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Rooney magic rekindles love affair

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Phil McNulty | 19:01 UK time, Saturday, 12 February 2011

Old Trafford

Sir Alex Ferguson's long memory could not recall a better goal at Old Trafford. Wayne Rooney does not go back as far but had no hesitation in declaring it the finest of his career.

They were debating the moment 78 minutes into the Manchester derby when Rooney cast aside a season of relative under-achievement and occasional animosity with a strike that had a fitting home in the self-styled "Theatre Of Dreams".

Rooney's overhead kick that gave Manchester United a 2-1 victory over neighbours Manchester City was not simply confirmation that he remains England's most natural, instinctive talent. In the context of the Premier League title race it may prove priceless.

Ferguson and Rooney were still on a high from the manner of that decisive goal, but it was a piece of individual brilliance that deserved every word of the post-match hyperbole.

David Silva's fortuitous equaliser had given City renewed momentum after Nani put United ahead against the run of play just before half-time. Roberto Mancini's side had the scent of only their second win in 27 Premier League visits to Old Trafford in their nostrils.

Wayne Rooney

Rooney's goal keeps Manchester United four points ahead of Arsenal - photo: Getty.

At least they did until Rooney did something that every United fan who witnessed it will recall forever, every neutral who was party to it will treasure and even City's supporters may secretly admire once the pain it inflicted subsides.

With 12 minutes left, Nani's speculative right-wing cross took a crucial glance off Pablo Zabaleta. The touch wrong-footed the magnificent Vincent Kompany just slightly to provoke a stumble and with Micah Richards already stooping instinctively to complete a clearing header Rooney struck.

Readjusting his position to compensate for a cross that was high and behind him, Rooney performed a triumph of touch, technique and athleticism to flash a right-footed bicycle kick high and wide of motionless and startled City keeper Joe Hart. It is a story that deserves telling again in full because it will be repeated for years whenever Manchester derbies are discussed.

Manchester United's Academy Director Brian McClair craned his neck to view monitors in the press box before a grimace and a shake of the head that demonstrated almost disbelief as well as admiration.

There was a sub-text to Old Trafford's ecstatic celebrations. Rooney's goal won a derby and straightened United's course towards another Premier League title, effectively killing off City's hopes of claiming the crown at the same time.

It proved once again, in this unpredictable season, that United still have the knack of champions that ensures they score and win games at just the right time, even when opponents match them, as City did and more besides here.

And for Rooney, it was the moment he once again felt the unconditional love of Old Trafford after the relationship was strained in the aftermath of his ham-fisted declarations of discontent earlier this season.

If any wounds or ill-feeling remained from those traumatic few days when Rooney looked on his way out of Old Trafford, perhaps even for Manchester City, the healing process was complete in the time it took him to take off and apply his acrobatics to Nani's cross.

He almost made it sound like the final olive branch to United's fans later - ironically in a game where he was policed and shackled almost all the way by Kompany until that single, defining contribution.

Rooney, who claimed he has not scored a goal in such spectacular style since his childhood days at Liverpool's De La Salle School, told BBC Sport: "As soon as I hit it, I knew it was in and it's definitely the best goal I've scored. It was a special feeling. The fans deserve that from me because I've not had the best of seasons.

"I know how big these games are in Manchester so I hope they enjoyed that."
Rooney announced himself to the world as a 16-year-old with a famous wonder goal for Everton against Arsenal in 2002. On Saturday night he had a goal to sit comfortably alongside it.

Manchester United forward Nani

Nani has scored nine Premier League goals this season - photo: PA.

For those who continue to doubt Rooney's ability, and some of his efforts this season have given them plenty to go at, this was a reaffirmation of his importance to United. If this goal returns all the lost reserves of confidence their title aspirations will be hugely enhanced.

Ferguson relished maintaining United's four-point lead over Arsenal but could not disguise his admiration for Rooney's goal, saying: "It was stunning. Nani's goal was an unbelievable goal, but nobody in their right sense will even talk about it. All the talk will be about that winning goal - unbelievable.

"He hit a volley against Newcastle some years ago and it was that ferocity. We've had some fantastic goals here but in terms of execution, you'll never see that."

Rooney's frustration looked on the point of boiling over as his performance deteriorated - until the point when natural instincts kicked in and he scored the goal which had Ferguson lavishing such praise upon him and Old Trafford buzzing with excitement long after the final whistle.

Slipping under the radar because of Rooney's goal was a performance that will also have had Ferguson purring with satisfaction, namely from young defender Chris Smalling as he slotted in superbly alongside Nemanja Vidic, showing composure and solidity in such a testing environment.

For City and Mancini there was the familiar frustration of pushing United hard, in fact dominating them for the first 30 minutes, only to end up beaten.

He said: "When a fantastic player like Rooney scores a goal like this, you can only clap" - although there was no sign of the Italian, his players or City's fans joining in the applause and understandably so.

"It is like my first two years in Milan," added the former Inter Milan coach. "Every time we played AC Milan we didn't deserve to lose, every time we did. For the same thing to happen again is incredible. But Manchester United have such a strong mentality. Even when they don't deserve to win the game, sometimes they do."

In that sentence he summed up United's season and why they remain in pole position to land a record 19th title.

