Three players holding United back

January 4, 2010 Tags: , , Reads 62 comments

While a knee-jerk reaction in the aftermath of yet another defeat for Manchester United – an eighth this season – benefits nobody, some players have underperformed this season. This much is glaringly clear to the Old Trafford faithful. Defeat to Leeds United serves to highlight the problem, with three players in particular failing to do the shirt justice.

Despite Darron Gibson’s goal tally this season and threat from long-range – something desperately required in the current side – the Irishman has become a luxury United cannot afford right now. The Derry-born midfielder’s overall game simply lacks the basic features expected of any United player.

In recent fixtures Gibson has been United’s worst performer, with no better example than the team’s 3-0 defeat away to Fulham recently. At 22 there is time for the Lampard-esque player to improve but if Fulham’s Jonathan Greening, ditched by Sir Alex Ferguson at a similar age, wasn’t good enough for the boss, then Gibson certainly isn’t either.

Dimitar Berbatov’s transformation from one of the Premier League’s finest strikers at Tottenham Hotspur, to an under-performing waste of space mystifies many United fans. The £30 million Bulgarian’s talent is obvious, yet he offers the team so little. At international level Berbatov is a record-breaking goalscorer. It’s a feat he looks far from matching at Old Trafford.

From day one in Manchester, Berbatov conjured memories of the King, Eric Cantona. But just five goals in 23 matches this campaign says it all; Berbatov is no Cantona. Instead, United is desperate for the goalscoring central striker that the team has lacked since Louis Saha’s departure.

Michael Owen is now billed as as an ‘impact’ substitute since his free summer transfer to Old Trafford. Yet, when United is down – a common occurrence this season – Owen adds so very little to the picture from the bench. True, there are few better finishers than Owen from the six yard line but if a malfunctioning team fails to create the simplest of chances for the striker, the player adds little to Ferguson’s squad. Much as it is painful to say, perhaps United is missing in-form Carlos Tevez after all.

Despite the problems the trio’s malaise might not be terminal. Within the current squad there are constant reminders of players who have struggled, only to blossom later in their United careers. Take for example Darren Fletcher, transformed from a the much derided midfielder dubbed ‘The Scottish Player’, to one of the first names on the team sheet.

Then there is Patrice Evra, who endured a nightmare start to his Old Trafford career, but is now both a fans’ favourite and one of the few United players to emerge unscathed this season.

Gibson, Berbatov and Owen may well come good and prove central to United’s cause this season. For the time being the trio sum up the malaise within the club at the moment. The club faces a crucial couple of months in the Premier League, Carling Cup and Champions League. Can the underperforming players up their game?

62 comments

Red Rupert - January 4, 2010 Reply

Criticism of Owen is absurd when he came on after 70 mins after his team mates had performed appallingly in all that time. Apart from the fact that he’s been here for half a season and rarely started it’s a bit silly expecting a player subjected to permanent bench warming to suddenly spark into action with no match practice whatsoever. Give him a run wth Rooney behind him and then we can pass a fair judgement. Berbatov has earned his place on the bench.

kei - January 4, 2010 Reply

Totally agree. Berbatov is a player with no heart or courage. He shirked out of every 50:50 yesterday, and has never thrown himself at a cross or a ball in his life. Owen is just passed it. I have lost count the number of strikes he has had on goal that he has badly missed. Gibson is a squad player and i am willing to give him a chance. Wellbeck on the other hand was the worst player on the pitch. He constatantly lost the ball, and strayed out of posititon into the center of the pitch (probably hoping to score). However, I thought the most shocking thing yesterday was the clear lack of communication in the team. Loads of incidents where 2 of our players went for the same ball, or got in each others way.

Stretty - January 4, 2010 Reply

I can agree to a certain extent about Berbatov and Owen. We need a mobile striker who can finish chances when they come. Berbatov is too slow and slows our play down, while Owen’s finishing is still not up to scratch, despite his hat trick against Wolfsburg and injury time winner against Citeh.

I can’t agree on Gibson though. He’s only just got into the first team so he needs to be given time. How many people said Darren Fletcher would never be united quality? Fergie was probably more patient with him than he has been with anyone else, but it paid off in the end as Fletch developed into a quality player.

Berbatov and Owen are coming towards the end of their careers and we know exactly what they can do. Gibson still has a lot of room to improve and if he’s given enough chances he can develop into the goalscoring midfielder we’ve been missing for years.

