Thursday, September 06, 2012

RVP arrival confirms there's no substitute for class...

Robin Van Persie was a hat-trick hero on Sunday at St Mary's where United just about did enough to secure their first league away win of the season against newly promoted Southampton. And for the second game in a row, United had to score three to be sure of victory. Just like the previous weekend against Fulham, it finished up 3-2 and like many previous encounters with Southampton, it was a tense affair.

Despite scoring a quite magnificent hat-trick, Van Persie didn't have what could be described as a perfect game: he missed at least one very good opportunity to score from open play and he suffered the ignominy of fluffing his lines with a floated penalty effort which failed miserably: when they come off you look like a king, but when they go wrong you look like a **** and as Ferguson later said: "He won't do that again".

So Van Persie might have scored five on another day, but we aren't going to dwell too much on what might have been - instead let us concentrate on a few positives.

United fans will surely agree it is the first time in a long time that Ferguson has gone out and bought a player who can be genuinely considered to be at the top of his game - world class if you like (Kagawa looks good too).

His three goals against Southampton were all a bit different and special in their own right. The first was a lesson in finishing technique: He controlled the ball with his first touch and powered it home with his second. The next effort was a real poachers' goal and the third, a clever flicked header - one that was made to look easy, it was anything but.

While we can surely look forward to many more goals from RVP, his arrival is a stark reminder to us all and one suspects Ferguson too, that there really is no substitute for class. A great pity then, that Ferguson didn't go out and sign that midfield general that his team so badly lacks.

United fans were left dumbfounded when Berbatov was sold to Fulham and pretty much at the same time Dembele who'd been linked with a move to Old Trafford, was sold to Spurs. It looks as though Spurs and Daniel Levy have signed another top-class midfield player; like Modric, Dembele would have been a good United signing - but where was Ferguson when it mattered? That was the question on the lips of many a United fan just a week or so ago.

Manchester United's midfield simply isn't good enough - that fact was exposed in a wretched Champions League campaign last season. According to Ferguson, it won't happen this season - we won't make the same mistakes again. Time will tell if the United manager is right, but this blog has serious doubts about that assertion.


  1. Rooney is the man

    I think Wayne Rooney is the midfield general we've been looking for. He is tenacious, he has an excellent range of passing, he has a wicked long shot, he has incredible energy levels and an indomitable will. These are all the necessary ingrediants to begin the reincarnation of Paul Scholes.

    In Robin van Persie we have the perfect substitute for Rooney's goals. Why not pour his talents into the gaping hole in our midfield? Rooney has just finished ten years in the premier league. With that has come lots of valuable experience but also a slower and heavier body. He's said it himself, when he loses his sharpness he is no where near as good as he can be. Why persevere with a fitness battle that will only get harder and harder? Why wait until he can't cut it as a striker before moving him to midfield? Why not developed his game as a central midfielder now while he still has the time to become world class at it? Midfield is a role he could serve in a lot longer than centre forward.

    Shinji Kagawa is proficient at defence splitting passes and has a decent scoring record himself. He can flourish playing behind van Persie. I say we let him play in his natural role. Why let someone like Kagawa languish on the bench? Why force him to endure an awkward bit part role on the wings or in rotation with Rooney?

    Its going be a big season for United. Its a season where we have to face up to the fact that we were beaten by City at home and away, the two loses resulting in a further -12 goal differential between us on top of the already impressive goal difference City enjoyed thanks to their prolific form. Its a season where Chelsea have spent an incredible amount of money and will be expected to be challenging for top honours. Why let our team limp along for yet another season with an underwhelming midfield when we have a player of the calibre of Wayne Rooney capable of filling the role?

    Players change. Alan Smith made the same conversion at United. Valencia has played in central midfield for Ecuador and has even put in a few shifts at right back for United, where (I believe) he could be the defensive half of a formidable attacking threat with an in form Nani playing in front of him. And Alex Buttner and Patrice Evra both played as left wingers before their transition to left back.

    Wayne Rooney is a good striker. I won’t argue with that. I’m just saying lets not get carried away with the fanciful and romantic notion that he was anointed a striker by some god of football. What an awesome warrior he would be in United’s midfield.

