Fergie’s folly offers some positives

September 15, 2010 Tags: , , Reads 8 comments

Fans have criticised Sir Alex Ferguson for the selection he deployed against Rangers on Tuesday night. Vindication for his critics came in the lack of creativity shown by the Scot’s team during the dour scoreless draw. Despite dominating possession, United was largely reduced to goalmouth scrambles and long-range shots.

However, those wholesale changes also made the game interesting, with United fans offered the chance to pass judgement on some of the fringe players who came into the team.

At the back, Fabio da Silva and Chris Smalling, both of whom were among the better performers on the pitch, were given an opportunity to shine. Smalling, in particular, looked calm and collected, with only one clumsy challenge  giving any cause for concern.

True, it wasn’t the sternest of tests for the young defender, with Rangers camped in their own half. Smalling and partner Rio Ferdinand rarely had to see off the threat of Glaswegian counter-attacks but the former Fulham defenders passing was impressive, as he often found players in space who were able to move the ball up-field.

Fabio also looked secure at the back, with one sliding tackle in particular rousing the Old Trafford faithful. The Brazilian also showed a willingness to get forward and his substitution for Jonny Evans in the 75th minute made little sense. Fabio, whilst not always accurate with his crossing, at least presented an outlet for United on the left.

In the midfield, Darron Gibson and Park Ji-Sung came into the team, replacing two players who have impressed this season – Nani and Paul Scholes.

Gibson has been much criticised for his role against Rangers, being too often driven to shoot from range. But in his defence, with Rangers camped inside their own area, Wayne Rooney and Darren Fletcher often looked to the Irishman as an outlet.

Amongst several wild efforts, two shots just missing the target either side of half time were impressive. Furthermore, Gibson at least tried to spread the play to the wings from time to time, providing more openings than, say, Michael Carrick might have done.

Park, who played on both wings, was generally poor following an average World Cup. Whilst the Korean worked hard to win possession, he looked bereft of ideas too. When given space to run, he dithered first, before  invariably being outmuscled. It’s not an universally accepted view of course, but many supporters  struggle to see where Park fits into the side. He lacks the kind of final ball the team was crying out for last night.

Up-front Rooney and Javier Hernández  struggled to get into the game. The Mexican fell victim to the poor delivery and Rangers’ defensive resilience. Meanwhile, Rooney still looked uncomfortable, playing the ball into a packed box or back to Gibson when he was better placed to shoot himself.

As the game wore on, with Fabio and Valencia departed – the latter in tragic circumstances – the situation became even worse for United’s strikers. The Reds finished the game essentially playing four centre-backs and, with Hernandez on the right-wing after the introduction of Michael Owen, there was little to no delivery from the flanks at all.

Overall, Ferguson got the tactics wrong, insofar as the Scot should have left at least one of Dimitar Berbatov, Nani or Scholes on the bench. United lacked the little bit of invention that could have cracked Rangers’ resolve.

However, that is not to say United’s second string is second-rate. There are positives: Smalling and Fabio looked comfortable at the back, Gibson, who had difficult job in the circumstances, was often United’s only real threat,  and Hernández fell victim to the game.

In fact, the greatest disappointments aside from the result were Park’s performance and Ferguson’s substitutions.


Don Pablo - September 15, 2010 Reply

Fergie’s tactics and substitutions have been suspect lately.

Rob - September 15, 2010 Reply

It was amazing how awful Park was. Normally he has a solid game and produces nothing out of the ordinary but last night he couldn’t actually string a pass together. With him gibson and fletcher all lacking creativity it didnt bode well last night.

han - September 15, 2010 Reply

smallknob had a decent game?
ffs the only time he was under any pressure, the fuckwit nearly gave a pen away
car crash waiting to happen

Robbo - September 15, 2010 Reply

han said:
smallknob had a decent game?
ffs the only time he was under any pressure, the fuckwit nearly gave a pen away
car crash waiting to happen

Hi han finally got monkey chained to the bed ??? problem is if smalling doesn’t play he doesn’t get experience and wont improve, which many wonder why the youth isn’t getting the chance to play because when the oldies go a big train crash will be waiting to happen unless these players get experience.

RedAlert260599 - September 15, 2010 Reply

As an old-timer I remember well when we were really sh1te. Fergie came along and did what many of his predecessors couldn’t. And for that I’m eternally grateful. Wouldn’t it be nice now if the great man could just see his way clear to making a right big statement as to how Santa’s elves are fooking up our club. What a man he would be – a God no less. But I’m not holding my breath because unfortunately Fergie has lost his way because money has blinded him.
We’re not allowed big name signings anymore. FFS, even when we were sh1te in the 70’s we made big name signings.
As for the team that played Rangers, Park wasn’t the only poor performer. Why can’t people see it? When Rooney plays we don’t. That’s a fact Rafa. The press seem to think he’s the bees knees. He’s bollox. He can’t control the ball most of the time. He’s an half decent passer – no better than Carrick. I’d even suggest selling him to Real Madrid quick before they notice how shit he is, but no doubt the Glazers are on the job already.

Peter - September 15, 2010 Reply

Han your some stupid prick, why don’t you fuck off and stop slating new, young, inexperienced players. Proper wanker.

sidney - September 15, 2010 Reply

Lol yeah Han, you twat

He has a point though; Smalling has been shite since we bought him

Rangers should have had a pen. The replay showed the lanky cunt caught the fella’s ankle and dint get the ball

Very rough diamond. Needs a lot of work like most of our nomark Glazer influenced buys

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