CAN WAYNE ROONEY EVER SHAKE THIS HANGOVER?

Wayne Rooney has arguably been one of the greatest talents in English football in modern times. The player who has scored over 50 goals for England and is closing in on 250 goals for Manchester United has enjoyed a 15 year career so far that has been mainly filled with highs. As is often the case with the British media, the very same publications that have celebrated his successes and built him up are now preying on his every move to knock him down from whence he came.

Once upon a time in a football fairytale (not so long ago), a player joining a wedding celebration and enjoying a few drinks with guests would be a hero – nowadays things are very different and Wayne Rooney has been hammered by the press for his antics whilst on international duty.

Perhaps it has raised wider issues and bigger questions about footballer conduct and the line between their personal and professional lives, but for Wayne Rooney, it is just the latest in a long string of 2016 low points – so we are asking the question as to whether Wayne Rooney is suffering a hangover that he just won’t be able to shake.

It is hard to feel sympathy for someone who earns more in a week than most people earn in five years – but then no-one enjoys seeing a previous Premier League star fade away.

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic suspended for the visit of Arsenal in the Saturday lunchtime kick off it might be the perfect tonic for Rooney to bounce back to form if he gets the chance to play in a more prominent position – but would it just be a short term fix even if he were to bang a goal in?

Wayne Rooney made his debut for Everton at the tender age of 16 in 2002. The fact that 2002 seems like a lifetime ago may go some way to explaining the downturn of the Englishman’s form. Rooney has been a fantasy football manager’s dream at times and the 2013/14 season that saw him score 17 goals and register 10 assists was his most impressive of recent years. If we go back to the 2011/12 season then we will remember him ruthlessly destroying defences with 27 goals and 4 assists. But will we ever see this side of him again or is it time to give up on him from a fantasy football point of view?

Some pundits are saying that the versatile forward has lost his legs, others disagree and say it’s his appetite for the sport. Others blame his lifestyle and general fitness. One thing that cannot be argued is his skill. But is it enough to keep fantasy footballers picking him? In fact, Rooney does not even feature in our fantasy football single game between Man Utd and Arsenal today with preference given to Marcus Rashford as a Premier Punt star player and he is likely to be given a starring role in the game by Mourinho.

From Rooney’s perspective, one of the biggest frustrations for the ex-Everton player  is probably that he has been playing in various roles (but crucially not as a striker) for two seasons now – Rooney is an impact player and whilst he is capable of playing in midfield or out wide, he is not going to be as impactful as he will in the number 10 position or as an out and out striker. Has he been mis-managed or is he simply not good enough?

Rooney should feature in today’s fixture and whilst it could be marred by injury and suspension there is enough talent out there for Premier Punters to choose from. Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott will be amongst the other popular picks for the game. It will be interesting to see if the Man Utd manager opts to play Rooney in a more advance role – if he does, then he can potentially have more of an impact – possibly the only thing that can clear his head from this lingering hangover. Either way, it looks like the trend is declining and we don’t see that changing in the medium to long term.

CHELSEA VS. MAN UTD PICK SIX

PREMIER PUNT GAME OF THE WEEK: CHELSEA VS. MANCHESTER UNITED

Many of us settled down for an evening of brilliant blistering entertainment in the form of North West rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool on Monday evening only to be left feeling somewhat cheated… but like an ever faithful puppy dog we have already moved on from the boredom of Jose Mourinho’s negative football as we look forward to another set of Premier League fixtures for game week 9.

The Premier Punt game of the week for GW9 looks set to revolve around another tactical showdown with the Chelsea Vs. Man Utd fixture already holding down our biggest prize pool – despite the fixture not taking place until Super Sunday.

It is new vs. old as Mourinho heads to Chelsea not much less than a year after his infamous sacking to take on his successor Antonio Conte who has already found himself under pressure and speculation at the Bridge earlier this month was suggesting his tenure is already far from secured.