Indy - January 4, 2010 Reply

Michael Owen’s form has been far from what we expected to get as he put pen to paper and joined in July. He’s just not cutting it at the top level any more.

As for Berbatov, I have always supported him while others were too quick to focus on his price tag and criticise. I’m confident that Berba will shine again and get back to the form he has shown a few games this season.

Mick - January 5, 2010 Reply

Berba is trying a lot harder and is quality but we need a stronger midfield to allow him and Rooney to shine. Valencia looks good but still wasted some great opportunities with poor delivery. If he had just shot across the goal! We need a strong left sided player and we don’t have one. Giggs is a legend but he give the ball away too often, Nani… Give Tosic a try.

Andrew - January 4, 2010 Reply

Tough article but right to put the boot in. Gibson needs to up his game, Owen misses too many chances from his area of expertise and Berba, well he can just fuck right off along with Nani. We’ve got no money to spend so can’t afford liabilities like the last two. I think owen will come good though….I’d love a late and decisive strike against the dippers – that would make my year.

giggs - January 4, 2010 Reply

what the hell has wellbeck done to justify a place ahead of m owen. He is crap send him out on loan.

Tunni - January 4, 2010 Reply

Can’r believe the criticism of Owen. He is a genuine threat, but if he misses one chance he gets slated. He needs games, like any forward. He’s bagged more than Berba in half as many minutes. Fergie is contradicting himself. At the start of the season he confessed to misusing Berba last year, saying he needs to play further forward. Now he says Owen can’t play with Rooney because they both played pushed, whereas Berba would play off one of them. £30m and he’s not sure how best to use him after 18 months?? Come on Fergie. Rooney only has to play pushed because Berba offers little. Doesn’t everyone rave about Rooney being a “Number 10” for England? Play him off Owen.

besher - January 5, 2010 Reply

i hate saying this but i huess gary shpuld go to that list he lost his pace and started to lose his focus he is great in the dressing room and as a cabtain but as a player i prefer oshea brown rafael and de laet instead of him . berba can prove his worth i guess he is a wonderfull player maybe on what he has doentill now he aint worth 30 millions but he can.we got owen for free and he didnt that much starts so i won’t say he is really holding us back but maybe giving macheda and wellbeck more playing time might better in games that we have guarnteed. wellbeck is still young but rooney at his age was better i guess ……

Bill - January 5, 2010 Reply

For me the main culprit here is Anderson. There is a long list of games he has been entrusted with a start but to lose the trench battle on the way to a Reds defeat. He is supposed to be an attacking midfielder but he never set up goals and he obviously doesn’t score them either.

Ryan Vidor - January 5, 2010 Reply

I agree playing Rooney off Owen is the answer – it would be good for England too! Watching Leeds victory really exposed Man UTD – time they sorted it out!

Jon - January 5, 2010 Reply

Too right we miss Tevez, that is because he is world class. We made a major mistake not sorting his loan situation a lot earlier and waiting too long hoping to cut a deal. School boy error from Fergie and Gill, I for one miss that man from Argentina!

IVOR - January 5, 2010 Reply

Berbatov and Welbeck both showed how completely gutless they both are against Leeds. Unfortunately, the more the press and our fan base criticizes anyone on the squad, the more intractable the Gaffer will get. The trident of Tevez, Rooney and Ronaldo worked so well because all three own attacking courage to the point of recklessness. The thing Ferguson sneered at in Tevez–his being a ‘trier’–is the main missing component up front now. Gibson is too slow for the Premiership. He belongs with Celtic or in the Championship division.

Drummer - January 5, 2010 Reply

Funny how quickly people right off united youngsters . . Luckily for Darren Fletcher that the boss didnt listen to well intentioned but ill educated fans when fletch was struggling .

Lets forget that United has had injury problems no top team could ever boast. Lets also forget that it hinders players (particularly youngsters) ability to bed into a team. As for your comments on Owen . . Ridiculous, dont even need to comment further on it. .

Berbs has been a let down but considering he hasnt gotten decent service all season (with no consistancy to squad selection/availability) its not surprising .

andrew - January 5, 2010 Reply

What about Gary Neville old, slow!!looks a shadow of his former self!

CG - January 5, 2010 Reply

Gibbo the next Fletch… you’re avin’ a laff! Don’t insult Fletcher’s natural talent which was obvious to the old man since he was 16 and even wanted to play him against Villa then.