As so often with City, there was much to admire but also a sense of wanting something more from a talented squad assembled at such vast expense. Mancini is right to underscore their progress - but they came up just short again.

There might have been a different tale to tell had Silva, who gave a performance of real purity in the first half, scored with a simple early chance but with Carlos Tevez quiet City simply did not work Edwin van der Sar enough.

Yaya Toure and Kompany also excelled, but once again they left Old Trafford playing the traditional role of gallant losers despite a performance of merit.

Mancini stopped short of conceding the title later - but only just. City must now focus on a top-four finish as their title hopes have surely gone.

After the reverse at Wolves, or as Ferguson called it "a pathetic crash", United have regained lost momentum. And they did it courtesy of a goal to treasure. If United now go on to win the Premier League, then we can be fairly certain what image will be used to illustrate the pivotal point in the campaign.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Great victory for Man U. However, I cannot understand the tactics of Mancini. We had Smailing in the defence ( new to big games)and he did not involve Dzeko in starting line up. £ 27 million striker on the bench. Anyways one thing is for sure " Manchester is red". Blue moon was drowned by Rooney. Go on reds.

  • Comment number 2.

    This will have English football commentators purring about how brilliant Wayne Rooney is. Lets face facts, he has had a couple of brilliant seasons at club level but nothing much more than that. He is an overrated player with a big ego due to his wage packet, which might I add was... allowed by ManU. They allowed a player to become bigger than the club and will pay the price.

  • Comment number 3.

    " Rooney performed a triumph of touch, technique and athleticism."

    Makes you wonder if Phil watches these games, but he shinned it. It looks good, and me must be agile to pull it off. But I don't think many players pratice touch and technique on their shin.

    Essien's goal against Barca, while not comparable, looked nice, but he got lucky and shinned it.

    May win goal of the season due to it's importance and improvisation from Rooney, combined with the spectacular. But the hit by Bale earlier in the season is a triumph of touch and technique. (A very very sweet hit)

  • Comment number 4.

    This morning, I was surprised with Mancini's approach to the game in terms of "mind games". My initial thought was he competes with Kidd in naivety - I still remember the silly statement "the title is United's to lose", about a month ago.

    City find themselves only 4 points ahead of Spurs with a game more played. They play Spurs at their home, so they can't say they're safe as a top four team yet. A repeat of last season with Spurs could leave them in Europa Cup.

    Title? What title?

  • Comment number 5.

    It was an outstanding goal. Though other than that he was kept pretty quiet by Kompany who was one of the best players on the pitch, along with Smalling. United looked dangerous when Nani had it but other than that not so much. Man City looked a lot better with Tevez coming from deep.

  • Comment number 6.

    Where was Dennis Irwin? Weird.

  • Comment number 7.

    I sincerely believe City will eventually win the title; wheteher Mancini is the right man or simply buying up every talented player in the world is the way to do it or not, their buying power will eventually allow them to build an unstoppable team (maybe when Fergie retires!). But for now United just have that something that wins them games. Frustrating for all us non-United fans, but you have to admire it.

    Wayne Rooney had a very average game, and for a player who last year was being touted as the 3rd-best in the world (behind Ronaldo and Messi) he has had a very poor season. But that goal was so sublime it will write of all that, sheer control, athleticism and skill. Let's hope he can rediscover some form in an England shirt aswell.

    Just beat's Bale's goal for goal of the season for me ;)

  • Comment number 8.

    Great goal but dont overreact here, Manu were playing like Italians everything on the break. City dominated didnt create enough but still deserved at least a point. Nani wasnt that great he just got a lot of space because City were on the attack all the time leaving space at the back.. Unbelievable that Manu are still top, havent seen them play brilliant football this season....

  • Comment number 9.

    Despite City putting in one of their best performances at Old Trafford, the two United goal's were both out of the 'top drawer', Rooney's in particular. That kind of decisive finishing carries the hallmark of Champions. Smalling was outstanding for United and restricted Tevez's influence considerably. Kompany was impressive for City, also Silva, although he missed their best chance early on. For United there were signs that these Derby games are getting tougher now, but in still being able to finish with their 'noses in front' in a tight game like this they are still the team to beat! ....and there's still Ju-sung Park and Valencia to come back yet!

  • Comment number 10.

    #2: Overrated players score more than 30 goals a season.

    Thanks for your great contribution.

    #3: I love you football experts saying how it was an accident or lucky when loads of ex-players and managers are saying its amazing.

    But sure, lets take what you say... :)

  • Comment number 11.

    Great win for Man U. Put the smile back on the face of terrific Wayne Rooney.

  • Comment number 12.

    Man city were atrocious and were there for the taking. Man utd were the only team that dominated for long periods, city just tried a quick counter attack every now and again but man utd when they had the ball attacked with purpose and desire hence why city barely created anything.

  • Comment number 13.

    It was a great goal, but this really is too much. I believe it is his 4th of the season, hardly something to crow about. I am sick and tired of this media love-in with Rooney. Just let him be. Although he scored a fantastic goal, he contributed little else and in my opinion he has scored better in his career. And this is not sour grapes, I am an Arsenal fan but love to watch players playing at the top of the game - I really miss watching players such as Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso, and Rooney, when on-song.
    Phil - why not a blog about how Arsenal bounced back from that confidence-crushing draw at Newcastle. Or the fact Wolves barely put up resistance today on this loss that has left them firmly rooted to the foot of the table? Perhaps the burgeoning talent of Adam Hammill, who was one of few Wolves playersa who were magnificent today. And what of Robin van Persie, the Dutchman who has scored more Premier League goals than anyone else in 2011. Don't fancy that? No? Didn't think so.

