Cristiano Ronaldo News

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Season So Far: Part 1

27/12/2006 08:52

United's Boxing Day victory over Wigan heralded the beginning of the second half of the 2006/07 season, a campaign already littered with dizzying highs and mercifully few lows. Here, looks back over the highlights of the season so far...

Off to a flier…
Sir Alex demanded a solid start. The message was heard loud and clear – and then some. A fired-up United hit the ground at a sprinter’s pace, with Fulham on the wrong end of a nap hand. Craven Cottage old boy Louis Saha opened the scoring on seven minutes, Ian Pearce turned into his own net on 16, Wayne Rooney made it three a minute later. Man-of-the-match Cristiano Ronaldo rounded off a blistering opening 20 minutes by volleying a fourth and Rooney struck again in the second half for an utterly convincing 5-1 win. “They were devastating at times and, to be fair to our lads, we couldn't get anywhere near them,” admitted a deflated Chris Coleman.

The Old Guard
Roon and Ron’s exuberance of youth may grab the headlines, but old heads are equally central to the Reds’ success. Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have all excelled and remain the trusty, seemingly ageless rudder on Sir Alex 's ship. Giggs recently surpassed Bill Foulkes as United’s second-highest appearance maker and was Barclays’ Player of the Month for August. His honour was matched in September by Scholes: fully fit after last season’s serious eye injury, he remains an industrious, lock-picker extraordinaire. Neville remains as reliable as the tides at right-back, despite carrying a persistent calf injury. The true against-all-odds story, however, has been provided by Solskjaer. Fresh from a full pre-season campaign, the Norwegian striker scored his first senior goal since September 2004 at Charlton, and then bagged six further strikes – including winners against Celtic and Newcastle. With 25 Premiership winners’ medals between them, this experienced quartet should prove absolutely vital with another title run-in looming.

Feel the force
Strikers thrive on confidence. In form, everything they hit turns to goals. Out of luck, they struggle to hit the proverbial barn door. After 11 games and two goals, Wayne Rooney’s was the name on every tuppeny-ha’ppeny pundit’s lips and gun-jumpers were tipping his massive potential to go unfulfilled. Oh ye of little faith. Rooney, who had been showing signs of a return to form for some weeks, obliterated Bolton’s traditionally solid crew with a sumptuous hat-trick in a riot at the Reebok. A first-time left footed volley, a delightful curler from 20 yards and an emphatic last-minute strike answered the critics, and sealed a first hat-trick since the debut treble against Fenerbahce. As strike partner Louis Saha put it: “People who question Wayne Rooney’s ability do not know anything about football.”


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