Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Shield: Fergie must be bold against Chelsea...

United take on Chelsea this weekend in the Community Shield at Wembley, the United manager knows full well the eyes of the world will be focused on the curtain raiser to the new Premier League season that kicks-off next weekend.

The west London club have not been that busy in the transfer market and so we pretty know what to expect from Chelsea - they are powerful in all departments, especially in midfield - and it's here where United could be vulnerable on Sunday. This could well be Paul Scholes last season; the 35 year-old cannot carry on forever and ahead of the big game Ferguson has stated his most creative force cannot be relied upon to play week-in week-out.

United have been strongly linked to Germany's world cup star, Mesut Ozil, but sadly it doesn't look like any deal will happen this summer and so Ferguson will have to make do with what his lot. There will be no Michael Carrick due to injury and reports suggest he's available for transfer should the club receive an acceptable offer. Darren Fletcher is a willing work-horse but he cannot expected to do it all on his own.

Contrary to press speculation Tom Cleverley will not be going out on loan this season - that is he won't unless Ferguson signs a proven midfield player before the transfer window closes at the end of August.

So how will Ferguson approach the Shield clash with Chelsea and can we expect fireworks from United? The answer to those questions will be answered on Sunday, but for now here's our predictions.

Ferguson will probably start with his most experienced players. United will line up with a four-four-two formation with Berbatov and Rooney up front. Rooney needs more game time and Berbatov could yet find himself warming the bench this season with competition for places hotting up - the pressure is on the Bulgarian from the first kick, but Ferguson is likely to give Berbatov a few chances to prove his worth, before demoting him back down the pecking order. Owen will all most certainly be introduced at half-time as a replacement for Rooney and Hernandez will replace Berbatov at some point.

In midfield, we think Fergie will start with Scholes and Fletcher in central midfield and on the flanks it will be Park and Nani (or Valencia).

The make-up of United's back four is less certain due to injuries; the right-back slot could be filled by John O'Shea or Rafael if the Brazilian is fit. Evans will be probably start at left-back with Smalling and Vidic in the centre.

Ferguson will more than likely start with Van der Sar, but he might rotate his 'keepers at some point.

If United are going to take first blood and lay down a marker ahead of the new season, then Ferguson must be bold and he must introduce Cleverley at some point to see how he fares against the best. Ferguson is unlikely to win on Sunday if he starts with anything other than a four-four-two formation because Rooney isn't yet fit enough to lead the line on his own as he often did, almost single-handedly, when carrying United last season.

Star bets:
Anytime scorer: William Hill are offering odds on Vidic of 13.00 (13/1) while Eurobet have Chris Smalling at 13.00 (13/1)
First scorer or last scorer: are offering both Vidic or Smalling at 41.00 (40/1)

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1 comment:

  1. Thought we did very well on sunday. I thought Chelsea would win so I was most impressed.
    The only real negative I took from the game was Rooney again not hitting the net - think a goal would do him the world of good.
    There were many positives. Chicharito scoring was fantastic and its looking like he will maintain his world cup and preseason form into the new season. I dont like to big up expectation on such a young kid with no european football experience but unless Rooney starts scoring soon then this guy could well be our top scorer this season.
    The other positive was Berbatov. Im fed up to the back teeth of him but moments like his goal on sunday make me wonder if maybe, just maybe, he will show signs of being the player we signed. Fingers crossed he can maintain some form - at least why Rooney is misfiring.


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