  • Comment number 14.

    When Man City scored I thought they were going on to win it. They've got some big players with strong physique (such as Kompany, Yaya Toure and Richards) who were bossing the game. United were poor going forward and looked tired. There was only one way United were going to break City down, and that was from a moment of brilliance from Rooney.
    Credit to Sir Alex as well for having the courage to drop Berbatov from the starting line-up. We knew he had no chance if we were to play 4-4-2. However, I feel sorry for Dimitar Berbatov. Premier League's top goalscorer and this was the second time Fergie benched him in a big game (first was Arsenal @ OT back in December).
    Good on you to mention Smalling, who I also thought was outstanding at the back, he has already proved that he is ahead of Johnny Evans in the pecking order should Rio Ferdinand be out with injury.
    Also, as much as Rooney will be grabbing the headlines tonight, I would just like to praise the ever improving Nani. The man has transformed into a World Class player within a year. Brilliant performance, yet again a goal and an assist.

  • Comment number 15.

    "Rooney, who claimed he has not scored a goal since his childhood days at Liverpool's De La Salle School"

    Come on Phil.

  • Comment number 16.

    " Rooney performed a triumph of touch, technique and athleticism."

    Makes you wonder if Phil watches these games, but he shinned it. It looks good, and me must be agile to pull it off. But I don't think many players pratice touch and technique on their shin.

    Essien's goal against Barca, while not comparable, looked nice, but he got lucky and shinned it.

    May win goal of the season due to it's importance and improvisation from Rooney, combined with the spectacular. But the hit by Bale earlier in the season is a triumph of touch and technique. (A very very sweet hit)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Is this guy for real?

  • Comment number 17.

    im a Utd fan, but to have an entire article on Rooney is ridiculous. He had a very poor game except from one strike of the ball. Nani scored 1 and assisted 1. Nani was the star today.

  • Comment number 18.

    cross from nani was deflected and it came off his shin

    lucky goal but they all count

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm really hoping that's the goal that will win us (Red Devils) the 19th premier league title. STUNNING. Of course its the goal of the season. No one will top that. Even though Wayne played like crap, I cant stop replaying it!

  • Comment number 20.

    To Rorb...shinned it? I suspect a wind-up.

    It was a magical moment and I am afraid I refuse to agree with anyone who downgrades this wonderful piece of skill. How many of those preparing to play down Rooney's goal would be heaping praise on Lionel Messi had he done exactly the same thing?

  • Comment number 21.

    Yes, go on, sing the praises of the spoilt over paid brat. One goal and the flawed individual is forgiven, it's sick.
    Keep eulogising about SAF, United, Neville etc. because you can't afford to offend them can you CHIEF football writer.
    I would love it if they end up with nothing, just love it. ..........Yes, I sound like Keegan
    I know they will win the PL................ but the standard of English football diminishes by the week.

  • Comment number 22.

    I am sick of this. He tracked the ball and launched an overhead kick. For the money he is on I wouldn't expect anything less. Yeah it was a nice goal, it looks great, he was unmarked. The truth of it is the defending was shoddy. Giggs Nani, even dare I say it, O Shea had a stormer of a game, so too did Vidic and Smalling and Roo did very little till his goal, and very little after it. In a game that is 11 a side, it's about time we stopped hearing about how one strike from one player did it all. Note Evans was the wrong choice centre back against Wolves last weekend, and Note Arsenal tore them apart. United have to play Chelsea twice, this season is far from over.

  • Comment number 23.

    Great, everyone will be banging on about whow good that is and how Rooney is answering his critics but how is he scoring Goals for Man Utd but not looking bothered for England?
    Time for Capello to drop him, Rooney's more bothered about Club Football.

  • Comment number 24.

    Those saying it was lucky don't know what they're talking about. It wasn't at the right height to be hit with his foot. The point was to make sure the leg was straight so when the ball came into contact it would head towards the left corner, that's what he did. Whether it came off his shin is irrelevant.

    Superb goal.

  • Comment number 25.

    22. At 10:54pm on 12 Feb 2011, collie21 wrote:

    " ... Note Evans was the wrong choice centre back against Wolves last weekend, and Note Arsenal tore them apart... "

    Note that Evans was in the squad last week because Smalling had back problems in training. Rio got injured in the warm up, so Evans played.

  • Comment number 26.

    Has no-one considered it may be a fluke? Nobody could score a goal like that without a bit of luck

  • Comment number 27.

    "Rooney, who claimed he has not scored a goal since his childhood days at Liverpool's De La Salle School"

    Love that sentence, Phil! :)

    Great goal, but slightly over the top to spend half a blog on it! Watched the match on telly and I thought Nani was way more impressive.

    As a young and talented centre back playing for United, I would have thought Smalling would get more of a mention. Thought he did really well today!

    Anyway, Rooney's hardly done anything this season, scores a wonder (fluke) goal (he said himself that 9 out of 10 times the ball wouldn't even hit the target) and he gets almost an entire blog written about him. Definitely over the top Phil, and i'm not one for critisising your blogs and knowledge.

