Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughTesting Times for United... - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Testing Times for United... - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Testing Times for United…

A lot has been said about Manchester United and their “new” look this season, some going as far as to say they might just walk their way to the title with consummate ease, others believe more realistically, that such assumptions are of course a bit premature.

Although, United have faced a few teams that would either a) cause problem over recent years and b) be genuine challengers for the title/top four spots, and rather convincingly they have come out on top against said opponents. Credit where credits due, United have upped their game this season, with a goalkeeping gaffe aside, they have made an almost perfect start to the season.

Ask any United fan before the start if, after six games they will have put eight past Arsenal and three past Chelsea, then that would equate to a great start by all means, and that’s before you add the 5-0 mauling of Bolton and the impressive comfortable 3-0 against Tottenham.

It is understandable why some have already put their money on United retaining the title once more.

There are  key men throughout the squad, Jones, Nani, Young, Rafeal and Evra, yet when it comes down to it, throughout all of the recent games, there is one man that stands above the others as the key piece in United’s title campaign. Wayne Rooney.

After a so/so season, ending in fine form, Rooney has truly started this year with a bang, hitting the form that saw him net 30+ goals two years ago, on current form who’s to say he can’t bag more?

A trip to Stoke is always a tricky encounter. Teams find themselves engulfed in the roar/passion of the Stoke faithful at the Britannia, and Tony Pulis’ side don’t half know how to play a good game at times. This was always going to be an early test for United, and when Rooney was ruled out injured, their title credentials fell under the spotlight.

After a hard earned point, what can United take away from this testing fixture?

De Gea, a man who will be forever under the spotlight thanks to some earlier errors came through the game unscathed. An early hint of hesitation looked worrying but as the game grew he became more and more involved, making some outstanding saves to keep the scores level. Truly his best game in a United shirt yet, and a glimpse of the fine form that saw his big money move come to fruition.

Phil Jones is still an outstanding centre back, and it’s amazing to think he is only at the beginning of his career another impressive and assured performance, showing that he is going to be a big part of United’s future.

The major downside to take away from this game was that, despite the array of talent at their disposal, in Young, Berbatov, Nani, Owen, they still lacked that spark, that added bite needed to overturn the imposing Stoke City, the kind of spark that only Rooney seems capable of bringing to the fold.

With Rooney’s injury ruling him out for, as Fergie quoted “more than a week” United will surely face bigger ,much harder tests, but on this evidence, United still look more than capable of tackling any challenge that comes their way.

Dale Benton

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