Wayne Rooney ended a 10-game barren streak in club colours by registering a hat-trick, as Louis van Gaal’s men strolled into Thursday’s draw for the Champions League group phase.
They advanced 7-1 on aggregate against Club Brugge, with United securing a 4-0 victory in the second leg of the playoff round.
The boring no-score draws must stop – three over t’weekend!! That’s not wot we want. Watford against Southampton was never going to be Match of the Day, but Saturday’s early game, despite vast hype and hyperbole between Man United and Newcastle ground out into a boring draw. Finally on Monday night Arsenal and lively Liverpool both failed to score. Verdict? Disappointing, lads – must try harder. Yes, I know, Pelle, Rooney, the Magpies and Hornets newbies, Benteke, Giroud etc were all busting a gut to grab a goal, but when you compare their matches to Sunday’s thrilling West Brom against Chelsea (2 – 3), and Everton v Man City (0 – 2) matches – well, there’s no comparison, is there? Then throw in an unbelievable West Ham 3 Bournemouth 4 result, plus Crystal Palace putting away must-try-harder-or-else Aston Villa 2 – 1, those results are more like it. Incidentally that win took the Eagles flying high in a cool fifth position – and they deserve it, things are happening at Selhurst Park. Which leads us nicely to a good question.
Is it too early in the new season to suggest the Prem’s ‘top six’, that prestigious private posse are under pressure? Probably, but there’s a few feisty fellows fancying ‘emselves, like Pardew’s Palace who are hammering on the door to be let in. Look at swinging Swansea, a modest Welsh club who came up five years ago and have steadily, but surely built themselves up to be a sound and feared outfit (ask Chelsea). The club is well-run with a brilliant young manager, the Swans ’ex-player Garry Monk. I’m not confident Leicester can last the pace, but they’re right up there currently unbeaten with seven points from a possible nine – and bangin ‘em in, that’s great! It would be nice if, leaving a Stone unrolled, Everton can finally re-establish themselves as contenders to the top table. Losing to mighty Man City on Sunday was no disgrace and the barnstorming Blues were given a good game. With, Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku, Everton look a sound outfit. Although the possibility still looms of (£40m) John Stones move to Chelsea.
Stoke were looking upwardly mobile, but have struggled to get going so far. T’would be nice if the newbies like Bournemouth, Norwich and Watford could do well, but mere survival in the Prem must be their objective. A propos to the Potters, Southampton are struggling to reproduce last year’s excellent season, but are the Saints’ Europa League adventures already taking their toll, with tedious travel to far-flung fiefdoms on a Thursday prior to a big weekend?

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