  • Comment number 28.

    and ashley young thinks he could take the place of this genius in the england team!

    I think it's the best goal ever in the premier league and i imagine you'll struggle to find many better in the history of english football.

    It's not just the outstanding technique that you have to stand & admire, but with it being against bitter rivals,in the context of the game AND of the title race this is the greatest premier league goal.

    Wayne Rooney is back, and that spells trouble for the chasing pack.

  • Comment number 29.

    "and ashley young thinks he could take the place of this genius in the england team!"

    you obviously didn't see the match against Denmark then, did you? Or, say, Rooney's last 15 games for England?!

  • Comment number 30.

    Rooney's goal was amazing, I had to applaud that goal..But he had a poor game, up until he scored the wonder goal. For me Nani deserves to get a metion for his contrubition for not just today (1 goal and 1 assist) but the whole season so far!

  • Comment number 31.

    i cannot believe people are calling it a fluke? !

    How is it a fluke, 9 times out of 10 the ball may go over the bar but the objective is always the find the back of the net.

    World class.

  • Comment number 32.

    yes i did watch englands game against denmark.

    Rooneys form for england may have been poor but apart from ashley coles who's hasnt? We should have gone with rooney up front on his own in the world cup,afterall he had just scored 40 goals for man united in the previous season in that role.... but thats another story.

    Rooney is a world class player.We don't have many of them. Ashley Young certainly isn't.

  • Comment number 33.

    i have not read all the posts so i'm not sure if this cooment has already been mentioned. but...

    no doubt about it rooney's goal was brilliant.
    it still is not a patch on trevor sinclair's effort way back in 1997

    oh yes and he is english aswell.

  • Comment number 34.

    another amazing goal robbie, i think rooneys edges it though because of the context of the match/league/rivalry.thats my opinion anyway

  • Comment number 35.

    Gooner here :

    Once again man u get through 90+ mins of erm football? without undue
    influence/s from the officials things are looking up, thats three on the
    trot points deserved.

    " wonder goal " ? moving on swiftly more a lucky strike but it won the match.

    as for City?????????? what a dire team! and what a pretty useless boring manager to boot, af was correct when he deemed them " noisy neighbours "

    Talk about defensive! and with all that money spent and so called talent on display it was a dire match to watch. I dont think mancini will be there after this season and rightly so, his tactics and understanding of the game in england like most other italians is poor.

    Boreing game to sit through.

    Up the Gunners enough said ( smiles )

  • Comment number 36.

    Come on everyone! Why can't people just accept it was an exceptional goal and stop being all bitter about it?! I sometimes wonder where people's love of football has gone; if you can't enjoy that goal then you shouldn't be watching football at all.
    Yes of course there was a bit of luck in the goal but that doesn't mean it wasn't spectacular; all the best goals need a bit of luck. Off form? Yes. Over paid? Most probably. But this doesn't change the fact the goal was fantastic and that Rooney is a world class player.
    The idea of football is to entertain people, not make them bitter. If you fit into the latter category then maybe you should try a different sport.

  • Comment number 37.

    Im baffled as to how people can say rooneys goal was a "fluke" or lucky".

    I support peterborough united and even if a milton keynes dons player did that i'd be waxing lyrical about it.

    Get your anti man utd rose tinted glasses off and admire the greatest goal in premier league history.

  • Comment number 38.

    artillery_john-TW14.... Joan at the weekend.....Phil - why not a blog about how Arsenal bounced back from that confidence-crushing draw at Newcastle. Or the fact Wolves barely put up resistance today on this loss that has left them firmly rooted to the foot of the table? Perhaps the burgeoning talent of Adam Hammill, who was one of few Wolves playersa who were magnificent today. And what of Robin van Persie, the Dutchman who has scored more Premier League goals than anyone else in 2011. Don't fancy that? No? Didn't think so.


    If you paid any attention to the BBC sport page today you will have realised that Phil was at Old Trafford today! You expect him to blog on a player or game he hasn't even witnessed?! Also the Manchester derby, being a top of the table clash was always going to be the biggest game of the day. Lay off suspicion is your upset at the attention Rooney and united are receiving today. Im sure mid week after the Arsenal Barcelona game you will get your wish and be able to read a blog about Arsenal.

  • Comment number 39.

    Rooney. Good goal. Over-reaction as usual. He works quite hard but generally is below form. Prima donna who held the club to ransom. Now that the is 'wonder boy' once again why not cash in? Pity the media is so sycophantic in approach.

  • Comment number 40.

    i echo the comments made by jameseynon.

    If you can't enjoy that goal then you really are watching the wrong sport.

  • Comment number 41.

    39. At 11:37pm on 12 Feb 2011, mpwapwaman wrote:


    Spot on! Well said etc etc.

  • Comment number 42.

    Nice blog phil.. One point I would like to make is the maturity Rooney showed in this game. He was living off scraps to an extent, and a lot of the time second best to the man marking of Kompany. He was very much an isolated, frustrated figure in City's half.. a few years ago we might have seen the red mist descending.. a rash challenge.. a volley of abuse at officials. Today we saw none of that.. in fact he responded in the perfect manner pulling out a top drawer goal in intense circumstances. It more than made up for his below par performance. I genuinely dont remember him having a clear cut chance in the game, but he pulled a rabbit out of the hat with his only sniff when his team needed it most.

