Rooney receives treatment on an injured knee before being stretchered off the pitch during their English Premier League soccer match against Fulham at Old Trafford in Manchester

Wayne Rooney injured: How bad is it, and what it means for Manchester United

Leave a comment

We hinted at it in our Offshore Drilling, but the Wayne Rooney injury deserves a little more attention.

The how, in case you missed it: Rooney was running toward Hugo Rodellega late in Saturday’s match, trying to close down the Fulham attacker to prevent a 26-yard shot on goal. Late arriving, Rooney slid under the shot, and as Rodallega’s right foot came back down, he stepped on the inside of Rooney’s right thigh (just above the knee).

Quickly, blood started streaming down Rooney’s leg, a spike from Rodallega’s shoe creating a deep gash you could see trainers applying pressure to close. Eventually Rooney’s thigh was wrapped and the United attacker stretchered from the field.

Two seasons back, United fans witnessed a similar though more malicious incident. Then, Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher went studs up into Manchester United winger Nani, the tackle creating a long cut in the attacker’s shin. Nani, cut open on March 4, 2011, returned to face Marseille in Champions League on March 15.

Early word on Rooney is that he could miss four weeks. Obviously, we’re not doctors, but we can look back at the speculation surrounding Nani’s injury and see initial estimates exaggerated the time he’d miss. Instead of missing three games, Nani only missed one, though it’s understandable why people would exaggerate. With something as graphic as one of these cuts, it’s natural to think the worse.

But let’s go ahead and assume Rooney does miss 28 days. It’s not the worst time to do so. Manchester United has upcoming league matches with Southampton, Wigan and Liverpool, and while nobody ever wants to miss a North West Derby, at least he’s not missing a Manchester Derby. Or Chelsea. Or Arsenal.

He’ll also miss an international break in September: World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and (more importantly) Ukraine. At Euro 2012, Ukraine was the only Group D nation England didn’t play without a suspended Wayne Rooney.

Perhaps more important than who United (and England) play is who Rooney would have been playing with. As we saw on Monday, Rooney has needs time to get used to Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie. Today, with Rooney on the bench, United looked much better than they did on against Everton (though the circumstances and opponent were much different). Even though the Red Devils’ looked strong on Saturday, they won’t be at their best until all their attacking talent is used to each other. Now, the process of getting there is on hold for a month.

But that’s if Rooney really is out for that long. Right now, all we have to go on is a quote from Alex Ferguson, who presumably talked to Manchester United’s medical staff. Given the nature of the injury, we’re likely to know much more at this time next week.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
Leave a comment

Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
1 Comment

Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.