Manchester United’s 3-2 win over Manchester City is a possible turning point in the title race. While it sounds premature to suggest the season is over after only one-third of it having passed, United breaking City’s unbeaten league home record of 37 games is a significant show from the red half of Manchester that as the matter stands, they are now in pole position in the title race.
Naysayers would shout that City overhauled a eight-point lead last season, so why couldn’t they do it this season?
The answer to that question is two-fold: Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.
While Van Persie has more than justified his 24 million pound asking price from Arsenal, banging in goal after goal in this very attacking United team, it is Rooney who is the more interesting case.
He didn’t start the season as quickly as he would like, perhaps a hangover from his muddled exploits in the 2012 European Championships. And with Van Persie stealing his proverbial thunder, Rooney has not had as much expectation heaped on him as in previous years when he was United’s lone world class attacking player following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Do not misunderstand me. The likes of Ashley Young, Michael Carrick, Nani (when on song), and Antonio Valencia are all fine pieces of the jigsaw, but it is in Rooney that England every two years, and United every year, have put its championship hopes and dreams.
Looking sharper and hungrier, his two goals against Reading and brace in the Manchester derby indicate that as the season reaches its manic Christmas period, United’s leading English player is hitting his stride.
For the other sides in the Premiership, that is very bad news.