    Rooney catches a lot of stick for his England performances.. which is fair enough. The same guys who slate him are the ones that have placed a nations hopes on his shoulders since he was 18. They are also the same ones who do nothing but abuse him week in and week out. The fact remains Rooney (on form), A.Cole and Gerrard are the only World Class players England has to offer. While I certainly dont admire Rooney as a person.. I believe the time has come for him to do all his talking on the pitch and perhaps fulfil his potential as one of the Worlds greatest. If he can find the consistency of last season and throw in moments like that at crucial times.. who's to say he cant be?

  • Comment number 43.

    to everyone saying it was a fluke, nine times out ten it wouldn't go in, is such a ridiculous argument.

    nine times out of ten maradona would have been stopped by the 3rd England player on his 86 slalom.

    nine times out of ten zidane would have spooned that left-foot volley into the crowd.

    what kind of an argument is that to say it wasnt a great goal?
    thats the whole point of great goals - they only come around once in a while and that one time when the player connects perfectly with the ball is what amazing football moments are all about.
    amazing goal. having said that its not the best premier league goal ever. its not even rooneys best goal. the volley against newcastle was even more special. another one that would have missed nine times out of ten.

  • Comment number 44.

    adziano i agree.

    Last season proved that wayne rooney is one of the best footballers on the planet . A poor world cup from wayne (and england) and a few personal problems (admittedly brought on by himself) has seen a downturn in form. I think wayne is at his best when he's playing up front on his own.

    He's starting to get that form back from last season. The chasing pack must be terrified!!

  • Comment number 45.

    " The chasing pack must be terrified!! "

    Utter tosh.

  • Comment number 46.

    duncan, rooney and sir alex disagree with you regarding rooneys best goal ;-)

  • Comment number 47.

    Generally I don't fall back on comments about bitterness, but today bitter is the proper word. It's true that Rooney hasn't had much to crow about this season, but how can anybody take anything away from a derby-winning strike like that. A moment of pure brilliance. Hope there are a few more this season.

    It looks like competition among the strikers from here on out. Let the goals rain!

  • Comment number 48.

    charade, take your clubs rose tinted specs off. Had one of your own players scored that goal you'd be claiming it was the best goal you'd ever seen.

    Your a very bitter person.

  • Comment number 49.

    45. At 11:55pm on 12 Feb 2011, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:

    " The chasing pack must be terrified!! "

    Utter tosh.


    What a beautifully structured, well argued presentation of facts to back up an opinion !

  • Comment number 50.

    Can anybody tell me if there is a red tinge to the moon in Manchester tonight?

  • Comment number 51.

    Livingforfootball the only people who could take anything away from wayne rooneys goal today would be liverpool,man city,arsenal or chelsea fans and even then it would be a childish few.

  • Comment number 52.

    49. At 00:03am on 13 Feb 2011, eccles45 wrote:


    The " facts " are Arsenal sit second and certainly are not
    " terrified "

  • Comment number 53.

    It was a very good goal, don't get me wrong, but don't you think it's being blown a little out of proportion? Phil's talking about it as if it should be mentioned in the same breath as the great goals of Maradonna, Van Basten or Roberto Carlos freekick against France.

    It was an excellent strike but is it really any better than Berbatovs against Liverpool? Or even Mereilles agaisnt Wolves a couple of weeks ago?

  • Comment number 54.

    Thanks Crow, those type of goals are rare. It bothered me a little that anybody could discredit it. Then I realized that the lack goes to those that missed the beauty of it.

    Have to give credit to City because they're competitive even if results haven't gone their way. It's not a fluke that there near top of table. I can't really see them dropping out of top 4 anytime soon.

  • Comment number 55.

    leeroy, it's so much better than berbatovs. berba set himself up, rooney had to adjust position and the ball was coming at him from out wide. a much better technique. it is one of those great goals.

  • Comment number 56.

    "Get your anti man utd rose tinted glasses off and admire the greatest goal in premier league history."

    Yes it was a very good goal but you can't seriously think that it's the greatest. Why don't you take of your pro Man Utd rose tinted glasses off and admire many other better goals.

  • Comment number 57.

    He's starting to get that form back from last season. The chasing pack must be terrified!!


    I'm a United fan and I honestly don't know where you're getting this from? He's scored 1 wonder goal and he's back to his best? Do me a favour, I was there at Wolves last week and he was shocking, he still has a lot to prove for me and needs to stop being so hopelessly inconsistant.

    However, great goal, don't think you can call that luck. What a time to get it, also!

  • Comment number 58.

    city played really well however they didn't create many clear cut chances apart from silvas earlier effort and their goal was very lucky.

    I think they are a good side to watch, but then again when your spending hundreds of millions you should be shouldn't you?

    In my opinion this would be fergies greatest ever title triumph should it happen.I hope it does. This is the poorest united team he's had in the premier league- if you can call them that...

  • Comment number 59.

    52. At 00:09am on 13 Feb 2011, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:

    The " facts " are Arsenal sit second and certainly are not
    " terrified "


    Would have been better if you had said that in your original post. Quite agree with you.

    Hope Arsenal do well against Barca - you will have to take my word that I genuinely do wish them good.