First of all, Gibson is way too slow for the Premiership.Other than a thunderous shot, which at the best of times, is described as hit and miss…offers little else. No creativity, no driving down the throats of the opponent’s defense etc.

I have not idea what Fergie sees in him and to take Ando off and leave Gibbo on against Leeds, defies logic.If not for the team sheet, I would not have know Gibson played in that game…. oh yes, he did have a shot from 35yrs out, spray past the goal post.

matthew - January 5, 2010 Reply

Not counting the penalty goals Rooney has 10 goals in 19 EPL starts while Berbatov has 6 goals in 12 EPL starts – both average about 1 goal every 2 games they start. It is a myth that Rooney is a highly prolofic scorer while Berbatov is a flop. The fact is that if you take away the penalty kicks – both score about the same. Also this year United scores much more EPL goals than last season – with Ronaldo and Tevez present – this is also a fact.

timbo - January 5, 2010 Reply

The usual ‘let’s bash’ Berbatov tripe.

Does anyone actually watch the game rather than just the ball going backwards and forwards?

Why is it that Berbatov excels so much at international level, and performed so admirably for Tottenham in the EPL, yet somehow becomes this dog of a footballer once he dons the United shirt? Does that make sense to anyone? Could it be that he’s simply mishandled by a manager who compromises all that the player has to offer because of his infatuation with Rooney, a player notorious at all levels throughout his career for being a poor strike partner to all but Heskey?

Could it also be that Berbatov came on the scene at a time when United played Ronaldo as a free-flowing winger who had license to roam anywhere he wanted and to shoot at will, denying Berbatov his natural attributes as an out and out striker?

And what of Fergie’s acknowledgment that he’d misused Berbatov, and his promise to the Bulgarian to let him play his more natural position this season? We know what happened to that promise, don’t we?

How about the fact that we have an abysmal midfield utterly lacking in creativity, imagination, or decisiveness – and completely bereft of any real talent? Carrick and Fletcher, our two first choices, are little better than workmanlike, Anderson continues to promise but too often fails to deliver, Scholes is well past it and only good for the minor fixtures, Gibson is a complete waste of space who’s become far too infatuated with his attempts at long range goals a la Nani, and Giggs is proving a little too patchy this year and far too inclined to hand the ball back to the opposition with relative ease. How is Berbatov – or Rooney for that matter – supposed to shine when the delivery is so poor, particuarly when his strike partner is the biggest wastrel with the ball in the entire team? That is when Rooney’s anywhere to be found to help out in the goal scoring area! Rooney spends as much time in the rear third of the pitch as he does in the attacking third.

For me, Rooney is by far the more frustrating of the two to watch, because he lacks the Bulgarian’s superlative touch, his skill and technique, his intelligence and vision, the incredible amount of time he seems to have to invariably make the right decision with the ball, and tries to make up for all these shortfalls by running from one end of the pitch to the other to show one and all what a real bulldog he is. Why, so he can deliver another of his incisive back passes to the opposition and set them up for an attack?

Next time you watch United play, count off how many times Rooney screws up the play by allowing himself to be dispossessed, how many times he sends off wayward passes that get picked off by defenders, or how many times he sets up others with what would be called ‘hospital passes’ in rugby, giving them next to no chance to do anything with the ball other than to either lose it or get torn down by the defense.

And I haven’t even covered his woeful goal-scoring efforts as yet, which by and large have as much technique as someone using a machine gun and hoping that one of the bullets eventually finds the mark. Sure he scores his share of goals – in frustrating patches – but when you’re a striker it basically boils down to the fact that if you make enough attempts it’s a statistical certaintly that you’ll eventually get some in.

Three four years ago I thought the kid had potential if or when he could eventually learn from his mistakes and mature into the kind of player who could properly utilize the immense gifts he was so obviously blessed with. But age hasn’t changed him at all, he still needlessly runs himself into the ground game after game, constantly compromises his team and strike partner by straying way out of position, still knows next to nothing about positioning and playing with a partner, maintains his scattergun approach to shooting for goal without any forethought, and has yet to display the kind of footballing nouse that would help turn him into the kind of champion everyone always hoped he would become.

A final point on Rooney is that he compromises United even further by the fact that he’s not built to function as a solo striker – in a side that’s increasingly relying on such a specialist. United’s poor midfield showings against top opposition often leave him in that position because of the need to bolster the engine room with an extra midfielder.

