Monday, August 31, 2009

Fergie made a post Ronaldo plan, he damn well needs to stick to it.

IF Saturday's extremely fortuitous victory was any sort of reliable indicator then it seems Ferguson's post Ronaldo plans are in tatters, because for far too long against Arsenal the United manager persisted with just Wayne Rooney up front that was until the 85th minute when he belatedly sent on Dimitar Berbatov. It actually took the champions until the 92 minute to create their first genuine goal-scoring opportunity, only for the cruel bounce of the ball to make United's Bulgarian striker look a bit stupid as he fluffed his lines.

In the wake of Saturday's lucky victory Mike Phelan has said 'there's work to be done', we don't quite know what that means given the club have so far failed to take advantage of the opportunity to bring in reliable genuine proven quality where new signings are concerned this summer. Owen is injury prone and Valencia is very much unproven at the very highest level. One is left to assume that Fergie's assistant is referring to the current squad, but it's questionable if those tasked with taking the club forward post Ronaldo and Tevez are good enough to do the job.

Rival fans and pundits alike had claimed that if you took Ronaldo out then Ferguson's team would be very average and going off United's early season performances they are right.

Ferguson had promised that we would see United playing 'differently' this season, when quizzed what that actually meant the Scot said that Berbatov would play alongside Rooney up top. It was a simple solution to a not so simple problem and one that will continue to be questioned.

On Saturday, and no doubt fearing a midfield mauling by Wenger's young guns, Ferguson abandoned the idea of playing two strikers and instead he opted to flood the midfield. It was a decision that very nearly backfired spectacularly.

United's five man midfield didn't stop Arshavin from nearly bursting the rigging and but for mistakes by Almunia and Diaby which led to the visitors eventually gifting United the points the champions would have lost two games out of just four.

Playing Rooney on his own as the main striker is never going to work, not when the manager is relying on players like Valencia, Fletcher, Nani and Carrick to score goals. Clearly and despite fears that United's midfield isn't strong enough, the manager needs to stick to his initial plan of starting with two strikers - any other option is doomed to failure - that is unless United continue to be extremely lucky, but as everyone knows in football, good luck and the decisions, both good and bad tend to even themselves out over the season.

Fergie made a plan he needs to stick to it, if he doesn't and he continues to play Rooney as the lone striker, United's attacks will continue to break down and the ball will keep on coming back which will eventually lead to the midfield and defence being over-worked, and that in turn leads to mistakes.

The merits of Rooney and Berbatov partnership is another huge talking point, what is beyond doubt is the fact that neither one of them is capable of consistently providing the goal-scoring solution on their own and therefore two strikers playing together has to be better than just one.

On a weekend of good fortune there was however yet more good news to report, because United's next opponents have been rocked with the news that Modric has suffered a serious injury and he will miss the clash with the champions. Despite the loss of Modric, Spurs will still give United a thorough examination and there's no doubt that Fergie and his players will have to rise to the occasion which didn't really happen against Arsenal.


  1. The question here is, was there really a plan?! I was worried when Rooney said that no one was sure who had to take the penalties! I mean this is the sort of thing you would expect to have been discussed and practiced on during pre-season and practice. As far as the 442 goes, we definitely do not have the conventional winger who can both take on players with speed, dribble well and contribute goals while putting in crosses. Those are the expectations at United!! I hope Obertan, Tosic are going to bring that unknown factor to our game!!!

  2. Fergie himself is may be nerveous after losing Ronaldo and Tevez, and he repeated the same mistakes as last season, playing only 1 striker against top oppositions, which nearly proved fatal against arsenal. If possible he should have gone for another big play maker in the transfer market instead of bringing in players like Obertan to the team

  3. Ferguson's post Ronaldo plans involved a dozen things falling perfectly into place.So far, none of them have.

    Valencia is at loss for ideas to lose defenders, his only weapon seems to be his pace.Quite simply,where are the tricks that are trademark of an United winger?

    I agree with you that Rooney-Berbatov pairing is not prolific enough,and that's not very reassuring.

    Our mid-field misery became all too apparent against Arsenal.According to Fergie's master plan, Nani and Ando should have established themselves by now, sadly they haven't, that I'm afraid might really hurt us.

    Now that we are quite certain there will be no last-minute signing, I believe the solutions to the above problems should be worked out with the resources we have.

    I think the only way Valencia can find spaces for crossing is by combining with an adventurous full back like the Da-Silva twins.

    Coming to the mid-field discommodes, I read on this blog the idea of using Rooney as a mid-fielder. I feel quite enthusiastic about it and i think it should be given a try.Rooney can pass with the accuracy of a laser gun and is very positive going forward.He can also get into scoring positions when the defense is stretched wide by the wingers. Most importantly, this would create a vacancy for out-and-out goal scorer like Owen or Kiko.

  4. Elvido,

    I think there was a plan and it basically went like this: "We aren't going to spend any money and go with what we've got"...

    As much as I'm not convinced about the partnership of Rooney and Berbatov it has to be better than either one of them on their own up front as was the case against Arsenal.

    Good point about pentalties though. I doubt Tosic is going to make it at United he looks as though he needs to toughen up for the PL. As for Obertan, not sure about him tbh - Blanc more or less said he's a basket case so again the the jury is out on him.

  5. Rit$h,

    Regarding this business of playing 451 (it was more like 433 last season) when we had Ronaldo Fergie could get away with it, but not any more. You do wonder if that penny has dropped now, I think it might have done following Phelan's "work to do comments" after the Arsenal game.

    It's too late for any big name signings. Fergie has wasted a big opportuntiy. Why didn't we make a move for Adebayor and or Barry?

  6. Reddy,

    Pretty much agree with all of that. I think it's only a matter of time before we see Rooney in midfield, but don't hold your breath waiting for Kiko to get his chance. Owen is blocking his path.

    I'm actually wondering if Fergie is going to sell Kiko, it wouldn't be the first time he's cashed in on a youngster before giving them a fair chance. Pique is a perfect example of that and boy what a big dropped bollock that has turned out to be now. With that said I think he really did want to move back to Spain and Kiko could do likewise back to Italy...

    Regarding Fergie's so called plan, the notion that Rooney and Berbatov was going to solve our goal-scoring problems is a complete nonsense, then you factor in our other low-scoring players and you have to come to the conclusion that it was a lousy half-arsed solution. But as I've mentioned two strikers has to be a better alternative than one...(in our case)


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