  • Comment number 60.

    It was a fantastic goal- and hopefully it will do wonders to Rooney's confidence.

    People are too anti-united to accept the goal for what it was- and thats a real shame to hear.

    Rooney's form has been much much better over the last month or so- although not in with many goals yet- his game, even whilst not at his best, has still been excellent and certainly eclipses all recent performances from Chelsea, most of the Liverpool side and he certainly could have turned a few Arsenal matghes around- as they sometimes lack that match winning moment of class.

    I think if Kompany hadn't put on such a brilliant display then Rooney may have had more to offer, and think it is very foolish to criticise and underestimate a man who possesses that raw talent.

    As for his England performances- he certainly looked livelier against Denmark, and when criticising the England squad it is unfair to single out a player- as a unit England are dire and that counts for a large group of players- Gerrard, Lampard Defoe Walcott Lennon havent been any better.

    Maybe if the service was better Rooney would score more goals? who knows? Thats why its silly to single out a player when our whole national side is pants

  • Comment number 61.

    57. At 00:17am on 13 Feb 2011, Arise Sir Ryan wrote:


    a far more sensible comment and worthy of digesting to.

  • Comment number 62.

    Has everyone forgotten Berba's bicycle goal against Liverpool...? That for me matches Rooney's goal, if not better

  • Comment number 63.

    I think its the greatest premier league goal ever.Not only is the technique and skill sublime it's all the other aspects that go with it. The importance in the timing of both the match and title race.

    Someone mentioned earlier that rooneys against newcastle was better. Well if wayne himself says this one was better then it's better isn't it?

    That's just my opinion.

  • Comment number 64.

    What a shame..
    This is the same reason why we fail terribly on the international stage.
    Everybodys' waxing lyrical about an undoubtedly good goal saying its the best goal ever in the EPL.

    Best goal ever in the EPL?? Henry goal against United? VanPersie against Charlton? Rooney against Newcastle? Bergkamp against Newcastle? Even berbatov's volley was better than this

    We just cream ourselves over nothing. Pundits calling Rooney white pele, best player on the planet bla bla bla.
    We have Gerard saying in the past that Joe Cole is as good as Messi.
    Even when Rooney scores a tap-in, they call it a "world class" goal so why should I be surprised when Phil whips out his laptop to type an article as soon as the goal flies in
    Last season when Rooney was heading in goals, they called him the best with his header of the ball in the world.

    SMH again.. Either the EPL must be really poor or these pundits are plain delusional

  • Comment number 65.

    scholesyboy, berbas is never better

  • Comment number 66.

    *** the best with his head on the ball in the world.

  • Comment number 67.

    59. At 00:19am on 13 Feb 2011, eccles45 wrote:


    have no fear my dear i know you very well and know you are most sincere
    and thank you for your wishes for us on wednesday night.

  • Comment number 68.

    63. At 00:24am on 13 Feb 2011, Crow4England wrote:

    I believe it is his best goal ever, but it's not worth all this discussion.

    What we need to ask ourselves is, can he kick on and score 10-15 this season? I mean I'm not one to go on about wages, but come on, can we say it was a good move to give him a new contract?

    Don't get me wrong, I love Wayne as much as anyone, on paper and generally the facts state we have a world class player, and I sincerely hope I am proved wrong! But I simply can't see it.

  • Comment number 69.

    Lots of hyperbole flying around here.

    Sure, it was a fine goal. Fantastic technique from a player with superb natural ability. It will, understandably, live long in the memory of United fans and it'll feature in any 'Goal of the Month/Season' competition.

    But the best goal ever in the Premier League? Crazy exaggeration. Absolute nonsense, in fact.

    As a neutral, I can think of at least two or three without raking throught the archives (which would doubtless reveal many more). Henry's spin and volley against Utd was miles better; that famous Di Canio effort against Wimbledon required greater skill; Le Tissier scored at least one better goal than Rooney's today; even Rooney himself scored an arguably better one against Newcastle.

    Credit to him for a quality goal. But some people are getting carried away and/or have extremely short memories.

  • Comment number 70.

  • Comment number 71.

    @ 64 - Spot on.

  • Comment number 72.

    you hate man utd running at carragher, rooney could have probably taken on the whole man city team,gone back again,taken them on again then flicked it up and volleyed the ball into the top corner and you'd still be saying "it was a good goal nothing more"

    henrys against united isn't anywhere near as good as rooneys today, neither was berbatovs or van persies. granted bergkamps was absolutely genius, but that comes 2nd or 3rd on my list of all time premier league goals after today.

  • Comment number 73.

    The only goals that come close to todays effort are bergkamps against newcastle, di canios wonder goal and trevor sinclairs overhead kick.

  • Comment number 74.

    i would love to hear what Mr Mcnulty thinks about this goal ,in regards to being the best goal in premier league history?!

    where would you rate it mr mcnulty?

    In terms of quality and importance, there's never been a better one i dont think!

  • Comment number 75.


    The reason we fail terribly on the international stage is because we actually don't have that good a team.

    Hype about players has very little to do with it. Hype is everywhere and the players should surely know how to deal with it and not let it get to their heads.

  • Comment number 76.

    'henrys against united isn't anywhere near as good as rooneys today'


    I honestly can't see how anyone could think that.

