Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bayern set to give United real test as Anderson reveals hidden talent...

Fergie has every right to be a happy manager following the team's latest pre-season victory which came against Boca Juniors in the Audi Cup semi-final in the Allianz Arena last night. New signing Atonio Valencia scored on his debut, the Ecuadorian’s finish wasn't exactly exemplary and Abbondanzieri in Boca's goal will know he should have dealt with it, but if there was an element of good fortune about the finish there can be no doubt about the quality of the former Wigan star's powerful run as he carved out his own goal scoring opportunity.

Valencia's goal was straight out of Ronaldo's scrapbook and it doubled United's first-half advantage after Anderson of all people scored from a free-kick. The Brazilian's curling left foot effort was as good as any you are likely to see in the coming season - such a surprise then that it has taken Anderson so long to score his first goal for the club.

Fergie and the fans will be wondering where the goals will come next season following the exits of Ronaldo and Tevez, and it is to be hoped that United's midfield players go on to help fill the goals-scoring void that has been created with this summer's high profile departures. In the season just gone, excluding the goals scored by Ronaldo, Rooney, Berbatov and Tevez, the rest of the squad chipped in with just 15 between them and so everyone connected with United will be concerned about the champions ability to convert chances in the battles that lie ahead.

Interestingly, Michael Owen played no part in the Boca game and you wonder exactly why that was; has the former Newcastle star picked up an injury already, or was he simply rested?

Fergie and United will be wary of facing flak from supporters following what has been a disappointing summer transfer window with the club making low-key signings, but so far Owen has done extremely well and has looked sharp. It could turn out to be a masterstroke by Ferguson as the former Liverpool striker could revel in this new lease of life, but much will depend on avoiding injuries and it will be interesting to see if Owen plays any part in the final against Bayern Munich later today. Bayern are likely to give United a thorough examination after they thrashed AC Milan 4-1 in the other semi-final.

The United manager is facing several selection dilemmas, most notably the complexion of his forward line. Over the last couple of seasons for the toughest looking fixtures Fergie has abandoned 4:4:2 when opting for 4:3:3 when using Rooney wide on the left.

Over the summer Rooney has dropped several hints that he'd like to start in a more central position but this plea is likely to fall upon deaf ears as Fergie will persevere with whatever he thinks is best for team and if that means sticking with 4:3:3 then so be it.

Fergie will have been encouraged by Valencia's debut goal and he might well decide to play Macheda on his own down the middle with Rooney and the Ecuadorian on opposite flanks. Macheda is the nearest thing United have to a genuine number nine, Owen does his best work outside the box and doesn't contribute all across the forward line and Berbatov is something of a wandering free-spirit.

However, in the wake of the Ronaldo and Tevez exits Fergie has hinted he might have to do something different, those comments were interesting and open to interpretation where formation and selection issues concerned. The United manager has several options open to him and the next few weeks will reveal his intentions.

Final score Boca 1 - 2 United.

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