Manchester United running out of ideas with Wayne Rooney up top

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Football News

Despite remaining undefeated after three games, the alarm bells are ringing within Old Trafford.

Three clean sheets is impressive and, in a longer-than-expected transitional period, you could argue that forming a firm foundation at the back is exactly where you should start. But this is Manchester United we're talking about. Drawing a blank at home against an average Newcastle side isn't good enough.


As over 75,000 paying punters watched on, it was painfully obvious to all that United are struggling. Their lack of cutting edge is staggering, and something that the United fans are not used to.


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But it wasn't for the lack of trying; Van Gaal's men put heavy pressure on the Newcastle goal, registering 20 shots in a frustrating 90 minutes. Indeed, inside the first quarter of the game, the hosts managed four attempts on target - more than in the entire previous 180 minutes of Premier League action.

Wayne Rooney is without a goal for his club since April 4, but he is not solely to blame. There is a clear lack of pace around him and he is desperate for some decent service.

Dynamic Duos

You can't help but think back to some of the classic striking partnerships that United managed to mould, particularly under the beady eyes of Sir Alex Ferguson. Rooney is a world-class striker but he can't do it on his own and Van Gaal surely must be looking out for a striker who can share the pressure with the England-man.

The history of potent partnerships at Old Trafford goes back decades, to a time when George Best was either banging them in himself or laying them on a plate for the ultimate predator, Denis Law. But you don't have to go back that far for proof of what United really need.

Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke were a lethal front-pair. And with Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ready to come on from an incredibly talented bench, you could argue that these four alone set the standard.

You then look at the Rooney/Cristiano Ronaldo partnership...would they have drawn a blank at home to Newcastle? I very much doubt it.

Ruud van Nistelrooy meanwhile showed no mercy and Rooney was a perfect partner for him. Rooney again formed an extremely productive partnership with Carlos Tevez. More recently, United's last title win saw Rooney tear it up with Robin van Persie by his side.

Since then, there has been no consistency up top for United and this needs to change if they are to seriously challenge for the title.


Seven points from the first three games is a decent return, but the manager is already feeling the pressure.

Two goals - one of which was an own goal - in 270 minutes of football is poor by anyone's standards. Van Gaal has made several signings and, so far, they look to be pretty good. But he is yet to buy an out-and-out striker and it's only then that we'll see how good the other signings could be.

After the match, Van Gaal admitted that he was disappointed with the choices made in the opposition half: "We can be satisfied with the performance but not with the result - we were unlucky. We did not make the right choices in the final third but we played fantastic as a team. I like these kind of games when we work like this, but not this result."

Well, "played fantastic" is a bit of a stretch; I'm sure he would admit privately that this comment was purely to keep the peace within a frustrated dressing-room.

Fresh face

Memphis Depay played very well in their mid-week Champions League qualifier, bagging a brace and looking hungry throughout. Perhaps Van Gaal will try playing him alongside Rooney, in an attempt to form yet another classic partnership.

But the United fans won't be convinced of their title credentials unless the manager bags a world-class striker, one that can be the latest in a long line of perfect sidekicks for their talisman.

United fans, who needs to be partnered with Rooney for the team to enjoy ultimate success? Let us know your opinions in the comments box below.

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Newcastle United
Louis van Gaal
Premier League
Manchester United

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