Friday, September 15, 2006

Carrick - has Fergie got it wrong again?

Having seen Carrick play for United a couple of times, I'm slightly baffled as to what role Ferguson has in mind for the England midfield man.

Carrick isn't a defensive midfield player really, and many United fans have long thought that United need someone who can actually sit in front of the back four in the same way that Makelele does for Chelsea. Especially in Europe, where United have failed miserably so many times, often getting caught on the counter attack.

Carrick looks to be very similar to a player United already had on their books, Darren Fletcher. Both are rangy, gangly players, who can pass the ball quite well, both get around the park quite well. Neither is outstanding, for £18m shouldn't we expect a player that is a bit special?

IF we accept that United do need a defensive midfield specialist who can give our more creative midfield aces license to attack, then United didn't really need Carrick, because quite simply the numbers don't add up.

United's best player in pre-season and against Celtic was Paul Scholes, so by rights and on form, he must start every game when fit. Then we have Rooney who is an ever present. United's other star performer thus far, has been Ryan Giggs (admittedly injured at present) and of course we need balance on the right with Ronaldo. That leaves two places in the front six, Fergie could either go with two strikers or one.
And Fergie's preferred formations options are 4-4-2, or 4-5-1. Against Celtic, Fergie went with 4-4-2 with Carrick playing in the central role alongside Scholes and Rooney supporting Saha. However, if United wanted to adopt Chelsea's 4-1-4-1 using a defensive midfield shield, they cannot, because they don't have a player like Makelele.

All in all, this United fan thinks the Carrick signing hasn't brought anything new to the table, his arrival has clouded the issues. United will get away with it in the premier league for the most part, apart from possibly in the big games. In Europe, United could well struggle again without more disciplined defending and the extra man in front of the back four offers an added layer of security.

IF Fergie eventually goes for a defensive midfield shield in the January transfer window or next summer, it will more than likely mean that Scholes will be on the bench, because the manager won't be able to accommodate all this star names, unless he plays Rooney or Scholes in a wide position - which is a criminal waste and an awful compromise - which rarely work.

Carrick isn't a bad player, far from it, but it's difficult to see where Ferguson is going with his tactics in relation to the formation and the squad.

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