Anderson crocked but Rooney returns for Geordie clash

Sir Alex Ferguson has ruled out strengthening Manchester United’s midfield this winter, despite a growing list of long-term injuries. Brazilian midfielder Anderson will not return until February after suffering a recurring knee injury, while Tom Cleverley is out until Christmas. The injuries leave Ferguson with just two senior central midfielders – Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick – in an area of the squad that many pundits believe is the club’s weakest.

Injuries leave Ferguson short of cover in midfield ahead of the club’s fixture with high-flying Newcastle United this Saturday, although the Scot is boosted by Wayne Rooney’s return to fitness. Although Rooney is unlikely to play in midfield at the weekend, the Scouser has been frequently used in the engine room this season. However, Ferguson, who has often stated that there “is no value in the market”, now says there are no midfielders available that are good enough for United.

“It is easy to say you are going to buy players but it is not easy to buy them for Manchester United, especially in January,” he said.

“I do not see anyone who could make us a better team. There are two or three players but they are not available, so there is no point even going there. Criticism is fine as long as it’s balanced. Anderson and Tom Cleverley have been injured and those two, in particular, have tremendous potential – they’re fantastic young players. So we’re missing two very important cogs in the machine.

“Darren Fletcher has had his issues and Michael Carrick has been injured a few times, so we’re trying to achieve a consistent midfield operation. And it’s not just the midfield – you’ve also got to look at the back four, which we’ve been changing all the time. We’ve done exceptionally well in spite of that.

“Everyone’s saying ‘go out and buy a central midfield player’. If we’d seen a young Bryan Robson or Roy Keane, we’d have been the first there. The possibilities of improving our team are not lost on us. I don’t see anyone really who that can make us a better team from the players who are possibly available.”

Manchester United v Newcastle United, Premier League, 27 November 2011The Scot will, however, welcome back captain Nemanja Vidic, who missed the midweek draw with Benfica through suspension. The Serbian is likely to be partnered by Rio Ferdinand, who will play his fifth game in a row. The former England captain has not achieved that feat in more than two years.

Elsewhere, Ferguson is unlikely to make major changes against a side that suffered its first defeat of the Premier League season last weekend. Indeed, Newcastle’s 3-1 loss to Manchester City is a blip on the Geordies’ record in an otherwise successful campaign built on solid defence, which is the joint meanest in the Premier League. Newcastle’s progress this season is all the more surprising given the loss of Andy Carroll, Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan in recent months.

Meanwhile, Pardew expects both Chieck Tiote and Leon Best to return, while former United winger Gabriel Obertan should face his former club having overcome an injury that ruled the Frenchman out of the defeat to City. And the former West Ham United coach believes that Newcastle’s chances of a first victory at Old Trafford in 39 years is boosted by the Reds’ ‘transitional’ phase this season.

“United have tweaked their game, probably because of what happened in the Champions League final against Barça,” said the Newcastle manager.

“United are looking to improve and have a little bit more movement going on and a little bit more thought as to what they are doing. They are in a little bit of a transition but remain a fantastic and highly motivated team really wanting to close that gap on Manchester City.”

“Rooney’s a big part of United’s change in terms of having a bit more movement and making it a bit more problematic to pin them down. The midfield role does not diminish him. You don’t know where he’s going to go. He’s popping up everywhere.”

“Although they remain a major force, I think to play Manchester United now is probably a slight advantage because they’re in a bit of a transition. They’re getting better but the second half of the season is when they’ll really come into their own.”

However, Newcastle arrive at Old Trafford with Ferguson’s team still smarting from the disappointing draw with Benfica. The Geordies’ visit is made all the harder in the knowledge that the team has not returned from the fixture with three points in the past 27 visits. And while United is currently five points behind City in the Premier League, Ferguson’s side is actually four points better off than at the same stage last season.

Match Facts
Manchester United versus Newcastle United, Premier League, Old Trafford, Saturday 26 November 2011, 3pm

Likely Line-ups
United (4-4-1-1): De Gea; Jones, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Nani, Fletcher, Carrick, Young; Rooney; Hernandez. Subs from: Lindegaard, Fabio, Rafael, Pogba, Evans, Fryers, Carrick, Berbatov, Park, Valencia, Diouf.

