Prior to kickoff, all chatter had been about David Moyes and his, erm, innovative tactics chosen for the match. With a lack of center backs available, the United manager told BBC Football that he’d asked Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini to fill in in central defense, apparently taking it in turns.
But with the visitors coming forward right from the start, it almost looked as though any plan regarding United’s defense would be superfluous. And when Rooney opened the scoring in the seventh minute, it definitely seemed as though Robin van Persie was suddenly superfluous.
At the halfway line, the forward pushed his way past James Tompkins – possibly committing a little foul, but when the resulting goal was so spectacular, it’s difficult to be petty. The ball bounced invitingly in front of Rooney, allowing the Englishman to catch it perfectly on the half-volley, sending it nearly half the length of the pitch.
Adrian went flying back toward goal in an attempt to mitigate the damage, but the West Ham keeper could only slide along on his rear as the ball sailed over him, giving Manchester United the lead.