Yet all these deficiencies are forgiven and overlooked, week in and week out, because dear old Rooney wears his heart on his sleeve every game and runs around like a headless chook in the name of the United cause. That makes him a champion in the eyes of many, the working man’s hero willing to fight to the end! Crap.

As for Berba, yes he’s a waste of 30 odd million pounds, but not because of his attitude or style of play. Fergie basically blew the money by buying a player who he’s misused from day one. It’s akin to buying a Ferrari and using it as a cab or a tractor – it’s not what it was designed for. And for those who claim Berba doesn’t work, try watching opposition defenders try and dispossess the guy once he has the ball – he’s a demon to try and get the ball away from and rarely loses it, even at the cost of any number of niggling kicks, trips,and shoves. AND he’s nothing like the diver that Rooney is!

the viking - January 5, 2010 Reply

Brilliant analyziz. Couldn’t agree more. Sir Alex has failed to compose a balanced team and the lack of a proper midfield is what force both Rooney and Berbatov to play out of position, trying to cover up for the lack of a dynamic midfielder.

Ed - January 5, 2010 Reply

I’m with you on Berbatov – he’s a wonderful player I happily pay to watch – but not on Rooney who is also a wonderful player. Ferguson broke his promise to use Berbatov in the central striker’s role because he doesn’t trust the Bulgarian to finish enough chances. It’s an odd one because for me Berbatov is one of the world’s finest finishers. The problem Berbatov is at his best bringing others into play – he just needs to be 15 yards further forward. Ferguson is still stuck in this mindset though when in truth the best combo for the team right now is with Rooney dropping deep and Berbatov deployed as a target man. I don’t buy that United’s midfield isn’t good enough to support 4-4-2 against the best, which is why the gaffer so often deploys three in midfield. Sorry to say it but the answer isn’t within the current squad – we have one of the weakest midfield quartets in recent memory.

macky - January 5, 2010 Reply

Well written!!! i was convinced i was the only one with this mind-frame… nice to know someone is on the same wave-length as i am! makes me less of a craze. Sir Alex should definitely read your post, because surely his assistants are not good advisors, but a bunch of YES-MEN!

giggs - January 5, 2010 Reply

how does everybody know that owen is as slow as what they think.surely he is as quick as giggs at his age and nobody says anything about that. Give a lad a chance with a consistant amount of games and he will score. Maybe owen and berb upfront with rooney in behind in a sort of mini triangle situation.

giggs - January 5, 2010 Reply

or tha alternate would be owen rooney with berba setting things up. I myself think hes better set up for this . Hes the master at setting other players up and he could even take over carricks position as he has great vision.

giggs - January 5, 2010 Reply

i would rather macheda plat than wellbeck . He has no future unless hes with another club. As you can tell we are all pissed off with the way things are at the moment.Neville should retire as should scoles that would leave room for two other players in the squad. They then could maybe be around the team and give others experience maybe from the backroom staff.

Marq - January 5, 2010 Reply

Gibson, Berbatov & Owen?
I think Scholes, Neville & Giggs are the problem. Having them around ensures that the club can find a reason to delay finding replacements. Instead of throwing Gibson out, why not ask Scholes to consider retirement and we try find a good player in?

kaizer - January 7, 2010 Reply

i agree wiv u we dont have money am telin u they can tell giggs and scholes 2 play till they are 42

ManU - January 5, 2010 Reply

Fergi you are nuts, senior players like Gary N and Scholes are jokers on the field not footballers.Look how many times did MU lost matches when you have both these players and that also include John Oshea.Retire or sell them off first before you even consedered selling Nani for that matter. Defenders Vidic and Ferdinand too should be shown the exit door.They think they are great defenders playing hard to get. Fyi Roonie is also to be blame equally together with Berba. They both had poor performances lately and making too many mistakes with their passess and scoring accurately at goal.

flee30 - January 5, 2010 Reply

gary nev, i’m sorry. you’ve been faithful. the personification of United thru and thru, but i think you would be doing the team a favour if you choose to retire now.

berba, i’m sorry. you’ve been an expensive flop we cannot afford. owen deserves a bit more playing time than you.

and wheres the magic of a young wonderkid like macheda when you need him? he’s a much better prospect than welbeck.

when i look at how we lost to fulham and then now leeds. it’s disheartening. because rooney’s not going to be our saviour every game. giggsy isnt 18 anymore. carrick isnt scholesy. and nani sure as hell isnt ronaldo-incarnate.

