Forget Rooney – United’s defending could cost them the title

The lurid allegations about Wayne Rooney’s personal life continue to dominate the Manchester United-related news sections of the various football websites and newspaper columns.

If this says anything about today’s world, it proves two main issues: first, that the people are too interested in celebrity lives especially when over-hyped, soap-opera-like stories blaze the daily journals’ back pages.

Second, everyone is apparently ready to acquiesce to the rather vociferous claims in the media that the sudden predicament transcends the private life of the now-widely-regarded odious Rooney and spills it venom onto United’s drab displays.

While it is only an ordinary human inclination to feel enthused at staying up-to-date with the details of celebrity scandals, jumping into conclusions that Rooney’s personal struggles have led to United’s recent collapse would shape-up some laughable analysis.

Everton’s two last-gasp goals – which gave David Moyes’ side a desperately-needed point against United – were not directly-caused by Rooney’s absence.

Of course some analysts may ascribe United’s lost composure to the low morale Rooney’s nonappearance may have caused. Still, I do not believe this is exactly the sanest analysis.

It is clear that United’s chief setback stems from the lack of investment in the squad, especially in the defensive area.

United’s fall is not about Cristiano Ronaldo’s sale – despite that the loss of the Portuguese winger took its toll on United’s innovative spark.

Nevertheless the numbers show that Ronaldo’s final season saw United net 68 goals while the Red Devils scored 86 times the season that followed Ronaldo’s departure.

The lack of investment has not hindered the efficiency of United’s front-line as the team has already scored 11 goals in four matches and still possesses attackers of supreme quality and proficient wingers.

Even Sir Alex Ferguson seemed swollen with pride as he spoke about the ‘best Manchester United attack since 1999’.

Both ways, there seems to be no more truly influential signings like Rio Ferdinand’s as United seem to have been driven down the Arsenal road this summer and secured the services of youngsters such as Christopher Smalling from Fulham.

But it appears that United’s defense is moving far away from the glory days as they have already conceded five goals in four matches.

Whether the abhorrent Glazers kept their purse strings tightened or it was Ferguson who opted against using the available funds, the Scottish manager may have signed someone like Gary Cahill or Phil Jaglieka, had he been put in a similar situation years ago.

United’s defense looked worryingly shaky in the dying minutes of their draw at Goodison Park as the defenders seemed to flounder in the aerial challenges that followed Leighton Baines’ precise crosses.

And regardless of whether or not United’s back-line continues to produce horrific errors after the trip to Everton, Ferdinand’s susceptibility to injury with United’s lack of investment in established back-up defenders may once again come to haunt the club’s bid to land their 19th English title.

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