If he is going to reach his target, Wayne Rooney’s creativity may be vital.
Last season, in case you missed it, Robin van Persie scored 37 goals for Arsenal in all competitions. His move to Manchester United in the summer meant he was no longer the only top class striker at his club, but his form at the start of the season suggest that a little competition isn’t going to jeopardise his attempts to overhaul last year’s goals total.
There had been questions over how Rooney would link with van Persie, having been the leading man for United last season. However Rooney’s all round talents mean he is at least as effective playing just behind a strike partner as he is when playing in that role himself.
He has formed superb partnerships with the likes of Hernandez, Ronaldo and Tevez in past seasons at United, and his ability to create chances from a deeper position was underlined by the two assists he picked up at Newcastle.
With Rooney and Kagawa behind him, and Nani, Valencia and Young providing balls from the flanks, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him break the 30 goal mark in the Premier League, and perhaps even surpassing 40 in all competitions.
If United decide to keep the ultra-attacking line-up they sent out at Newcastle, and winning 3-0 away at St. James should make them feel reasonably comfortable with the formation, then van Persie will get plenty of chances.
The last man to get thirty league goals for Manchester United was Cristiano Ronaldo, who did it in a fluid front three with Tevez and Rooney rotating positions with him. Rooney was an excellent creative force that year, picking up 14 assists.
This year his role may be provider as much as goal scorer, whilst van Persie will largely stay as the spearhead on one of the most vaunted attacks in world football. With all that creativity behind him added to his clinical finishing, he could well smash his total from last season, provided, of course, he manages to stay fit.
image: © wonker