1-0 to the Arsenal was a popular refrain by Gunners fans from the old George Graham era. It seems 1-0 to United might be this modern day adaptation of that chant. Despite starting the season in blistering goal scoring form, Man United has managed only one goal in each of their last 7 premier league fixtures. Much has been made of the possible psychological impact the 1-6 drubbing Man United received at the hands of Man City, but the signs of United’s offensive struggles were seen even before that horrendous night at Old Trafford.
While still putting in sparkling performances, Wayne Rooney is nonetheless in a goal scoring drought. It is now nine games since he last found the back of the net and recurring injuries to preferred partners Javier Chicharito Hernandez and Danny Welbeck has not helped the cause. Even the much maligned Dimitar Berbatov is now out injured. The once heralded Federico Macheda has so far failed to live up to Sir Alex Ferguson’s high expectations and Rooney will have to step up his game if he is to drag Man United through the next few fixtures.
Lack of creativity has been another reason for the Red Devils’ dip in form. Injuries to Tom Cleverley, Michael Carrick and Anderson had forced Rooney to play in the middle of the park as opposed to his more usual forward role. But with Carrick now back and Giggs looking match fit, Rooney will likely have one less responsibility on his shoulders. With even the likes of Darron Gibson managing to make the bench in the last few matches, one would have to think Fergie might be tempted to splash some cash for a creative central midfielder come January.
The upcoming Man United fixtures could well define the rest of the season at Old Trafford. A crucial game away to Basel might see them top their UEFA Champions League group, finish second, or crash out altogether. And with Man City playing Chelsea in the next round of Premier League fixtures, United cannot afford to drop points. Man United are still managing to pick up the points but with every match the goals seem harder and harder to come by.