  2. Not convinced about Rooney in midfield. At one time not so long ago, I thought, yes, Rooney could be that man, but now I'm not so sure.

    I honestly believe Fergie has made an almighty **** up this summer in neglecting that oh so important midfield position. Keane departed 7 years ago - we haven't even come close to finding a replacement.

  3. I agree with you on the Dembele lapse. Why does Ferguson miss these chances?

  4. Fuck your blog. Where was Ferguson when it mattered? He's been our manager for 25 years and brought us more titles then we've ever had. Do yourself a favor and switch your interests to knitting.

  5. Anon,

    IF United win the title or the CL I will be totally amazed. IMO, we will pay a high price for Fergie's failure to address our midfield issues.

    1. Haha.. if we win the title or the CL, I bet you will be totally overjoyed, like City fans winning the title for the first time in their life right?

      I will also be totally overjoyed, just like I have been with each title we have won since Roy Keane departed from OT.

      In case you didn't get my sarcasm; we actually have won the 4 PL titles and 1 CL title since Roy Keane has left us. There is nothing to be "amazed" if we won it again this season.

  6. Another fucking moan about midfield signings, or rather the lack of them. It's getting really fucking boring listening to the moans from some of our fans and their constant underrating of the players we currently have at the club and their capabilities. Maybe Fergie didn't sign Dembele because he rates the likes of Cleverley and Anderson higher than you do? Maybe he just didn't fancy him?

    James Rydell:

    "IF United win the title or the CL I will be totally amazed. IMO, we will pay a high price for Fergie's failure to address our midfield issues."

    You'll be "totally amazed" if we win the title? Seriously? You'll be totally be amazed if a club that...

    1. Missed out on the title on goal difference last season despite a season long injury crisis in both midfield and defence while their rivals had virtually none.

    2. Strengthened over the summer in every department. (F: RvP, Henriquez M: Kagawa, Powell D: Buttner)

    ...goes on to win the title?

    A large section of our fanbase have become an embarrassment. The internet has only served to highlight the stupidity of people in general and football fans in particular.

    1. At least have the bollocks to leave your name.

      And please do come back at the end of May and then we'll see who was right and who was wrong.

      The PL was quite poor last season, but it's unlikely that City will slip up as they did earlier this year especially with no African Cup of Nations.

      United were shown up for what they really have become in the CL, that is very average. Many United fans agree with my views - but I accept some fans cannot see the various problems in United's midfield.

      Anderson is one of Fergie's worst signings - he's been a waste of money. IF Cleverley gets through a season without breaking down - it will be a starting point.

    2. I'll just add this, I'll be absolutely delighted if SAF proves me wrong, but I doubt that will happen.

    3. Finally, I would also add that the problem with the internet isn't that it's full of stupid fans, it is that too many people are intolerant of the opinions of others.

  7. There have been a few missed opportunities to replace Keane over the years. But Ferguson has has a habit of taking taking time replace his legends. How did it take Schmichael, Beckham, Ruud? Hell we need a replacement for giggs, scholes and Neville still! (Rafael still isn't considered first choice)
    Most of it problems come to value for money. Targets are distracted by money bags madrid, chelsea and city. Once the ffp rules come in we could see a big change.

    1. Fergie missed out on Sneijder (15m Euros), Silva and Dembele: as far as we know he never even tried to sign any of them - that should concern all United fans if that is the case.

    2. And as far as we know he did try to sign all of them - the fact is none of us know!

    3. No he didn't - because if had he'd have told us all if he had (like he continues to do of late).

      PS. I made a couple of BIG mistakes earlier in my replies, ref Jose and ACN. Apologies for that, but I stand by my main point that is Mancini is every bit as dangerous as Mourinho and that's why SAF needed to bring in new blood ref central midfield. If Fergie goes on to win the title or the CL - I will be amazed.

  8. To anyone who disagrees with my thoughts and comments on United. Just leave your predictions so we can review them at the season end. It is a game of opinions: I don't expect everyone to agree with mine - but don't expect me to agree with yours either.


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