Much like Manchester United's faltering start to the season, the signs given by the club's strikers of late suggest that something of a corner has been turned. After notching one measly goal in the club's opening three league games (and that woeful 4-0 Capital One Cup trashing in Milton Keynes), Louis van Gaal's side have rattled in 11 in their last four, with their frontmen grabbing five in recent weeks. Given the wildly different starts to the season that Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao have experienced, the fact that all three have now hit form with the season still in its relative infancy – and bagged goals on international duty this week - is most certainly welcome.
The latter has hardly had an easy time of it since his deadline day loan-signing was confirmed. Despite notching a goal in pre-season and two more for Monaco at the beginning of the Ligue 1 campaign, Falcao has still been re-adjusting to his day job following the crucial ligament damage that kept him out of this summer's World Cup.
The demands of the Premier League and the man's sheer desire (and perhaps over-willingness) to open his United account seemed to blunt his approach at first, with a mini collection of presentable opportunities spurned in his first games for the club. His fourth appearance, last weekend's 2-1 victory over Everton looked to be going the same way until he turned in Angel Di Maria's shot-cum-cross in the second half to fire United to victory.
El Tigre, as he is affectionately known, celebrated wildly, releasing what appeared to be weeks of pent-up anxiety in front of the Old Trafford crowd. Judging by the lethal way in which he met Santiago Arias' cross to set his country on their way to a 3-0 win over El Salvador at the weekend, Falcao could truly be returning to form. He's one of few strikers worldwide who can simply guarantee goals on whichever stage he is unleashed upon. Having arrested the mini-rut that sytmied his introduction to life in Manchester, you'd be foolish to bet against him notching significantly more this term.
For his part, Van Persie experienced similar frustrations in this season's early going; at times, he appeared a little too desperate to score. Like many others, the Dutchman endured a difficult season under David Moyes' stewardship, despite notching 18 goals in 28 appearances, and now in his early 30s, it's taken Van Persie a little time to get up to speed following Holland's run to the World Cup semi-finals.
A predatory header from Falcao's pinpoint cross in Leicester and a lovely low finish against West Ham will certainly have helped in that respect, and capping a 3-1 victory over Kazakhstan for his country in Amsterdam this past weekend represents the short of situation that the Dutchman needs in order to return to the peak of his powers.
Since his debut season at Old Trafford, in which his 30 goals were decisive in landing that 20<sup>th league title, Van Persie's importance has decreased somewhat. With Falcao's presence and the fluid, interchangeable nature of United's attack, there's a little less reliance on the former Arsenal man to make decisive contributions. But having landed his 50<sup>th goal for the club against West Ham, and with Rooney currently side-lined through suspension, suggestions that the club's stand-in captain may have to accept a reduced role at United are wide of the mark.
What to do about Wazza?
Which brings us nicely onto one of the most divisive players in the club's modern history; if not one of, then the firm #1 atop the list.
Wayne Rooney has disciples and detractors in equal spades these days, but given the striker's three league goals this campaign, one thing that isn't up for debate is his contribution in the goals scored column. Having ruled himself out of last weekend's meeting with his boyhood club, and upcoming matches with West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea, thanks to a foolish red card against West Ham, Rooney needed to stay sharp whilst on international duty this week.
Fortunately for Rooney, and England manager Roy Hodgson, he was sharp enough slotting home a penalty during the routine thrashing of San Marino but far more importantly contributing the only goal of the game with a free-kick in a tight 1-0 win in Estonia on Sunday evening. Of late, there has been a startling amount of literature both in defence and sharp critique of Rooney, and whilst there are many who actively lament his position as captain of both club and country, he has done himself no disservice by continuing to score regularly.
Great, lengthy tomes have also been written detailing and/or speculating about exactly how Manchester United should organise their embarrassment of attacking riches, when the current reality is much simpler; with Rooney suspended for two more games, Juan Mata will most likely feature behind Falcao and Van Persie. After that, who knows?
One thing is certainly clear, however; after a season many wished to forget, the supposed headache of Manchester United's new manager figuring out which of his scoring, in-form forwards to pick is a glorious problem.
The article was provided by Red Mancunian, one of the most popular Manchester United fan accounts in the world. You can follow them on Twitter here or go to www.redmancunian.com.