It's perplexing for United fans. Last summer, when United bought Robin van Persie from Arsenal, fans were salivating at the prospect of the Rooney-Van Persie partnership. The two top scorers of the last previous season were going to be part of an already fearsome strike force. With Chicharito, Berbatov, and Welbeck already in the squad, it was bound to be a high scoring season for Manchester United.
United ravaged opposition scoring goals aplenty (although they conceded a fair amount too). There was a point in the season at which everyone was convinced that United would break both the points and goals record of the Premier League.
Unfortunately, as they won the League almost a month before it officially ended, United took their foot off the gas. Still, it was a stellar season. One problem, however, was that nobody could honestly call the Rooney-Van Persie partnership a definite success.
Sure, Rooney had bagged a few goals while his supposed partner in crime ravaged the Premier League for the second season in a row, but generally, only one of the two played. The circumstances behind this are owed to injury above all else. Rooney wasn't fit for a lot of last season and as a result didn't play a much as he would have liked. Still, the curious trend seems to have continued into this season as well.
Van Persie started the season firing on all cylinders. He scored two against Wigan in the Community Shield and bagged a couple more in United's rout of Swansea. He also got one against Leverkusen. Since then however, radio silence.
Van Persie has looked a little out of form and, would you believe it, Wayne has stepped into the spotlight. Rooney seems be on fire of late, ever since his man of the match performance against Chelsea. At times, he seems to be singlehandedly carrying the team. But again, now one is scoring but the other isn't.
Could it be that Rooney and Van Persie just aren't a good partnership? I'm starting to believe that they may never work together. This season, the only game in which they both scored was against Leverkusen and more than nine games have already passed.
Van Persie and Rooney are both special - neither have defined roles in the team. They both tend to roam the area between the opposition's midfield and defense in search of a chance. On the margin, RVP might be the better striker, but Rooney compensates with his astounding play-making ability.
But on closer analysis, their disharmony might stem from the similarity of their playing styles. Either one or the other is going to have to adapt in order for them both to perform to the best of their ability. Against Sunderland, as a team they were unacceptable. One chance aside, Rooney and RVP didn't seem to click.
A stellar performance from the likes of Januzaj isn't always going to save the day, so David Moyes needs to find a way to fit both superstars into the team. If he can't, as painful as it is, one will have to go.
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