we need reinforcements. it is upsetting as a fan, to sit on my couch every weekend hoping to see the best out of my team, only to be disappointed. sigh.

ej - January 5, 2010 Reply

very right on all owen i like, gibson lacks in every department you cant be in the prem league and just be able to shot at 22 its very poor very poor indeed.
i dnt care how bad our midfielders are at shooting we dont need gibson
next is berbatov, when we got this guy although i was disgusted with what we paid i thought it was game over for the competition as him and rooney would just tear teams apart, well all berba is doing is tearing the fans apart, undoubted skill but in the wrong club, he found his level at spurs.
owen well we know what we got when we signed hm so i cant complain.

Michael - January 5, 2010 Reply

Berba, Anderson – out!

stretford972 - January 5, 2010 Reply

Owen’s just not good enough, he had a full pre season and game time early season and let us down, let’s not forget how shite he was against burnley. The reason we miss tevez is the same we miss ronaldo, they ain’t been replaced. Between them, in theory we should now have £105mil to spend on players from the money saved/brought in. You could get a world class winger and striker for 80mil easy but the money hasn’t been spent and that’s why we look short. I’m suprised there’s no mention of nani in this article, who isn’t injured despite what we get told yet still hasn’t been near the squad for over 2 months.

the viking - January 5, 2010 Reply

Berbatov isn’t the problem; he’s pure class. The problem is we haven’t got a midfield that can give Berbatov and Rooney the service required. Sir Alex seems unable to field an unchanged side and especially the midfield is a department he throws around players like a child in a playing room and therefore we haven’t got a settled midfield. Central midfield is the engine room and what have Sir Alex done the recent months? Ripped out Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick, two natural first choices and used them as defenders, and made our cm non existing offering the strikers no support, offering our defence no protection.
About Berbatov I’m also puzzled why Berbatov/Owen isn’t given a chance. That was the most successful partnership pre season. Those two were clicking and I could see a partnership not unlike Keane/Berbatov at Spurs.
Also Tosic had a nice pre season and he has delivered at the international stage for Serbia. Why Sir Alex prefers Welbeck at the left instead of natural wingers like Tosic, Giggs and even Park, that requires som explaination.
So what seems to be holding United back isn’t the three players mentioned in the blog, but the management’s use of these three and the rest of the squad.

Kc - January 5, 2010 Reply

Fergie should at least buy a striker like ribery for the squad to improve.

the viking - January 5, 2010 Reply

I think what we need is a playmaker. Maybe the solution is to use Berbatov in central midfield as playmaker, in front of Fletcher and Carrick?

stretford972 - January 5, 2010 Reply

just a quick one, the gaffer must not rate owen either, otherwise he’d have started against teams like wolves at home, wigan at home, villa when we had no1 else. Gamble worth takin which ain’t paid off

the viking - January 5, 2010 Reply

The team selection for the game against Villa at home was a complete shocker; playing with one striker at Old Trafford, keeping Berbatov and Owen at the bench. Sir Alex is a legend, the best manager ever, but that doesn’t change the fact that the results this season has been so bad that it would have put the pressure up on any manager but Sir Alex.

Peter - January 5, 2010 Reply

I think timbo has summed it up perfectly! Kudos too you mate.

Bill - January 5, 2010 Reply

I know its down to the players on the pitch, but Fergie’s team selections at the moment aren’t the best.

The midfield he picked vs. Leeds was a disaster waiting to happen. We have about 14 players capable of winning trophies at the moment so squad rotation has to go. Pick your best side at all times, with only a little bit of tinkering. The stat about 100 games without the side line up is a really notable one.

Also when you spend 15 million plus on a player a manager can’t just through them under the bus if they aren’t well – they have to be man managed. I’m sure we can get more out of Berbatov – and for 30 million we really have too.

For me the future is playing our best side, spending big on proven quality (ie. Villa and Silva) and then supplementing with youth products or buys for 3 mill like Obertan or Diouf who aren’t going to bankrupt the club if they flop.

Stefan - January 5, 2010 Reply

Sell Berbatov… Just a waist of space, and he slows down our game way to much.. We need some Direct Striker,fast and profilic, Striker like we had in Andy Cole and Louis Saha. not a Striker who waist all the time doing tricks in the middle of the park and waits until every single player in the opposition squad is behind the ball… Sell Berba

Emperor - January 5, 2010 Reply

It’s amazing reading the comments about areas on the pitch we actually have players, they need to play!

