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Half Time Report & Player Analysis So Far

Dimitar Berbatov

So……. At the half time stage of Manchester United’s 2010/11 season, I think its safe to say that we have been lucky. Not just with last minute equalizers, but with the form of our competition (does anybody remember Chelsea?)

We have been equally unlucky however, (Everton match) and are still shockingly bad away from Old Trafford, not just in terms of results, but form in general. There seems to be an air of “are we allowed to win this match?” about us, and with City and Arsenal snapping at our heels, we need to pull our finger out and start to take what is ours (the 3 points). I’m going to pick on a few people here:

Michael Carrick:

What has happened to him??? Last season I was his biggest fan, he never misplaced a pass, had the vision to play some killer balls into the box and every so often he’d hit the back of the net, usually with a quality placed finish. He seems to have lost all of that and is just a sort of squad player, who when picked just makes up the numbers.

Dimitar Berbatov:

Premier League leading scorer, quality passing, vision, and an eye for a finish, what’s lacking here in consistency, before Berba’s 5 goal haul a few weeks back he had gone 10 matches without a goal, he seems to have hot games and cold games, I’m not going to slate him yet though because he has been playing really well and if he can find that level of consistency he will be a stud.

When I looked through our squad these were the only guys I could think of specific things to say about, there is something missing though and to bring home the title and what’s more important, STOP CITY FROM WINNING IT!!!

We have a nice little cushion going into the new year and a couple of games in hand so if we can keep our unbeaten streak going and improve away, we’ve got it in the bag. You can’t knock the job done so far, except for the drumming at Upton Park we haven’t lost yet, but I can’t help but feel that if Chelsea would have performed to even half their potential over the past 8 matches, we would be in second place.

The ridiculous spectacle brought on by Wayne Rooney is a topic I’m going to steer clear of in this article because I feel it’s better left as is and forgotten about. As soon as he hits the net a few times, he’ll be fine.

Some good things I have noticed so far:

Ji-Sung Park

The lad has an engine on him that never gives up, he has chipped in a few quality goals and doesn’t shirk his defensive duties. I’m happy whenever I see him on the team sheet, always making runs into the box, getting a shot away or setting something up for somebody else, class act whenever he touches the ball.


When I used to watch him playing for Porto I used to think, he was Roy Keane-esque, box to box midfielder, strong in the tackle and could hit a ball, In the past few weeks, I have seen the same stuff from him for United, if he continues like he is playing he will be a legend, I cant say enough about him, if he can learn to strike the ball better he will score A LOT!. Of course this change hasn’t come about by some miracle, Sir Alex has stopped trying to play him as a defensive midfielder and is playing in behind the strikers, a master- stroke as always.


I’m sure that when United signed this kid you all (as I did) thought Who? But the lad had a stunning world cup, and he seems to have settled in at United and he’s got us some important goals. Legend in the making.

Wayne Rooney

I know he hasn’t scored many this season, but a s rule I like to give strikers 5 matches to get their form back after missing  an extended period of football, and with the weather and cancelled games he hasn’t had 5 decent weeks of football yet. He had a quality game against West Brom, it was like Rooney of old, he scored and had an assist. I’m confident he will start banging them in when he gets over his most recent knock. Wont harm him to have Valencia back next month either.

The back four – Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, I don’t see any need to say any more than that, CLASS.

Can you guys smell a title coming?

Written by Dan Ray



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  2. timbo

    January 8, 2011 at 4:21 am

    What are you smoking?

    It never ceases to amaze me how people like you relentlessly snipe at Berbatov, even finding ways to criticize the guy when he bags five goals, yet roll out the red carpet of understanding and tolerance where Rooney is concerned regardless of how badly he plays, how many goals he blows, how appallingly inconsistent he’s been throughout his entire career, and how much he depends upon the largess of others (including Berbatov) to play well. What did you say – “As soon as he hits the net a few times, he’ll be fine”? “As a rule I like to give strikers 5 matches to get their form back after missing an extended period of football”? “I’m confident he will start banging them in when he gets over his most recent knock”? Don’t fall over yourself making a hundred and one excuses for the guy as a complete counterpoint to your constant carping about United’s best striker so far this season. For the record, Rooney is the most over-hyped and over-rated player of his generation, with people such as yourself living in a fantasy land where a mongrel attitude and a proclivity for running up and down the pitch all day are mistaken for class. The guy has the lousiest first touch I’ve ever seen for someone considered so special, costing him precious time on the ball to do something constructive before being shut down by defenders – that’s when he doesn’t actually bounce it off his shins to the opposition! His shooting, often as a result of his lousy first touch, is hurried and erratic – yet when Rooney blasts one of his trademark bombs way over goal his apologists wax rhapsodic about the near miss – Berbatov does something similar, on much rarer occasions, and gets lambasted for wasting an opportunity. As for his vaunted box to box play and determination in defense, how often have we seen Rooney easily dispossessed, even putting United in danger of conceding a goal through his wastefulness? How often do United attacks peter out because Rooney lacks the vision and intelligence to dispose of the ball effectively? Berbatov by comparison is a maestro with the ball, and, contrary to popular belief, one heck of a defender of the ball when it’s in his possession. I’ve rarely seen anyone use strength, skill, and guile to hold on to the ball against two or even three defenders – he makes it look effortless, while Rooney can barely hold on to the ball against one defender.

