Manchester United became the first side to win 50 League games on Boxing Day thanks to a brace from Wayne Rooney and another for Robin Van Persie as they saw off Newcastle United 3-1. The visitors didn’t make the most of their bright start as they were punished as Rooney scored a brace before half-time. The Dutch striker scored his fifth goal in six Premier League games before Papiss Cisse converted a penalty to give the visitors a consolation.
Here are the major talking points from the game.
1. Has Van Gaal found a solution to the midfield problem?
Ever since Paul Scholes hung up his boots, the Red Devils have been on a mission, to find a suitable replacement for the United legend. While a few have tried, none have been able to nail down a spot in the starting berth. With his accurate diagonal balls, innate ability to go short or long and ghost into the box and score goals from midfield, it looks as though they had the replacement all along.
While it is only a temporary fix, Rooney has excelled at being the creative fulcrum of the side from midfield. Against Newcastle, he was afforded the time and space to work his magic and the club captain didn’t disappoint as he scored two and set up the other to seal all three points for his side. While he has always shown that he can play in midfield, whether he wants to permanently is a completely different issue and that is one that Van Gaal might have to tackle very soon as his injured players return to full fitness.