It’s been another slow start to a Premiership campaign for Manchester United but among the few positives that can be taken out of the opening matches is the reformation of the Rooney – Van Persie partnership that was so successful in 2012-13.
Van Persie, in his first season at Old Trafford, went on to win the Golden Boot at the end of that campaign but can the Dutch international find his scoring form and challenge for the Premiership’s most prestigious individual award once again?
The need for goals
Manchester United remain among the outsiders with Matchbook to win the Premier League at the end of this campaign and Van Persie’s two contrasting seasons at Old Trafford highlight one of the issues at the club.
In 2012-13, 26 goals in 38 league games helped the Dutch international to claim the Golden Boot for the second year in succession while at the same time assisting United to yet another Premiership title. The 31 year old has yet to find the net in the current campaign but after a positive World Cup, his return to action against Sunderland at the weekend has to be good news for Louis Van Gaal’s team.
Despite scoring over 150 goals in his Manchester United career, Wayne Rooney has yet to win a Golden Boot but the England international has at least got off the mark in the 2014-15 campaign. David Moyes’ arrival at Old Trafford at the start of last season sparked a troubled campaign for a man who the boss knew well from their time together at Everton.
Rumours of a possible sale to Chelsea followed as the player found himself in unfamiliar positions but as a spearhead with Van Persie at the top of Van Gaal’s 3-5-2 formation, Rooney can finally rediscover his best scoring form.
Of the remaining strikers at the club, it looks like being another frustrating campaign for Mexican international Javier Hernandez. A record of 59 goals in 153 matches for United is impressive when you consider that the majority of his games have started from the subs bench but if the 26 year old isn’t sold in the next few days, the best he can hope for is another campaign covering for the main two strikers.
One man who has been told he can leave, at least according to reports, is Danny Welbeck. The 23 year old was a 62nd minute substitute in the draw with Sunderland but the expected arrival of Angel Di Maria could spell the end of his Old Trafford career.
The threat from midfield
Argentine international Di Maria is deployed mainly as a winger but his scoring record for Real Madrid is a respectable one. The 26 year old isn’t expected to head the top scorer charts but don’t forget that midfielders have threatened the Golden Boot in the past.
However, the main challenge for this particular award will come from Rooney and Van Persie and a return to form from both men will have the added benefit of sparking a more positive campaign for the team as a whole.