Saturday, August 29, 2009

Arsenal will provide ultimate test for 'new look' United ..

Later today United take on Arsenal in what will be an intriguing contest. The Gunners' recently sold Adebayor and Toure to big-spending neighbours Manchester City, but despite predictions of doom, Wenger's young team have so far confounded their many critics’.

In contrast to Arsenal and following the loss of Ronaldo and Tevez, the champions have looked short of ideas in front of goal. United's early season form has been mixed, last weekend they hammered Wigan when scoring five second-half goals, but prior to that they suffered one of the most embarrassing defeats in the last thirty years when losing one-nil to Burnley.

Many United fans are asking if the manager actually knows what his strongest team is and they have concerns about midfield amidst talk of dressing-room unrest, this follows on from a highly publicised 'spat' with Anderson. The Brazilian subsequently issued a statement saying he didn't want to leave following reports linking Anderson with a summer transfer. Ferguson has also denied those bust-up claims when describing them as "rubbish".

Michael Carrick has also fallen under the spotlight with reports linking him with a move; the former Spurs player was omitted from the squad that narrowly won against Birmingham and again for the trip to Wigan last weekend.

According to Ferguson, both Carrick and Anderson have been "rested" in the name of squad rotation. But the fans will be asking why on earth the manager feels the need to rest players after just three games...

Rotation issues aside, the manager's early season selection policy of chopping and changing adds weight to the theory that Ferguson doesn't know what his strongest team is. Fergie says he wants to give Darron Gibson as many games as possible, but despite this assertion his actions will only serve to inflame the speculation given expensive signings like Carrick and Anderson appear to have been axed in preference to a youngster.

Many pundits expect Ferguson to make at least one more signing, but you wonder if the champions could be about to off-load more big name players before the window closes. As ever a lot will depend on any offers the club receives; Anderson and Carrick are not officially up for sale so it will be interesting to see if either takes part in today's game.

Arsenal could be without Fabregas which could be a blessing; the Spaniard has been in superb form, but he's been given a 50/50 chance of playing at Old Trafford. No one is actually certain about the United line-up, as the manager could be about to spin his lottery selection wheel once more, but we know that Ferdinand and Van der Sarr are both injured and so they will miss-out.


  1. I don't know, but I have an awful feeling that United will get skinned by Arsenal today. The midfield will be too unsteady, and the full-backs too (Evra can be caught out of position, and I don't even want to start about United's poor right-back situation) and not even with Vidic, Evans and Foster in the form of their lives, will we be able to prevent two or three, if not more, goals going in.

    Here's to hoping that won't happen

  2. Uday,

    It might well happen and if it does it will only serve to highlight the current squad's shortcomings and it will also highlight the fact that there was much work to do this summer, but first there has be to be an acceptance regarding that point of view...

    A bad result today following on from the disgrace at Burnley will surely add weight to suggestion that is a team in decline.

    Liverpool are also suffering as a result of poor buying and their decision to allow Alonso to leave.

    There's a wind of change blowing through the PL and you do wonder how it will pan out.

    You never know United might win today, but even if they do I for one I am not expecting much from the current squad this season there's too many weaknesses.

  3. James,

    I agree with you that United currently look short of options all over the park, not to mention their over-dependence on Rooney for all the creative playmaking. I however feel United have enough quality to get another PL title under their belt. Squad rotation was done to a large extent last season too and it worked out just fine.
    I strongly feel a number of players are going to step up this season, we can already see a change in attitude in Nani, plus Berba's beginning to find his feet. Kiko, Rafa, Fabio and Danny will also play their part in what will be a great team effort this time around. 19 it shall be come May 2010!!

    and hopefully 4 too.. :)

  4. Abhilash,

    According to the Times today there are problems between the manager Carrick and Anderson - although they are only reporting what others have already stated, but it certainly looks like there's more to this than just rotation... something has gone on. It's too early to be rotating to this degree and so the points made in my post are valid, at least I think so.

    I agree with your point about Rooney, there really isn't much more he can give, anyone who thinks otherwise is watching a different game than myself.

    Regarding having enough to win the league again, I seriously doubt that actually. I'd settle for a top for place right now if it were offered.

  5. I agree with Abhilash in his assessment of Nani, who does look to be stepping up, but I'm afraid--especially in games like today's--that the manager might let us down. What formation will he play and what players will he ask to play it?

    If he is to keep faith with Rooney, he can go with a 4-4-2, or leave out Berbatov and play a 4-3-3 with Rooney up top between Nani and Valencia (Park, Carrick, and Fletcher in midfield). I believe playing 4-4-2 against Arsenal would be suicide (our midfield would be overrun), so I'd prefer the second formation with those players (if available). What I'm afraid will happen, however, is we will see Park take Nani's place and Anderson will join Carrick and Fletcher in midfield.

    The selection at right-back also interests me. I'd like to see Brown start there, as he sometimes has those embarrassing miscommunications with the goalie when he plays center-back. Plus he'd probably overlap with Valencia marginally better than O'Shea.

    I don't have a good feeling about this one (hope I'm wrong).


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