The biggest problem is at the back, and…OMG!, Wes Brown is and has been the worst defender I have ever seen. Brainless, ball watcher, slow to react. The goal against Leeds was typical, waits until Beckford is gone by him before he reacts, and for a ball played from about 70 yards away! then, when beckford is heading away from goal, he doesn’t even stand up. And all this helped by our keeper, Jasssus!, the biggest club in the world and we two inept backup keepers!

Tunnelboy - January 5, 2010 Reply

Emperor – good point about Brown. I’ve been saying that for years. One thing that makes Vidic so good is that he’s constantly looking around to see where the danger is and positions himself accordingly. Contrast this with Brown who just watches the ball and woudln’t have known if the whole Leeds side were behind him! Plus how can you rely on someone who’s injured almost as much as Saha was!

I believe we have problems all over and have done for a while:

Defence – Apart from Pat, so many are injury prone – Rio,Nev, Rafael, Brown and now Vidic looks like he’s going that way. Back-up should have been brought in during the summer.

O’Shea is crap

Midfield – Carrick is not good enough. Scholes looks like he’s past it. Anderson too inconsistent but looks to me as he could be a good defensive midfielder definitely not an attacking one – as someone above said – can’t pass and can’t score! When Fletch is out, no one can put a foot in and there’s no creativity. Gibson’s not a Utd pleyer. Park is not fit to wear the red shirt and don’t get me started on Nani!

Strikers – Berbs a class player, no doubt. I love watching him hold up the ball./ But somehting isn’t right. Either it’s mismanagement as Viking stated or he just isn’t good enough, I don’t know although I suspect it’s the latter! Anyway, this was glaringly apparent alst season and Fergie should have sorted it out one way ot the other during the summer!

Rooney is just trying too hard (maybe to make up for the lack of guts & ability elsewhere) and it’s not coming off.

I think Owen could be a decent player for us but he’s not been given a chance. How can you hit top form when you only get the odd few minutes?

And where are the tactics & motivation?? On Sunday we defended & attacked like schoolkids as we have done on too many occasions over the last few years. And apart from Arsenal & Citeh at home, hwo many teams have been up for the battle and we haven’t!!

I could rant some more but I’ll save it for later

Jeremy GC - January 5, 2010 Reply

I think the Leeds game was a massive wake up call for everyone associated with United. Let’s face it, we’ve been lacking quality all season. True, the injuries in defence have been a blow but it doesn’t hide the fact that we’re missing some cutting edge up front. Other supporters might point to the fact that we’ve scored more at this stage that at the same stage last season, but honestly are we seeing the same attractive, eye catching offensive performances like last season. Simple answer is NO. The only reason that we’re still in the title race is bacause Chelsea messed up, or else we would be about 9 points adrift by now. Credit mut be given to Valencia who in my opinion seems like a perfect Man Utd player. Also i can’t believe Owen has been given so much stick. I mean the guy hasn’t even been given any chances. Then when he’s put on in the last 20 mins we expect him to perform miracles. I’m sure if he’s given a run in the side he will deliver. That’s not hiding the fact that we need some more fire power because even though he is Quality, i dont believe Berbatov is a Man Utd player. We’ve always been known for our quick counter attacking football, thing is how can we do that when Berba is constantly slowing down the pace of the game. T

Jeremy GC - January 5, 2010 Reply

To continue with my previous post, i believe we are in need of 2 players who would put us back to the quality of last season if not better. First player is HULK of Porto. Think Tevez but stronger, faster, better in the air, better finisher and can unleash venomous left footed shots. Valued at 20 million and still only 23. For the second player im torn between DI MARIA & DAVID SILVA. Both are similar in their capabilites and both are capable of playing on both wings. Either one would add so much needed flair to the team. Both are young and full of potential. Probably Silva would be cheaper as Valencia are in desperate need of some cash. Just imagine the first eleven containing: VAN DER SAR
BROWN VIDIC FERDINAND EVRA
VALENCIA FLETCHER ANDERSON/HARGREAVES (hopefully) SILVA
ROONEY HULK
Imagine what power we would have up front.

Dave - January 5, 2010 Reply

i agree entirely with idea of Hulk, he looks a great player in the making and has the strength to succeed in England.

the success of Van Nistlerooy and other Dutch based players in the premiership suggests that Luis Suarez at Ajax would also be a great addition.