    Want another example of the double standard? If Rooney spits the dummy at his team mates he’s considered to be passionate and fiery, a man to be admired for his drive and determination to win. Of course we’ll just overlook the petulance and outbursts of angry play that so often result from his frustrations when things aren’t going his way. Berbatov, the supposedly lazy player who seemingly doesn’t care, gets fired up at selfish or idiotic team mates 2 – 3 steps behind his thinking or field position, angrily gesturing or flapping his arms at them, and he’s considered to be sullen and lacking in a team ethic!

    On a separate point, have you actually been watching the team play? Evra, as part of the back four, has been class? Guy, though he’s put in a few good games of late, it would be safe to say that he’s had his worst season for United since taking over the fullback position on a permanent basis. Rafael is showing positive signs, but by no stretch of the imagination would he be considered a class player as yet either.

    As for Carrick, me thinks you’ve time warped or something, because you’ve jumbled up your seasons. Last season, he was so woeful that Fergie finally lost patience with him and dropped him from the side. Though I’m definitely no fan, this season has seen something of a return to the pre-Barcelona form that garnered him so much recognition. He’s clearly not a regular, and may well never be again, but the shifts he’s put in, particularly earlier in the season, have been okay, even it seems he’s gone off the boil a little of late.

    United clearly need bolstering in the midfield, because it’s there that the team is falling flat and missing the incisiveness it needs to take full advantage of the class forwards the team possesses. Interestingly, Berba showed a real midfield presence in the last game, constantly dropping back and orchestrating things intelligently. Though he’s too invaluable as a striker right now, he could well prove to be an exceptional attacking midfielder as his pace drops off with age. He certainly has the skills, vision, and the football smarts to acquit himself well in the role. But for now United need at least one world class player to partner Anderson, now and for the future. The team may somehow stumble to the title (this is the most ridiculous season I’ve seen in over forty years of watching football) but something needs to be done in the summer.

  3. Dan Ray

    January 8, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    I actually don’t smoke.

    Personally I find your comment to be ignorant and poorly informed.

    Now in response, I am one of Berbatov’s biggest fans, he is a very talented football player who has improved no end this season, the fact remains however that he has scored in how many games this season? 5?, I wish he would score more often, if this were the case then I would be proud to call him our first choice striker.

    I was and still am hurt by the actions of Rooney earlier this season, but it is football and things like that happen, he is now a United player for the next 5 years and I want him to reach the heights that we saw last season, Wayne Rooney is a world class player and I think that your summary of him verges on the ridiculous. He is able to turn our season around, he can make us a dominating force who destroys teams rather than slinking off to a title. He needs to score a few goals (as he is more than capable of doing) for 2 reasons:
    1) To win back the fans, off the field things don’t matter as much when you score goals.
    2) Get back to his form of last season, I personally have no doubt that he will do this.
    Also don’t forget he was the catalyst for every move that resulted in Berbatov’s 5 goal wonder strike.

    I see our defense as a unit, individual players form doesn’t matter here (even though i completely disagree with your opinions on Evra). The Manchester United defense is one of the best in the world, if you deny this then you are being foolish.

    As for your Carrick comments, I personally feel that he had a dip in form last season (where he indeed lost his place) but for the majority he was the Carrick we all know and love, this season has been nothing on his previous seasons at United.

    I also disagree with your opinion on needing a world class midfielder, I think a partnership of Anderson and Fletcher could evolve into one of the best center mid partnerships in Europe. With Valencia and Nani on the wings, with potential such as Obertan and Gibson waiting in the wings. (Not to mention Cleverley who is out on loan).

    You can’t have ready made world class players in every position, you have to allow people to develop and that has always been the United way.

    I think we are in a good situation right now.

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