|1||Van der Sar|
Last season’s top scorer hasn’t had much joy in front of goal this season, but Rooney netted twice before the interval to set Sir Alex’s men on the road to victory once again.
The only surprise, given recent events, was that United didn’t come from behind and neither Javier Hernandez nor Dimitar Berbatov got on the scoresheet.
In fact, despite goals in United’s last two fixtures, the Mexican striker again had to settle for a spot on the bench as Sir Alex kept faith with his first-choice (if not always firing) strike partnership.
The decision paid immediate dividends, as Rooney rattled the back of the net inside a minute with a volley from just inside the penalty area. The goal owed as much to Edwin van der Sar’s quick thinking, though, as it did to Rooney’s deft first touch and subsequent piledriver finish.
Van der Sar may be 40 and retiring at the end of the season, but his mind remains sharp. When the Reds won a free-kick 20 yards from Edwin’s goal, there appeared no danger to Aston Villa. But the Dutchman spotted Rooney loitering on the shoulder of Richard Dunne and sent a 70-yard pass over the visitors’ defence. From there, Rooney brought the ball down with feather-like touch before hammering the bouncing ball past Brad Friedel.
The goal rocked Villa and, for the next 10 minutes, it looked as though United may go further ahead. Rooney, in particular, looked well and truly in