This was going to be an ugly result for Manchester United. U-G-L-Y.
United trailed Stoke City 2-1 late on at Old Trafford, looking completely listless and toothless in the process. The Red Devils were about 12 minutes away from (another) tidal wave of questions from the media and fans about first-year manager David Moyes.
Many of those questions still remain, but the pressure eases off Moyes thanks to late headers from Wayne Rooney and Chicharito that turned a would-be embarrassing loss at home into a feel-good, come-from-behind 3-2 win.
The Premier League announce crew on the NBC worldwide feed used phrases like “turning point” and “kickstart to the season” to describe the win for United. Make no mistake even after the win United have a lot of work to do to make up ground in the table where it sits eight points adrift of first-place Arsenal. Questions abound in the United defense with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones — both contributors in last year’s title-winning campaign — looking increasingly shaky. More than that, until Rooney’s late goal the Red Devils looked flat and uninspired.
United can thank Stoke’s Stephen Ireland for deciding there’s no need to mark Rooney inside the box on a corner kick take by Robin van Persie. The same poor marking allowed Chicharito a free header at the back post barely two minutes later. Mexican National Team fans are probably wondering why he hasn’t be able to get that open, lately, for El Tri.
Good, spirit-lifting win for United … but there’s a long way to go before we go too overboard. United fans will at least be happy, for one day, their team showed glimpses of its trademark never-say-die attitude which had been absent most of this season.