    Rooney's goal was pure instinct and unquestionable technique. I'm not taking anything away from it and wouldn't dream of suggesting he shinned it or anything. I'm assuming that was a wind-up earlier on...

    Henry had a marker on his back, had to produce a deft touch to set himself up and then, in a split second, produce a powerful, dipping volley from range.

    That's why I reckon it was better. I've seen a lot of spectacular bicycle kicks (Sinclair's, for example, which I also believe was a much better goal) but Henry's was just out of this world. You barely ever see anything like that done. Most players wouldn't even think of attempting it.

  • Comment number 77.

    england would be much better arise sir ryan, if the manager picked the right team and played the right tactics.

    On the back of rooneys season , capello should have played to our strengths and put rooney up top on his own.

    instead he picked emile heskey...a player who couldnt hit a barn door.

  • Comment number 78.

    #45 HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:

    The chasing pack must be terrified.

    Utter Tosh.

    I agree wholeheartedly. The chasing pack are not terrified because they haven't a hope in hell's chance of catching Man United so they will already be have accepted the roles of also rans.

  • Comment number 79.

    @76 well im sure we could argue until the cows come home about which goal is better.

    At the end of the day they are all personal opinions.

  • Comment number 80.

    Nani's goal today was a better goal than Rooney's. Look at the touch by Nani and look at the pressure he was under from the defender but he kept cool and placed it into the net. Also, look at the pass by Giggs to put him in.
    The goal by Wayne against Newcastle a few years ago was much better than his goal today.
    There was a German who specilaised in those overhead kicks. Was it Pierre Littbarski, can anyone remember?
    The goal by Ronnie Whelan in 1988 for Ireland against Russia, which was also a shin job, was a much better goal than the one today.
    In summary, give up the hype.

  • Comment number 81.


    Even nani himself would totally disagree with you there.

  • Comment number 82.

    How can rooneys newcastle strike be better than earliers when the man HIMSELF says it isn't?

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    Like you said, Crow4England, it's all a matter of opinion.

    Just as an author can say that book A was his masterpiece and yet a reader can prefer book B, a player doesn't have the final say on what his finest goal was. Fans might well see things differently.

    I suspect, incidentally, that much of the exaggerated praise being heaped on the goal is overcompensation for what has been a poor season from Rooney. The media are particularly culpable here. One game makes a player a hero or a zero, so expect plenty of column inches explaining how 'Torres is back to his best' next time he scores. It's even worse with Rooney because of the amount of scrutiny his every move is subjected to.

  • Comment number 85.

    i hear what your saying.

    i was thinking the same about torres, don't be surprised to see him bang in a couple of goals on monday. I cant believe the papers were basicly calling torres a flop! madness ,he's played 1 game. that is the nature of the british media though!

  • Comment number 86.

    83. At 00:50am on 13 Feb 2011, Ken Officer wrote:


    wow, you catch on fast.

  • Comment number 87.

    anyone remember yet who the German was?

  • Comment number 88.

    Even as a die hard United fan.. I have to say that this was nowhere near the best goal I've seen in the premiership.

    My Personal Top 3

    3. Matt Le Tissier vs Blackburn

    2. Paul Scholes vs Aston Villa

    1. Matt Le Tissier vs Newcastle

    I'm sure everybody has (and is entitled to have) their own personal favourites.

  • Comment number 89.

    It was a fantastic goal and you won't see a better example of the timing needed to perform it properly in order to get the maximum power. AS for calling it "Best goal" that is all about opinions but it's certainly a great example of a bicycle kick to rival the other posters examples of Trevor Sinclair, DE Cannio and BErbatov.

    At the end of the day Phil if Rooney scores the winner every week then you can forgive his constant giving the ball away and squandering of guilt edge chances. My concern is when he doesn't score he isn't judged by the same chances-to-goal ratio that you saw fit to judge Bent in midweek against Denmark with (despite Rooney missing a sitter in the same match). Rooney had a fantastic season last year, but has been dreadful at times this year. One swallow does not a summer make. If you are honest Rooney had a poor game today (wonder goal aside) and looked to be going back to his bad old habits of getting wound up when things weren't going his way. Nani looked far more dangerous. Both sides at least were more incisive and positive than their boring bore-a-thon at Eastlands earlier in the season (despite playing the same formation).

    AS for the title race today's games in truth didn't really change anything. Arsenal will still need to beat Man Utd you would think to close to 1 point and then hope Chelsea or Liverpool can take something off of them. Man Utd need to improve their away form and Arsenal need to improve their home form. The smart money would be on Man Utd with the 4 point lead and with Arsenal having more games with a FA Cup replay and the League Cup Final, but I still think there are enough games for a few twists and turns yet. I certainly haven't seen anything to think either team are good enough to win all of their remaining games.

  • Comment number 90.

    WoW !!! I just feel astonished.

    You wrote a blog on the bbc website just to commenerate Wayne Rooney goal today, which in terms of match winning goals was great don't get me wrong, but to suggest that Rooney deserves some sort of accolade is truly cringeworthy.

  • Comment number 91.

