Friday, August 05, 2011

Fergie facing potential Sneijder selection headache as United prepare to welcome returning Fletcher...

The news that Darren Fletcher is about to return to full training will be welcomed by everyone connected with Manchester United. The Scot missed much of last season due to suffering with a "mystery virus", but the former United trainee completed a full training session earlier this week and he finally looks to be on the road to full recovery. Fletcher's game is built on work-rate and it remains to be seen how long it will take him to return to full match fitness.

While acknowledging Fletcher's contribution to the champions cause in recent years, it's fair to state that he wasn't missed that badly last season, certainly not on the domestic front with United winning the Premier League title again.

Ferguson - along with every top manager in Europe - is striving to unlock the Barcelona code; United have suffered more than most at the feet of the Catalans' having lost twice in the Champions League final in the last three years and convincingly so. If, United are to have any hope of overcoming Barcelona, then the manager simply must improve his midfield options and his players must make better use of the ball by not giving it away cheaply, and by retaining possession.

Fletcher's strength centres on his ability to break up the play by winning the ball back - that coupled with his boundless energy, but there is room for improvement when it comes to his passing.

United are on the trail of Wesley Sneijder and reports suggest a very good offer has been tabled and so now it is a waiting game. The arrival of the Inter Milan maestro cannot happen soon enough following weeks of speculation.

While the arrival of a player like Sneijder will be welcomed, and rightly so, it will be interesting to see how the player slots into the United team and how this will affect the managers tactical planning.

United are at their counter-attacking best when there's two strikers and two wingers in the team. When his powers were at the their peak, Paul Scholes often occupied one of the two central midfield slots alongside Roy Keane, however, the arrival of Juan Veron in 2001 had consequences for Scholes.

With a newly acquired silky midfield star at his disposal, Ferguson initially tried to utilise Scholes as a second striker with a view to making best use of his attacking assets,  but that ploy didn't work and as a result Scholes eventually ended up on the left wing in some games; clearly this was a fudge and it wasn't making best use of England's finest midfield general.

Roll the clock forward to 2011 and Ferguson faces a different set of problems, because Sneijder is very much like Scholes, but if anything, he is more suited to playing in that slightly more advanced position behind the main striker. In the bread and butter Premier League games, there will be no problem; Sneijder is likely to fill one of the two central midfield slots, but in the most difficult looking fixtures, especially tough European assignments, Ferguson will have plenty to think about.

The United manager will more than likely rest either Rooney or Hernandez and Sneijder will play in front of the two central midfield players. Hernandez is the most likely to stand down in this scenario. First things first though, obviously, United have to sign Sneijder and pondering who to leave out will be a nice problem for the manager. The Veron, Scholes selection headache was much more of an issue for Ferguson, because it had a really negative impact on the then England star.


  1. im glad fletcher is back always works so hard for the team

  2. Well, Hugh, I have a feeling you won't see Fletcher back to what we expect for a couple of months. It will take him that long to get back to full match-fitness. I think we can expect to see Fletcher on the bench more often than in the past.

  3. sneijder is a must if MU is to win its 4th CL crown,a fully fit and a player in his prime!fletcher is simply nowhere near full fitness and we still havent been told the whole story as regards his strange disease......

  4. I agree Kim. I can see City really Pasting Untied on Sunday.


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