Monday, November 12, 2007

Clinical United see off plucky Rovers - but is this really Fergie's best squad ever?

Blackburn came to Old Trafford on Sunday with a plan to stifle the Reds free-flowing football by getting stuck in, and for much of the opening period it looked like their plan might succeed as the visitors were marginally the better side. Samba's first half curling drive shaved the woodwork, but that was as close as Mark Hughes side came to scoring all afternoon.

Having overcome their early season lack of goals, United have been averaging four goals a game of late at Old Trafford, but minus injured Wayne Rooney who has been prolific, the questions most observers were asking was who would score the goals and how would the Reds cope without the England striker.

As expected Louis Saha started the game, but he had little impact, he played like a man who'd been the recipient of bad news, which he had as earlier on in the week Ferguson had confirmed to him what many - no doubt including the player already knew - that from now on, the Frenchman would be a substitute. Whether or not this was a wise decision is a mute point - don't all players need competition for places?

Fergie says that Louis took the news well. I find that very hard to believe personally. Apparently the manager explained his reasoning by saying it's because of his injuries. The thing is Saha has done well in his last two outings and has looked good when coming off the bench and has shown no signs of injury.

If Saha was sulking against Blackburn, Reds fans will be hoping that he soon snaps out of it, as Fergie's squad is going to be fully tested and strikers are of course thin on the ground.

Thankfully, the player of the season Ronaldo looks to be getting close to his lethal best in front of goal and he was the man who killed the game in the space of two first half minutes with a well taken brace.

The first was a towering header from an excellent Giggs corner from the left. Ronaldo's effort gave Friedal no chance as the American stopper was left helplessly rooted to his line as the ball powered into the top corner.

The second goal came from a typical United counter attack with the ball being moved quickly through midfield, Saha made his most telling contribution of the game when he played the ball to Tevez and the Argentine's incisive pass inside the box found Ronaldo who calmly slotted his second of the game which effectively ended the game as a contest.

Blackburn huffed and puffed, David Dunn got his marching orders for two yellow cards, much carping ensued, but those decisions had no bearing on the final outcome as there was no way back after Ronaldo's double salvo.

Once again Anderson and Hargreaves looked the part, they are working like Trojans in that engine room and Giggs had a very good game too, he looked like his old jinking self at times.

The back-four looks solid and so it comes and surprise to hear that the manager is today saying that this is his best ever squad. Others like me remain to be convinced about that statement.

In 1999 the Reds had four top strikers - that isn't the case right now. Added to which, and as good as good as the new midfield partnership is looking, isn't it a bit early to be suggesting that Hargreaves and Anderson are better than Keane and Scholes? Is Van der Sar really better than Schmeichel?

Whether or not he is being serious, one thing is for sure, if this squad starts slacking I'm fairly certain that the manager still has the fire in his belly. Fergie is still very much up for it and the players will know that too.

United 2-0 Blackburn

4 comments:

  1. You are right; we are missing a striker, so it can't be considered the best ever squad.

    I think it has the potential to be the best, but it is still only potential as yet.

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  2. is that slacking reference at all related to the 2-0 score line? haha

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  3. This is the best squad under Fergie ever? Not yet it isn’t & based on past players it is unlikely to be. I hope I am wrong but only time will tell.

    Schmeichel in his day was the best keeper in the world. Cantona, Scholes, Beckham, Giggs, Keane, Olly, Irwin one of the most reliable talented down to earth players in history.

    Phil Neville on the bench instead of Fletcher, Ronnie Johnson (when fit) instead of Oshea.

    These were players who truly dominated the League. I believed they would win every game.

    Yes we do have a very talented squad today. But it is in it’s infancy. As we say in this country “the proof is in the pudding“ & puddings do tend to pop up in the beautiful game from time to time. I do think we are short of a world class keeper though. Not that Edwin is not, I just feel that he has past his best & is in decline as is Giggs. An out an out goal poacher of talented proportions is also required.

    On the brighter side Pique looks promising as does Simpson, but the latter pieces of this complicated jigsaw lie in the development of Hargreaves, Nani & Anderson. Hargreaves I believe will be excellent it is the quality of Nani & Anderson which will in my opinion be the key to the greatness of this team. The rest of the squad bar Carrick, Fletcher & Oshea have proven they are already world class.

    The futures bright, the futures red.

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  4. no, it is not
    i think the batch of 99-2001 is still the finest where they were miles ahead of us. they almost scored 100 goals i think, stopping short at 97 or 98. those year it sucks to be a gunner.

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