1. English preview: Awaiting 1st goal of season, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney frustrated by critics

English preview: Awaiting 1st goal of season, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney frustrated by critics

Manchester United has only played three games this season and Wayne Rooney's inability to score is already under scrutiny.

By: | Published: August 21, 2015 8:44 AM

Manchester United has only played three games this season and Wayne Rooney’s inability to score is already under scrutiny.

That’s three games without even a shot on target for the striker.

”I’ve experienced this before and the goals will come, I know that,” Rooney said. ”I’ve had one bad game this season and everyone’s all over it. I know I’ve had that throughout my career but hopefully at the weekend I can get off the mark.”

When United hosts Newcastle on Saturday, Rooney will be searching for his first competitive goal for United since April 4, making it a nine-game drought going back into last season.

”I understand I have to be the one who’s going to lead that line for us and try and the goals for us,” the center forward said. ”My mind’s clear. I know how to play the role. It’s just a case of getting the chances and taking them.”

Fortunately for Rooney – following the departure of fellow forwards Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao in the offseason – others have chipped in with goals.

New winger Memphis Depay contributed two in the 3-1 win over Bruges in the first leg of their Champions League playoff on Tuesday. Adnan Januzaj scored the only goal in the win over Aston Villa last week and an own goal gifted United an opening day victory over Tottenham in the Premier League.

Rooney is only 19 goals from matching Bobby Charlton’s club scoring record of 249.

”I know when I don’t play well and against Aston Villa I was below my standards,” the 29-year-old United captain said.

CHELSEA CHAOS

If Chelsea can complete the signing of forward Pedro from Barcelona before Sunday’s trip to West Bromwich it would be a big boost following a chaotic start to the season defined by setbacks on the field and the team doctor being demoted.

Chelsea has opened its title defense by collecting one point from two games, including a loss at Manchester City, and was beaten in the Community Shield by Arsenal.

West Brom has similarly only collected a point and lost 3-0 to Man City. Ominously for Mourinho, two of the previous three Chelsea managers have lost their jobs within days of a loss at West Brom: Andre Villas-Boas in March 2012 and Roberto Di Matteo eight months later.

OUTFOXING RIVALS

Four teams have won two out of two: Manchester rivals City and United, Liverpool – and Leicester. The same Leicester which required a late surge to avoid relegation in May.

There’s a long way to go but new manager Claudio Ranieri is defying gloomy forecasts about his capabilities more than a decade after his last job in England at Chelsea.

Ahead of Saturday’s match against Tottenham, Leicester signed Switzerland midfielder Gokhan Inler from Napoli.

Leicester hosts a Tottenham side which has drawn one and lost one so far. Striker Harry Kane, who spent time on loan at Leicester in 2013 before becoming the scoring revelation of last season at Spurs, has failed to net this campaign.

CITY STRENGTHENS

Man City’s bid to regain the Premier League trophy from Chelsea has now seen $150 million of summer transfer window spending.

Nicolas Otamendi, a tough central defender who helped Argentina reach the Copa America final last month, is the latest recruit from Valencia.

”He’s strong, he’s excellent in the tackle and he’s very good technically,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini said ahead of Sunday’s match at Everton.

ELSEWHERE

The biggest showdown of the weekend is not until Monday night when Liverpool goes to Arsenal after eking out a pair of 1-0 wins in its opening fixtures.

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech is still getting accustomed to his new team after a June move from Chelsea and awaits his first clean sheet.

”The interaction between the goalkeeper and the back four has to be top to compete in the Premier League,” Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker said. ”Sometimes it takes longer than you think.”

Arsenal opened with a loss to West Ham then won 2-1 at Crystal Palace.

Sunderland and newcomer Bournemouth are still waiting their first points. Sunderland hosts Swansea on Saturday when Bournemouth goes to West Ham.

Also on Saturday, Palace hosts Villa and Norwich faces Stoke, while the following day Watford plays Southampton.

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