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Fergie Right To Bench Key Quartet Against Chelsea

Ahead of Manchester United’s game, Sir Alex Ferguson made a couple of tough decisions on who to play against Chelsea, and, thankfully, his decisions paid fruitful dividends. Quite a few players who have had a very decent season will all feel hard done by for missing the match, but their replacements played with sheer determination and courage against Chelsea.

With so many options now in attack, and a couple of his injury concerns easing at the back, Sir Alex is going to disappoint players every now and again, but they must all realize that it is a team sport and that they all still have a vital role to play.

Four different Reds – Dimitar Berbatov, Nani, Fabio and Chris Smalling – were all forced to watch the game against Chelsea from the sidelines, or stands in the latter’s case, which was a poor reflection of their recent contributions to the club.


The Gaffer decided to play Wayne Rooney, who scored his fourth goal in the last his last two matches, all in a 49 minute span, with Javier Hernandez in the United attack to take on Chelsea’s tough, but less nimble center-backs, which meant that there was no place for Berbatov – again.

It was the fifth match in a row that Berbatov has been benched, but Nani, who also has had a stellar season for the Reds, missed out on starting the match as well, but his exclusion was justified by the reemergence of Antonio Valencia. Besides the fact that Chicharito was selected for his pace, the other main reason for Berbatov being excluded from the starting XI at Stamford Bridge should not be a surprise to anyone, and down to the fact that he has a poor goal scoring return in the UEFA Champions League.

Since joining United in 2008, Berbatov has played in 22 European games, but has only scored in two of those matches, which has resulted in four group stage goals. Nani, though, has scored vital goals in the Champions League, including two at the same stage of the competition last season, but, unfortunately, Ji-Sung Park’s “freshness,” as Sir Alex put it, was the deciding factor.

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Since he nearly suffered a broken leg from Jamie Carragher’s x-rated challenge, Nani has been half of the player and he has gone back into his timid shell, which could spell disaster for not only his season, but possibly his United career.

It cannot be ignored that the dynamic partnership between Rooney and Valencia, which terrorized defenses in England and Europe all last season, looks to be regaining that momentum and that can only benefit the Reds long-term.

What is the most incredible aspect about United’s game with Chelsea is that less than a month ago, Ferguson was left with only one fit winger, but on Wednesday night he had all four playing at the same time. Valencia’s pace, power and willingness covered up a glaring gaffe from the United manager, which most probably overlooked.


When selecting a line-up a manager always tries to predict the unpredictable and cover all of his bases, but, luckily, Ferguson got off the hook for not choosing a player that could play full-back.

The most noticeable choice to select would have been Fabio, because he has proven over the last couple of games that he is able to offer versatility, which is needed on every substitutes’ bench.

Instead, Ferguson went with Jonny Evans, who has played at full-back, but he does not have the pace or inventiveness that little Fabio has. It was clear as to why Sir Alex went with the two center-halves on the bench, which was down to the fact that he was unsure how Rio Ferdinand would come through this match against two of the better center forwards in Europe.

Ferdinand got the nod over his stand-in Chris Smalling based on his experience of handling big games, only, which was a bit harsh on the young center-back, because he has done ever so well filling in for the former England captain. To his credit though, Rio came through the match unscathed and looked like he has not missed a beat during his two month injury layoff, which could also be like yet another new signing for United.

The 2010/11 season has been filled with so many potential season-lifting results, but the last two wins against West Ham United and Chelsea could very well propel Manchester United to unparalleled heights – again.

Submitted by The United Religion



  1. john

    April 8, 2011 at 10:02 am

    go on finnish the scum at old trafford

  2. Pingback: Fergie Right To Bench Key Quartet Against Chelsea | Recent Football Updates

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