Both teams head in to this game in decent form and although Manchester United might have had a midweek European fixture, the attacking performance (particularly of Paul Pogba) might mean that having played in the week will actually work in their favour.

The question is who to choose in your pick 6 team if you are entering our big fantasy football pick 6 game?

TOP 6 PICKS – CHELSEA VS. MAN UTD

The top scorers from the Liverpool game last week were of course the defenders and with no defenders or goalkeepers having star player status you could have your pick of any. It’s a tough call though as a single goal can wipe out a load of your points so what is the likelihood of another 0-0 draw? Not to mention it feels a bit boring choosing a team full of defenders!

Two of the last six games between these two in the Premier League have resulted in 0-0 draws and only one of those fixtures has enjoyed more than two goals! There have been two red cards in that time both times going to the away side in the fixture.

If we look at the last 6 games when Chelsea have played United at home there have actually been no goalless draws and just 2 clean sheets – both coming for Chelsea.

It’s a difficult pick 6 for this game but it does look like the game will revolve around defence and midfield. That being said, Diego Costa is the real in form attacking player in this fixture and will probably make most teams – he has the best chance of breaking down a resolute United side. At the back, Luke Shaw might want to be avoided as Mourinho may well start with the same back four that played Liverpool.

It is hard to predict but perhaps a mix of Chelsea and United defenders mixed with one or two attacking players is the way to go in this game. With home advantage to Chelsea and the extra preparation time you would have to be swayed towards the Blues in this game and Marcos Alonso is a defender who has really impressed in recent games. He bombs forward and supports the attack and it might need a player of his type to provide the width in a game that could be tight.

Whoever you decide to pick in this game, there are a range of prize pots and challenges to choose from including a £500 progressive pot that is not to be missed – so what are you waiting for – play our daily fantasy football here.

SHOW US YOUR BALLS: VAN GAAL GETS SET TO CRACK THE WHIP

Louis van Gaal stands seething in the canteen of the Aon Training Complex.

Rooney is spelling out his name with Alphabetti Spaghetti; Giggsy is applying a handful of Fixodent before tackling a corn on the cob; Mata forks through his misfiring seafood paella.

But it’s Danny Welbeck and Reece James who’re really making van Gaal fume.

They’re plonked in their specially adapted highchairs, cackling wildly as they chuck chicken nuggets at a framed picture of United legends Roy Keane and Dennis Irwin getting Niall Quinn in a headlock.

Without a word, the canny Dutchman strides over, grabs both by the bib and orders them to spend the rest of their lunch hour on the naughty step guarded by Gary Pallister menacingly wielding a catapult.

If there’s one thing you don’t want to do, it’s wind up van Gaal.

IMPISHNESS WON’T BE TOLERATED AT OLD TRAFFORD

Famously, during his time at Bayern Munich, he made his squad eat in the same space every day AND insisted they sit up straight – but poor Luca Toni obviously missed the memo, as van Gaal abruptly removed the big striker from the dining hall for slouching.

Yep, it’s safe to say the Man United gaffer takes this discipline malarkey seriously.

Glimpses of his flammable personality could be seen during the recent pre-season trip to the US, as he whined about the distances his team had to travel. This was no doubt exacerbated by the constant “are we there yet” screams from Welbeck and James at the back of the plane.

However, despite a penchant for blowing up, his pedigree has never been in doubt.

He’s been dubbed the anti-David Moyes, hell-bent on bringing success back to a club still licking its wounds in the wake of its most successful manager – Sir Alex Ferguson – finally spitting out his chewing gum.

Mehmet Scholl has called van Gaal a “genius” and the “best he’s ever seen” on the training ground – and although difficult spells at Bayern and Barca arguably sullied his reputation, it’s clear he’s hungry to build another footballing dynasty in Manchester.

While the current crop of United players will undoubtedly need to adapt, especially in the canteen, van Gaal’s explosive temperament should provide the media with plenty of ammo in his first season in charge of the world’s richest club.

Welcome aboard, Louis, it’s gonna be one hell of a ride …