Newcastle (4-5-1): Krul; Simpson, Coloccini, S Taylor, R Taylor; Obertan, Guthrie, Cabaye, Gutierrez; Ben Arfa; Ba. Subs from: Sa Ameobi, Elliot, Santon, Perch, Gosling, Smith, Lovenkrands, Sh Ameobi

United: WWWWDW
Newcastle: DWLWWL

Performance stats

  • Javier Hernández was on target again for United’s third successive 1-0 win since the 6-1 loss to City in September. The Mexican has now got five goals this season from just 16 attempts at goal. The goal lifted him 33 places to 35th in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index;
  • Michael Carrick covered more ground than any other United player against Swansea with 9,020 metres;
  • Wayne Rooney (40) and Carrick (39) were the two players to complete the most passes in their opponent’s half in the game against Swansea, as Rooney maintained his position as the top ranked player in the Index;
  • Another clean sheet also enabled David de Gea to become the third ranked goalkeeper in the Index behind Joe Hart and Brad Friedel;
  • Newcastle’s remarkable unbeaten run came to an end against City, in a game in which Steve Taylor made four blocks. Only Vincent Kompany has made more in a single game this season with five against Wigan Athletic.

Referee: Mike Jones (Chester)
Assistants: D Bond, J Flynn
Fourth Official: C Foy

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  1. Damian Garside says

    He always was arrogant, but if Fergie really said thet there are no midfielders out there he has become delusional.Or he is saying things which he doesn’t really believe. I am not sure which is more disturbing: madness or chronic dishonesty.

    Truth is, we have precious few players at United now worthy of playing for United — which is why we were taken to the cleaners at home by the neighbours and totally unocnvincing in what really looks like the weakest qualifying group in the CL.

    Back to Fergie: there is no ways we will win anything with a dewlusional manager. It;’s like a contradiction in terms. Sad thing is — when I said few of the current players are worthy f playing for United — its Fergie himself and his great teams who set the yardstick as to what is a great United team.

    I am thinking now — he needs to step down, not because of the team– because f*** the team, United will always bounce back in a season or two. No, its him — he is, it seems to me, on this downward trajectory and it is not going to work out well for the man in terms of enhancing his legacy. Just imagine the shit about refs and what not he is going to come up with if City win the league (and their dropping out of Europe, if it happens — will not be good news for us, because it means that they will be able to focus everything on winning the league. And what worries me is that they have the power to instantly bounce back if they hit a bump in the road — imagine them losing 3-0 to Chelsea at the Bridge: you can bet big money that the next team to come to the Eithad will need to bring their calculators along to count the golas against.

    So: Newcastle> This is a must win game — City beat them 3-1 last week — and so if we don’t win, the negative comparisons will not help morale.

  2. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    so has he completely disregarded the idea of signing potential new scholes’s then, he’s just looking for new keanes or robsons, ie box to box types who no longer exist in the modern game

    so we’re looking for midfielders that don’t exist to solve our problem, excellent

    and again, if that’s his definition of what a utd midfielder should be, why did he sign carrick

  3. DeadRevel says

    Damian Garside, are you a City fan?

    Cleverley is a great midfielder, just the kind we need. And with him in the team, Anderson was in excellent form too. Since Clev was injured Anderson has been awful and so has the team. We also have Pogba and Morrison who look to be potential world beaters.

    We just need one midfielder to stem the tide when we get injuries. No crisis. We’re second in the league, and before Cleverley was injured, everyone was saying how brilliant we looked and how we were definitely going to win the league.

    Personally I hope he lets Pogba or Morrison have a go in central midfield. Got to be better than Giggs, Rooney or Fletch at the moment.

    • Damian Garside says

      Shame we didn’t get a killer big win as expected — it would have helped your assessment of what is needed look a little less insane.

      For the record, I’ve been supporting United since before you had your first period.

  4. Sidsidney says

    We can’t be shit in the final third like we have been for the last 7 or 8 games, because that’s what’s killing us as much as the shite midfield
    We must be able to pass the ball to another red shirt

  5. says

    Sid, its the shit midfield and commplete lack of leadership on the pitch that’s the problem. A forwards need the right type of ball not any old wanky pass deflected of someone’s shin. No wonder rooney drops so deep – cunt is thinking I might as well get the ball myself

  6. Sidsidney says

    de Gea




    SUBS: Lindegaard, Smalling, Evans, Gibson, Valencia, Park, Macheda

  7. Sidsidney says

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    carrick and giggs again

    How has it come to this

    Giggs was an abomination against Swansea

    He ain’t a midfielder, he’s bodging

  8. says

    just got in, good session at the driving range hitting the ball pretty clea and putting starting to look good again. good game, golf.

    glad I went 0-0 against the barcode savageg managed by alan partridge. i take it we have been shit, uninspired and more boring than George Grahams’s Arsenal?

