Thursday, October 30, 2008

False smiles suggest all is not well at United despite win over Hammers'...

Cristiano Ronaldo's first-half brace was enough to see off the challenge of West Ham United at Old Trafford last night, but despite the victory doubts persist about the Champions title credentials.

Sir Alex Ferguson has assembled a fine squad of players, but since the arrival of Dimitar Berbatov the Reds' have been blowing hot and cold. The Bulgarian has striker has taken time to settle-in, but he has started to repay the faith shown in him.

Against Everton at the weekend, following an excellent opening 45 minute display by the Red's, like too many other United players Berbatov went missing in what was a poor second-half display by the Red Devils as the home team mounted a strong revival which saw David Moyes team take a point from the game. It would be wrong to blame Berbatov for the dropped points at Goodison Park, because if anyone should be blamed it was the defence and in particular Rio Ferdinand who had something of an off day.

Against West Ham at Old Trafford last night the former Spurs striker somehow kept the ball in play when it looked to be heading for a goal-kick, not only that he bamboozled a West Ham defender with a piece of skill that Cantona would been proud of, his trickery was capped-off with a slide-rule pass that ended with a fine goal for Ronaldo who did his level best to force a smile and celebration, but despite his two goals on the night the Portuguese winger and World Player of the Year has the look of a player who is not sure he wants be at the club.

Another player who looks less than happy right now is Carlos Tevez; Fergie took the unusual step of writing what could be described as an apology to the Argentine in last night's match programme. Tevez had been United's most consistent forward early on in the season, but all too often of late he has been left on the bench. The United manager clearly is concerned that he could lose the Argentine especially following reports linking him with other clubs including Real Madrid, added to which United have not made his signing permanent.

Wayne Rooney made way for Tevez against West Ham. No player likes to be 'rested' and Rooney is no different, he was left out against Bolton and immediately after his benching he found his scoring boots as he went on a blistering run of form which sadly ended against his former club Everton at the weekend in which he was well below his recent best.

Over the last few weeks I have been punting a new formation for United, one that would see Rooney dropping back into an advanced central midfield role. From this position Rooney could either support the attack alongside Berbatov or as he often likes to do, drop back when the need arises. Rooney would be perfect for this role as he has all the attributes of an attacking midfield player. If Fergie took this tactical decision he could then bring in Tevez on the left and have Ronaldo on the right. The United manager could then deploy two central midfield players behind Rooney, pick any two from six; Carrick, Fletcher, Anderson, Giggs, Hargreaves and Scholes.

The inescapable fact is that this current United team is lacking something when either Tevez or Rooney are left out of the starting eleven, that something is that fire-in-the-belly all-action style which both players possess.

I'm convinced that if and when Fergie tries this formation it will bring back the smiles to the faces of the players and fans alike. The game with Hull at the weekend would be the perfect time to field this new line-up. I also hope that Rafael Da Silva keeps his place in the team too, because he looks like the real deal to me.

In assembling this stellar squad, Fergie has given himself some big problems selection wise, he now has the job of keeping everyone happy while at the same time recapturing that winning consistency. It is to be hoped that if anything can focus his mind on the task at hand it is the thought of the Scousers wrecking what could be his retirement season by winning the title. Fergie, Fergie sort it out.


  1. Let's just hope Ferguson is reading this, it should be given a try against Newcastle or a club of that stature and see how it works.

  2. what we need is a leader in the centre of the park, somebody to drive us on when we aren't playing well - something we have been missing since keane left.

    what i would give for a world class central midfielder!


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