way of spelling and saying “United” (Etihad), a more evil and successful brand of distant, foreign owner, and a slightly greater meaningless trophy win this year (Not sure the Community Shield even counts as a trophy – ed.). They’re also quite good at scoring goals and generally being more than just one-dimensional when going forward.
Without his supply of mojo, Rooney will be reduced to running around and playing well for his team, which we all know is an anathema to his best work in such high profile fixtures. There’s little chance that he will trudge about the field all sullen for 80 minutes before fluking the goal of the season, as the script requires during these encounters. No one ever won a derby, cup final or title decider with the necessary dramatic clout by being really good and consistent, and even if they did, who would want to watch that?
So, United fans, sadly it all looks to be over for the foreseeable. Rooney spurted away his load a stroke too early while well out of range of Manuel Pellegrini’s men, leaving his teammates high and dry, and ready for a beating. City can now travel to Old Trafford without fear of an unlikely bombshell cascading down from on high via the laces of the home side’s star forward.
Not even the planned blood sacrifice of Tom Cleverley to the old gods can help them now, though as a form of half-time entertainment that wouldn’t go amiss.
GREG JOHNSON (gregianjohnson) is a freelance football writer based in London and contributor to FourFourTwo, Squawka, Drowned In Sound and Mirror Football. He also co-edits The False Nine football blog and podcast.