I dont think Welbeck is to blame, he has proven himself to be a reliable backup in these cup fixtures. sure he was poor against Leeds but he is not a winger and has done what is expected of him more often than not. Macheda on the other hand is too arrogant and desperately needs to go on loan somewhere in the lower leagues till that swagger is kicked out of him

Dave - January 5, 2010 Reply

and even Nani would have made a difference against Leeds, his direct approach would’ve been a breath of fresh air.

surely Tosic cant be that bad?

Tnt - January 5, 2010 Reply

This is rubbish!!!
Berba is under-performing, but we can thank a dysfunctional midfield for that… they’re about to create dysfunctional strikers. Even Carricks passing has been worse than normal. Scholes isn’t a passer of the ball anymore, neither is Giggs. Fletcher is an excellent squad-player, but not the one to get the fast-flowing game running… Anderson isn’t cutting it yet, but he is young and has been our best performer in central-midfield. We desperately need a young Scholes and Keane… THAT’S OUR PROBLEM.
Owen should have gotten more oppurtunitis from start and he will come good. Berba suffers from our mediocre midfield-play. Thank god for Rooney!!!
Gibson and Wellbeck should be sold as fast as possible and bet on Macheda.

the emperor - January 5, 2010 Reply

firstly
TIMBO IS AN ABSOLUTE LEGEND
I havent read any of his comment but the sheer size of it makes him a technological whizz- well done timbo
and secondly, DAN!?!?! if thats even your real name, ill ask you this
have united had a main striker since ruud van nistelrooy? louis saha doesnt really count in my eyes seeing as he played about 4 games
and secondly
ruud was rubbish anyway because he missed that penalty against Arsenal, he should have been sold after that

Dan - January 5, 2010 Reply

What a load of absolute crap about Ruud.

i think its pretty obvious to nearly all except yourself that if Utd had kept him we would have been champions league winners a few more times, than just the 2 times in the last 10 years.

the best striker to grace old trafford in the last decade thats for sure

ingles - January 6, 2010 Reply

Berbatov has had long enough to prove himself at United. We need goals from our strikers & unfortunately that burden is weighed very heavily on Rooney at the moment with little contribution from Berbatov. It was so obvious that Tevez was better suited to United Gibson will be class, without a shadow of a doubt. Rather than simply observe his shooting from long range, please watch his range of passing as well i.e. an example being his long ball to Rooney against Leeds & many more shorter ranged passes. Plus he always wants the ball & is comfortable on it. It’s the mark of a young player who is not afraid to shoot, especially when he keeps getting berated by Rooney for doing so. Owen – still posseses great movement and forces opposing defences on the backfoot with his runs on the shoulder of defenders but unfortunately his finishing isnt quite there at present – if Defoe was given some of these opportunities Michael has had recently he would have at least worked the keeper. In his defence he does need more game time. To be honest I think the answer lies in obtaining a quality striker from elsewhere.

Totkov - January 6, 2010 Reply

Stupid English fans when you have such a player like Berbatov my telephone rang. You can only dream about such a technique player and jewelry. Enjoy the trees like Rooney, Gerrard and Lampard. And hello from Mladen Petrich. You remember him right?

MC sucks - January 6, 2010 Reply

Totaly I’m not agree with this !!! Berbatov is one of the best our players. His technique is WORLD CLAS. BERBATOV IS NOT CANTONA !!! HE CAN BE SOMETHING BETER !!!

DennisTheKingLaw - January 6, 2010 Reply

Dan i agree with some parts of the article but you fail to give players time. Just like horses we must give them time to grow and become good. Ive seen genuine progress in Gibsons play (West Ham, and League Cup), and i believe owen just needs games and match time and Berbatov needs a kick up the backside. We must get rid of de laet cos he is not going to make, same goes for welbeck an over paid and arrogant macheda. I think its high time man united looked into buyin wilshere or ramsey as they are still young just like we did with rooney. Any thoughts dan? Also i do not understand your point about Gibsons’s performance at fulham i thought it was very decent

the emperor - January 6, 2010 Reply

dan i honestly apologise for my previous comment, i suffer very badly from the common cold and it affects my psychological behaviours
BUT, nevertheless, Ruud Van Nistelrooy looked like a horse, and you cant deny that, its the truth.
he may have hit the crossbar against the Arse but give him a break man, seriously, he’s a legend with a capital leg.
one more thing, if you propose that darren gibson isnt good enough to play for united at the moment, then how is Richard Kingson good enough to keep goal for Wigan in the event of Chris Kirkland and Mike Pollit being injured?

