Monday, December 18, 2006

Why Fergie is likely to finish second to Jose again...

This is no knee-jerk reaction to United's loss at Upton Park yesterday, because I've felt all season long that Chelsea will make it three titles in a row. Last week John Terry said that United couldn't play any better than they had done in this first half of the season, he's right as well.

Chelsea on the other hand can play a lot better, providing the manager finds the right blend on the pitch and despite the blues spectacular comeback at Goodison Park, Chelsea are still struggling to find the right formation and so we have yet to see the West London side at their very best.

My gut feeling is that Chelsea can only throw away the title this season because as Mourinho rightly says United will drop more points and so they will. Chelsea's big strength is that they don't normally concede many goals added to which despite their often less than pleasing style on the eye, they have match-winners throughout the side, Ballack, Essien and Lampard are all registering in the goals column.

It also goes without saying that Chelsea have far more strength in depth in terms of quality. Ferguson is really limited in his engine room - take the West Ham game, Fergie took off Carrick who was once again very poor and replaced him with John O'Shea, no disrespect but he's not going to change a game is he?

I speak to many United fans and I've yet to find one who believes Carrick is a top midfield player, or was worth the money we paid. Let us not forget he was bought by Spurs for £2m - that figure is about right in the view of many United fans - yet United shelled out over 7 times that to sign him. Go figure. IF we rated him when he was at West Ham then why didn't United take a punt on him when he was available on the cheap? Only Fergie and his accolytes can answer that one. The fact is Carrick doesn't score goals from midfield, his passing is all too often poor and he cannot tackle or tank up and down the park. In comparison Veron whose time at Old Trafford is viewed as a failure was miles better than Carrick.

Expecting the midfield combination of Scholes and Carrick to take United to the title isn't realistic. Owen Hargreaves would of course improve United massively but that deal probably wont happen until the summer, if at all.

For the reasons outlined above I can see Ferguson ending the season with a sideboard full of second prizes for his work this term, but let us not lose sight of the fact that finishing runner-up to Chelsea is no disgrace.

I for one will settle for a second half of the season the same as the first with United at least trying to play the game the right way and attacking teams.

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