    Liverpool fan here with nothing but dislike for United. WHAT A BRILLIANT GOAL BY ROONEY!!! Up there with the best I've seen. Berbatov put an amazing overhead kick in against us this year but this one was a top 20 of all-time for sure. Congrats Mancs. Next time we see you we'll be a much stronger outfit under a stronger man. I'm still not convinced by your side and I wouldn't be shocked if we overtake you in 2 or 3 years unless you rebuild. Your central midfield isn't good enough...

  • Comment number 92.

    It was a very good goal, no doubt. But Trevor Sinclair's one a few years back was just as, if not, better.

    Fair play to Rooney for trying it in a pressure game and pulling it off, but it simply is not the greatest premier league goal ever. Either that, or Trevor Sinclair was the greatest English player of the last 20 years, if we judge him by that goal, and the reaction to Rooney's.

    With regards to Utd for the title... too soon to say. 26 games into a season, only lost 1 match, and still only 4 points clear? As Wolves proved last week and today, things can change quickly. It looks to be a straight fight between Arsenal and Utd now - but Utd have got Chelsea twice, which Arsenal haven't. Let's not start counting chickens yet...

  • Comment number 93.

    I second what post 91 said. Rooney's overhead was fantastic piece of instinct but Berbatov's overhead kick against Liverpool was poetry in motion. The speed of thought and the technique that he display in the limited space provided gets my vote for goal of the season.

    And Nani performance shouldn't be overshadowed by this goal, yet again he has put in a match winning performance which included the pin point cross to provide Rooney his moment of redemption to the club.

  • Comment number 94.

    Do we really need this amount of analysis as to whether or not it was the greatest goal ever in the PL?
    Can we not just enjoy what was an undoubtedly great footballing moment?

    Maradona Vs England
    Giggs Vs Arsenal
    Ronaldo Vs Porto
    Rooney Vs Newcastle
    Bergkamp vs (Probably Newcastle, Argentina etc, tec, the man was a genius)
    Van Basten Vs Can't Remember
    Cafu Vs Can't Remember
    Scholes Vs Villa

    and now, Rooney Vs Man City

    There are many more examples I could cite, not everything has to be analysed and compared, we should just applaud a moment of footballing genius when we see it. I will always carry the memory of this goal with me, as well as the others I have witnessed.

    These goals and moments should be cherished as football fans.

  • Comment number 95.

    In over 30 years watching football, this was the best goal I have ever seen. Team goals are fantastic, long-shots and audacious flicks too, but Rooney's goal was a volley of such improvisation and power, in a derby match of such magnitude, I can't recall a better strike. Quite simply, it was the biggest 'wow' moment I can ever recall watching football. Stunning doesn't do it justice.

    And then I come on this blog and people are calling it a fluke!!!!!

  • Comment number 96.

    @80 & @87:
    It was Klaus Fischer.

  • Comment number 97.

    'Rooney magic rekindles love affair'? I'm sure that's what Rooney would like to believe, but United fans have long memories and we won't be forgetting Wayne's early season antics for a while yet, thank you.

    Thought it was a great contest today with the result just about right. As for Rooney's goal, yes it was a special strike, not because of the technical skill he exhibited, but because of the context.....losing at Wolves last week and with three away games coming up (Wigan/Chelsea/L'pool)a win today was essential to keep the pot simmering. Personally, I wonder if we'll ever see 'the old Wayne Rooney' again, but if we do, it may not be until next season.

    Defences were on top today - Kompany neutralised Rooney for most of the game and Richards took no prisoners whilst Vidic and the excellent Smalling kept Tevez quiet. Dzeko looks too slow and ponderous for the Premiership.

    Nonetheless, City are getting closer - thought Silva was terrific - but I wonder about their 'team spirit'. If you look at United, they have played all season with a midfield in which our best performers all year have been Nani & 2 guys who should by rights have put their feet up some time ago.

    The rest are not good enough for a variety of reasons - Carrick (lost whatever pace he did have with his achilles injury), Anderson (too erratic, flatters to deceive), Fletcher (great energy but no real creative spark)and Gibson ( Is never going to be anything but a squad player; needs to be moved on). In my view a large part of what has kept us going has been what you might call 'the culture of winning' and a considerable team spirit which City currently seem to lack. They may be able to splash the cash but no amount of money can manufacture experience.

    If we do win the title this year - and it's still a big 'if' - it will be down to the back 5, to Nani and to Berbatov - plus that dogged refusal to quit (except at Molineux last week). Midfield will need a major overhaul in the summer, irrespective of whether Scholes continues.

  • Comment number 98.

    It was a very good goal but I have to agree with another poster- it looked an awful lot like it hit off his shin, not his foot. Look at it carefully, seriously. If I'm wrong, apologies. Assuming he did use his foot, I'd still put Van Basten's bicycle kick way ahead of it. If we're talking about the best goals by an English man in the Premier League, in my opinion, Le Tissier scored a number of goals that were far superior to that one. Added to the goals someone else mentioned, there was the time in the United game
    And here are some more. Rooney could only dream of scoring these type of goals:

  • Comment number 99.

    It's late and I don't have the time to read all the comments, suffice it to say (perhaps again): great goal, terrible journalism.

  • Comment number 100.

    If we're talking about the best goals by an English man in the Premier League, in my opinion, Le Tissier scored a number of goals that were far superior to that one. Added to the goals someone else mentioned, there was the time in the United game


    And here are some more. Rooney could only dream of scoring these type of goals:



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