Manchester United gained an average, fairly dull win over West Ham United, although the game will be remembered for Wayne Rooney's remarkable goal.
The United striker, playing as a number 9 with Robin van Persie out of action, saw Adrian off his line and volleyed home from 58 yards, in a near-replica of David Beckham's goal versus Wimbledon. Becks happened to be in the crowd at the time, and appeared to react with particular delight.
The goal came after United had gotten off to a rather shaky start, but despite Michael Carrick featuring in defence against a Sam Allardyce side with Andy Carroll up front, United soon regained their composure and did not really look unduly troubled for the rest of the game. Rooney added a second when he fired back Mark Noble's misjudged clearance, and West Ham looked beaten.
Although the Hammers were able to rain balls down into the United area for much of the second half, they produced few chances and United were able to hold on, albeit wasting some promising counter-attacks, usually thanks to a poor end product from Ashley Young or Shinji Kagawa, although Javier Hernandez got in on the act by fluffing a superb late opportunity with an overhit cross.
Nonetheless, United win again. and having rested players for the game against Manchester City on Tuesday. The way the season's gone (and particularly the near-bottomless lows have followed minor highs) then anything other than avoiding complete destruction may be viewed as a positive. City were looking rather sluggish lately, but they've improved in form drastically, putting five past Fulham today.
Of course, the City game actually means a lot less than the Bayern Munich clash. And even if we win, we might only be furthering the infinitely-worse cause of a Liverpool title victory. We'll still need to improve, regardless - United were hardly brilliant today, but they were solid, dependable and comfortable. Three things we've seen far too infrequently this season.