  9. Violent Banana says

    How the hell did the linesman not see the ball change direction when Ferdinand made the challenge? Abysmal decision

  10. han says

    bitters 7 points ahead this time tomorrow
    scousers will lie down with their butts held open no doubt
    this game shows whats fucked with us – need to lose a goal before any fucking urgency kicks in
    we are fucking clueless even against 10 men

  11. han says

    before SAF blames the ref he should look at that team selection and his tactics today
    newcastle were nothing spectacular but this is the story of a team thats scared to play like we know they can and doesnt believe in itself
    ffs get that city game out of the system

  12. Sidsidney says

    That was never a penalty. And Hernandez’s late goal looks onside to me

    The cunt ref got in the way of Rooney when he was first to a ball. The doss cunt just didn’t move. So Rooney got to the ball late and gave away a foul. He also got in the way of Young who couldn’t put a ball into the box because the ref was cutting off the route. And he didn’t even fucking realise!

    However… We missed some fucking great chances. We failed to overcome the refs fuck ups and City will be loving it

  13. says

    Taggart sounds worried about Shitty

    “I didn’t think anyone in the ground thought it was a penalty apart from the assistant referee. The referee thought it was a corner. He was nearer to it. He was only eight yards away. It was an absolute travesty. The problem is that assistants are not full-time even if the referees are. You give Newcastle credit, but we made so many chances you think its not going to be your day. Are City getting too far ahead? “It would in April.”

  14. sheesh says

    Fucking gutted. We should have battered them. Ashley had a terrible game. Even then we should have murdered them. Shows how possession counts for nothing if you don’t take chances. Couldn’t tell from where i was sat whether it was a pen or not. At least most performances were good.

  15. says

    Lauro telling it like it is.

    Mark Lawrenson on BBC Radio 5Live:

    “You have to be 100% certain to give a penalty and if that linesman was 100% certain then he needs to get down to specsavers on Monday morning.”

  16. sheesh says

    Penalty or not, we should have won the match. We had plenty of time to find a winner. Officials cock up all the time. That is football.

  17. dozer says

    sheesh said:
    Penalty or not, we should have won the match. We had plenty of time to find a winner. Officials cock up all the time. That is football.

    yeah… Fergie should have brought off Fabio a lot earlier.
    Where were the substitutions to make the difference?

    Hernandez had a bad day but he was the only one apart from Young who looked like scoring today. Nani did ok, he should’ve done better.

  18. captainhormonecaptainhormone says

    nani’s passing was akin to a spastic auditioning for the part of free willy in die hard….starring a zombified version of leslie nielson, as frank drebin….hunting for madeline mcCann…

    with aids

  19. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    I’ve been told that from the linesmans position it did look a foul, that’s good enough for me


  20. captainhormonecaptainhormone says

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    I’ve been told that from the linesmans position it did look a foul, that’s good enough for me


    Me too now…



  21. han says

    captainhormone said:
    Me too now…



    thats really not nice

  22. captainhormonecaptainhormone says

    and you treat LKHF how exactly????…enough of this shit…respect your mentors and peers ffs…

    you’ve gotten off lightly for far too long ffs….

  23. han says

    captainhormone said:
    and you treat LKHF how exactly????…enough of this shit…respect your mentors and peers ffs…

    you’ve gotten off lightly for far too long ffs….

    oh put your whip away you cruel cruel man

  24. captainhormonecaptainhormone says

    han said:
    oh put your whip away you cruel cruel man

    cruel?? oh my god…..Han….



    assume the position and honour me…LKHf..and …spike

  25. han says

    captainhormone said:
    cruel?? oh my god…..Han….



    assume the position and honour me…LKHf..and …spike

    SAF 1 and only
    berbs for next manager

  26. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    ham is small fry, making him and spike look like laughing stocks is old hat
    were after taggart and lesserly his bastard offspring



  27. sheesh says

    Pikey McScum said:
    Why weren’t we battering them for the ENTIRE game as opposed to the last ten mins?

    Our decision making in the final third was abysmal in the first half, we tested the keeper more in the second half especially after newcastle equalised. I can’t believe we couldn’t score a second. Thoroughly pissed off.

  28. han says

    wonder if the scousers will put up a fight this afternoon or lie down and spread their cheeks
    such a dilemma – hate both the clubs with a passion but i feel really dirty wanting a scouse win
    still, neccessity is the mother of invention is it not?

  29. han says

    brianofnazareth said:

    LKHF OUT…I’ve had enough of this shit! spoilt glory fucking bum boys!! Long live Fergal!

    clap clap clap
    SAF & Berbs for ever and a day
    fuck LKHF and all who sail in her

  30. han says

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    ham is small fry, making him and spike look like laughing stocks is old hat

    were after taggart and lesserly his bastard offspring

    why are you so spiteful? deprived childhood (depraved no doubt); small cock for sure
    SAF has done everything he can in the past 25 years to make this club the institution it is and yet you want someone big time charlie like mourinho taking the helm

  31. Sidsidney says

    Just realised Gibson was on the bench yesterday

    How embarassing having to rely on a player we rejected because there simply aren’t enough bodies

    I never thought I would see horrors like Fletcher and Gibson ever again

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