United Tally a Rooney-Free Victory
Sideshow drama took a vacation at Old Trafford yesterday.
No Rooney. No problem.
Manchester United took a measure of revenge against Everton -- who did the double on the Red Devils last season -- with a strong performance producing a 2-1 result that only gave a hint to the home side's dominance.
Well, when you're hot, you're hot.
Here's a historical tidbit. Back in the 19th century when many English clubs were formed, a subtle code developed where a city's Protestant side wore blue and the Catholic side wore red. This was exemplified in the northwestern metros, for example, by Liverpool's red to Everton's blue and Manchester United's red to City's blue. Fortunately, those barriers have long since come down in virtually all of the footballing world.
This season more than most, the Red Devils have needed all comers from all walks of elite strata. Wayne Rooney's temper has him on ice for a while longer, but Mata clearly covered for him quite brilliantly, setting up Ángel di Maria's marker amidst a strong overall game. Antonio Valencia entered the side for the injured Ander Herrera and got the job done in midfield.
Man of the Match, though, had to be United 'keeper David de Gea. He was zoned in all day:
Despite saving Leighton Baines' penalty -- the Blues' defender had been 14-for-14 prior -- that wasn't the highlight. Those would've been the two masterful second-half saves shown in the clip above.
Luis van Gaal is working his magic. For a team with such a disjointed beginning this season that still isn't firing on all cylinders, he's cobbled it together to the tune of fourth place in the Premiership.
So, Rooney or no, there's hope for United in the long season to come.