Bill - January 6, 2010 Reply

I think our starting line up is good enough to win cups like the FA or Carling. Teams rotate their line ups and there are only 6 games to win each one. In addition you will probably only play one of the big 4 in each.

Where we struggle is the league and the UEFACL. They are more marathons that sprints so require squad depth, which we don’t have a present. And you can’t avoid the match-ups against the big guns either.

Some of the U25s need time, and with the lack of cash around we aren’t likely to be getting any new superstars anytime soon.

If Fergie wants to bring on the youngsters then he has to do so by playing them 2 at a time, not make a whole midfield out of them!

A more sensible line-up last Sunday vs Leeds would have been:

TK, GN, FDS, WB, JE, GO, RG, DF, AV, DB, WR

Ironic now that City game is off and we could have played best side without any worries about fatigue!

DennisTheKingLaw - January 6, 2010 Reply

quite ironic that we are out of the fa cup yet you think we can win it wake up bill!!! x

Dan - January 6, 2010 Reply

i think criticism of Welbeck is fair but it must be said he has stepped up to the plate on numerous occasions for Utd. His goalscoring record in cup competitions is fairly decent given the teams we usually play. Against Leeds he was poor, but also out of position although i doubt it would have made much difference.

I’m afraid it is just a difference in opinion of Gibson in recent games then, i personally felt against Fulham he was a disgrace.

Macheda needs to learn his trade elsewhere, because i for one cannot stand his arrogance.

Bill - January 6, 2010 Reply

With our first choice line up can win it!

Not one with 6 reserves in it 🙂

Read the whole of the post 🙂

Simples!

giggs - January 6, 2010 Reply

sorry dan wellbeck is another nani in the making. Wrong decision making and likes to shoot we not necessary. Also as much as everybody has a lot of respect for sir alex as have i, I think its time for new blood a new challenge and this would motivate the players to step up to where they should be playing instead of going through the motions.

giggs - January 6, 2010 Reply

We need new blood in central md field with vision.Someone who can supply that ball that makes all the difference to the strikers instead of seeing rooney running around like a headless ckook sometimes when he should be upfront waiting for that killer ball. Michael owen will come good if given enough games but old red nose aint gigving him the chance. Why buy him if not gonna use him.

ingles - January 7, 2010 Reply

I agree that Berbatov is a class player but he isn’t cutting it for some reason. As has been mentioned previously, he drops deep collects the ball & slows the play down, which doesn’t suit the way we play i.e. with pace e.g. ronaldo, rooney, tevez, giggs. He has a sublime touch without a shadow of a doubt – for instance when he pulled the ball out of the air against Leeds or the moment of absolute genious when he rounded James Collins to set up Ronaldo against the Hammers last season or for that matter in most games he played when at Tottenham particularly the 3-3 draw against Chelsea in the FA Cup when he virtually single handedly ruined their defence until he was substituted when they were 3-1 up. But the fact of the matter is we need goals from him & he isnt scoring & isnt providing many for others. He also goes missing against the better sides. I feel we need to invest in a top striker & left sided wide man although I understand that not many are willing to move at this stage of a World Cup season. Plus I’m not sure of our present financial position especially as we pulled the plug on the Ljajic deal – he looks a real talent.

Mike - January 10, 2010 Reply

Ok mate i think its some what of a joke that you blame berbatov for the loss at leeds. He created pretty much every chance we had the only thing he didn’t do was give the ball to someone who can actually shoot. I bet you if someone had set him up with a chance like that we would still be in the fa cup! Remember berbatov has 6 goals in 12 starts and has a constant injury for about 3 months. He is even playing if an injury for US thats how much he cares about united and he still gets all the stick whilst classless clowns like ibrahimovic get the ground they walk on worshiped. He has a great attitude and is one of the most down to earth and humble footballers in the sport.

Phil - January 14, 2010 Reply

Hang on there must be 4….where’s the Park ji sung section???

Why can I always predict that he will create absolutely nothing for 60-65 minutes and will then be substituted? Am I some sort of footballing genius? No, it’s just he isn’t good enough to play for United but we all know why he does…notice he’s on the front of the Glazer little dossier!

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