United v Chelsea: Rooney Could Be The Key
Stop Ronaldo and you stop Manchester United, many people say. Ricardo Carvalho is of the same opinion yet it`s a misguided one - and we`ll hopefully show that.
This is a common belief that without Ronaldo, United are struggling. Of course anyone who watches our games know that this is not true: the only problem we have when he`s got an off-day is that we do not put away our chances as Rooney and Tevez are both very erratic finishers.
But it`s no coincidence that Rooney usually enjoys the big games. Teams usually concentrate on Ronaldo, doubling up on him, thus allowing Rooney huge spaces to exploit - a mistake that was exposed most emphatically against Liverpool where Ronaldo was pretty subdued before Mascherano`s sending off but Rooney ran and passed them into the ground.
If Grant heeds his centre-back`s advice then we`ve got to look for Rooney again. He finally broke his Chelsea scoring duck at Stamford Bridge, was influential at Wigan and hopefully ten days of proper training got him back to full fitness. His direct running and vision should cause huge problems for Chelsea if they commit too much energy to stopping Ronaldo.
I think Rooney will be up for it. In last year`s subdued cup final he was our best player by some distance - it`s a shame the others were nowhere near his energy and enthusiasm. If his teammates live up to the job then Rooney will have a great game. Especially if Terry's movement, as has been suggested, will be restricted because of his arm.