Manchester don’t seem United anymore. Without Roy Keane marshalling the midfield, and Paul Scholes almost refusing to take command, sans old hands like Gary and Phil Neville and Nicky Butt, this team doesn’t play like one. Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s too far front and too much of a striker to call the shots; strikers have this penchant for going for glory, and very few like Alan Shearer (from what I’ve seen) can play the role of captain and striker effectively.
They say that the midfield maketh the football team. For Manchester, the downfall began with the defence. It was almost as if Rio Ferdinand’s suspension because he failed to take a drugs test knocked the stuffing out of the Defence. Silvestre and Wes Brown were poor in the air and every stop gap arrangement seemed to be incapable of rising to the challenge as Manchester let in a majority of goals through rising headers. Just when you thought they’d strengthen the midfiend, Fergie went out and bought two strikers. Later, he brought in Heinze, but as good as he’s been as a winger, more than a defender, the defence clearly lacks muscle. Toure, anyone?
Van der Saar was probably their best buy for ages. I was contemptuous of Roy Carrol and indifferent towards Tim Howard, and Fabian Barthez seemed to have left a void. Van der Saar’s season began quite well, though I feel rather sorry for Fulham who lost both Louis Saha and Van der Saar to ManUtd. With a 4-4-2 formation, United needs four at the back, and John O’Shea is a stop-gap defender.
Okay…just read that Roy Keane has said more or less the same thing here.
I don’t entirely agree with Keano, though. United has been hit by injury.
The Sunday match against Chelsea should be exciting. The last time United performed this bad, they turned things around by hitting the then champions Arsenal out of the match. They pushed, shoved and tackled, and ended Arsenal’s 49 match winning streak with a win at Old Trafford. Arsenal didn’t recover from that for months, and lost the Premiership to Chelsea. Manchester recovered to challenge for the Premiership. Sir Alex might probably use the same tactics, but Jose Mourinho’s a sly one. He’s probably prepared for everything Sir Alex can dish out. The real question, though, is- are Manchester united anymore? Or a major reshuffle in the team due when the transfer window opens next.