It was late. The strike was great. Wayne Rooney’s late goal salvaged a point, and forever etched his name in Manchester United history. Here are five things we learned from this encounter at the bet365 stadium.
- Wayne Rooney becomes Manchester United’s all-time record goal-scorer
Wayne Rooney scored an injury time equalizer as he cemented his place in United’s record books. It’s been a long time coming, but there’s no questioning his status as a United legend as he popped up with the all-important goal. Debates over whether or not he is a United legend surely must be thrown out the window now – no player has ever scored more goals for England and Manchester United than Wayne Rooney. To be doing it at the highest level since he was 16 years of age is something that not many players can do. Who would have thought that the 18 year old, who scored a hat-trick on his debut against Fenerbahce, would become United’s record goal-scorer?
Less than 24 hours after scoring the goal, I’ve read reports about whether he should leave United now that he has broken the record. Unbelievable. Why can’t people just appreciate the player he was and still is, because there won’t be many more players like him in the future.
- Manchester United fail to put their chances away – again
It’s not the first time this season that United have missed various opportunities to win the game comfortably. Stoke at home, Burnley, Arsenal, Everton and West Ham are all games United have drawn and scored a maximum of one goal in each. Four goals scored in those games above, but United should have scored many, many more and won every single of them. Indeed, the opposition’s keepers are having the games of their lives against United, but ultimately it comes down to poor finishing. United are far too reliant on Zlatan Ibrahimovic to come up with goals – the responsibility needs to be shared round the team, but it hasn’t really clicked for United in that department.
- What now for United?
Although it’s two points dropped, as Liverpool lost and Manchester City and Spurs drew, it can be seen as a point gained for the Manchester side. Indeed, two more points would have been ideal, but there’s still a long, long way to go in this season, with lots of twists and turns. Anyone can beat anyone, as proven by Swansea’s shock away win at Anfield yesterday. If United really have ambitions of making the top four, they need to capitalise when the teams above them drop points.
- Stoke are a very resilient team
Indeed, United should have buried both the games against Stoke this season, but credit must go to the team in red and white stripes for their resilient displays. Only two goals conceded against United this season speaks volumes. Despite a turbulent start to the season, they are an established Premier League side that attempt to play good football with some very talented players. The transformation from the Tony Pulis side to Mark Hughes’ side is huge. Although they didn’t have much of the ball and rarely threatened, they are a much better side and are sitting comfortable in the top half of the table.
- Another game, another poor refereeing performance
In terms of luck for offside goals, United have got their fair share recently. However, the performances from the referees, not just in United’s games, but in general, has been absolutely appalling. It seems that every week there is another major talking point due to a referee’s incompetence. It doesn’t seem that much is being done about it either – the same referees are being allowed to officiate matches week in week out. That foul on Marcus Rashford yesterday that wasn’t given by Mark Clattenberg sums it up. He was standing right in front of it and refused to even consider giving it. The Kyle Walker push on Raheem Sterling a few hours later was another awful decision. The Football Association have to do something about it as it cannot continue to overshadow games and cost teams vital points.