Saturday, November 19, 2011

Message to Fergie: Forget about City and concentrate on Manchester United...

Manchester United may well have won every game since that embarrassing 6-1 derby thrashing - but the quality of the football has been very poor by the champions standards. One cannot help but feel that Ferguson is reassessing United's tactics and formation in the wake of that comprehensive defeat. United have played two league games since the derby, there was no wingers in the team that started against Everton at Goodison Park, Nani and Valencia were left on the bench. Nani started against Sunderland, but the overall performance in both games was poor. Perhaps the biggest single change since the derby has been Rooney dropping back into midfield.

A lot of observers believe that Rooney's future could well be in midfield, that theory has been the subject of debate for a while, but the fact that Ferguson has asked Rooney to play in midfield on three occasions since the derby suggests the manager is not happy. According to Fergie, the reason Rooney has been deployed in midfield is down to injuries. Not So. At Everton, United had Nani, and Valencia on the bench. Rooney and Cleverley started in midfield at Goodison Park, but sadly that partnership had to be broken up after just 17 minutes thanks to yet another injury to Cleverley, who we are told will be out until Christmas - a blow of such significance that it could potentially effectively hand the Premier League title to Manchester City.

Against Sunderland, Rooney was once again deployed in midfield when Carrick and Fabio were both on the bench. Make no mistake, Fergie most definitely IS going through a very dark period, we firmly believe the United manager is reevaluating everything about his team, the players at his disposal and his formation.

While many fans will see the potential virtues of harnessing Rooney and Cleverley together in central midfield, one has to ask if Fergie's thinking has become clouded. We have to keep recent events in perspective. Yes, United were given the mother of all thrashings by City, but the champions are more than capable of beating the rest of the league and come to that most of Europe's leading clubs if they stick to what United have done down the years and that is to attack teams using the full width of the pitch with wingers.

Fergie has to stop worrying about City and the manner of that defeat and get back to what United do best and that is to attack. There is nothing the manager can do in the short term about City - the time to add quality to midfield has been and gone. Nonetheless, it is worth asking why didn't United spot the potential of David Silva - perhaps Fergie was too wrapped up in chasing Wesley Sneijder? What now looks to be beyond question is the fact that the manager failed to adequately strengthen his midfield options over the last few transfer windows - that charge has been underlined with the recent deployment of Rooney in the engine room.

On the subject of Manchester City's spending power - obviously no other club can compete, but it's worth pointing out that City have spent over £460m on new players in the last four years. However, according to MUST, United have spent over £523m on servicing the Glazers debts over the last six years...clearly, United could compete with City if it wasn't for the owners who saddled the club with so much debt - what's more, that money has been generated by United - it hasn't been given to the club by an oil rich nation.

United have travelled to Wales to take on Swansea later today, nothing less than three points will do with Manchester City looking in serious danger of running away with the Premier League.

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