From just inside the half-way line, Manchester United’s No. 9 executed an audacious chip successfully leaving West Ham goalkeeper Adrian flailing helplessly as the football lodged in the net sending the visitors on their way to a 2-0 win.
It was Rooney again in the 33rd minute scoring a real poacher’s goal after an Ashley Young cross was unsuccessfully cleared from the West Ham box.
Manchester United, who have been leaking goals in this first campaign without Sir Alex Ferguson, managed a clean sheet despite fielding central midfielder Michael Carrick next to Phil Jones in front of keeper David De Gea. Steady left back Patrice Evra was also absent as Dutch understudy Alexander Buttner took up the berth instead.
There was a noticeable change going forward, as well.
With Maraoune Fellaini and Darren Fletcher holding in midfield, it was an attacking midfield trio of Shinji Kagawa, Juan Mata and Young that provided the creativity behind Rooney.
Mata, the £37.5-million man, took up a central role behind the striker. In his natural position, he was able to make a real impact on the game distributing probing passes and playing attackers in. It was the first time Mata was showcased in his favored role since his arrival in January.
Both Rooney and Mata were removed early in favor of Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck, respectively, ahead of the mid-week derby with Manchester City.
United took home the three points giving them 51 through 30 games played. Sitting in seventh, David Moyes’ squad is just two points behind Tottenham in sixth and three points adrift of Everton, though the Toffees have a game in hand.