If Man United hope to win the Premier League this season without mortgaging Old Trafford to sign an elite striker, they’ll need Wayne Rooney to prove he can do it himself as the lone-wolf forward. Well, he certainly gave the team a reason to feel confident with his performance against Barcelona on Saturday.
It took just eight minutes for Ashley Young to get into corner position and execute a perfect kick which Rooney almost effortlessly headed in past Marc-Andre ter Stegen to give Man United the 1-0 start – a lead they would not surrender for the remainder of the match.
With no Lionel Messi or Neymar, Luis Suarez was left to take all of the offensive responsibilities for Barcelona himself – a feat he proved incapable of. Two of Suarez’s shots on goal bounced off the goalpost, but that was as close as he came.
There was quite a scare for Man United later in the first half as Matteo Darmian went down with an injury at the 37′ mark. Man United boss Louis van Gaal might want to consider playing his stars for even fewer minutes in non-Premier League contests leading up to the start of the season – especially the ones he just invested an arm and a leg for.
In the second half, the entire starting XI was yanked and replaced with bench players. And the bench came absolutely to life.
A perfect pass by Tyler Blackett set up a blazing goal from Jesse Lingard at the 65′ mark.
After substitute goalkeeper Sam Johnstone conceded a goal to Rafinha on the 90′ mark to the Man United lead 2-1, Adnan Januzaj finished off the La Liga and Champions League champs with a goal of his own just moments later to seal the 3-1 win.