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Nani And Valencia Are Equally Valuable For Ferguson

Antonio Valencia has returned to Manchester United line-up full of energy, which should provide a spark for his fellow winger Nani to perform at an even higher level.

With exception to Sir Alex Ferguson, nobody really knew what was going to happen when the Ecuadorian winger arrived Old Trafford, but now everyone knows just how vital both Valencia and Nani will be to United’s success this season.

With Nani, who was wrongfully snubbed from being considered for the PFA Player of the Year, having his best season with him on the sideline, Valencia knew he needed to hit the ground running and he has done just that. Right now, Sir Alex boasts two of the most dynamic, but yet contrasting, wingers in English football, which will benefit the club in the short and long term.

Some think that the reemergence of Valencia will come at the expense of Nani, but that could not be further from the truth, because it eliminates the chance of the latter becoming complacent.

In the 21 matches that these two wingers have featured in the starting XI together, United has gone on to win 19 of those games while drawing the other two. Conversely, in the 68 games that just one of them has gotten the nod, the Reds have only won 61%, so Sir Alex, who thrives on statistical evidence, will probably look to use both of these players as much as he can (Statistic courtesy of @costas_22).

It has also afford Sir Alex the chance to give Nani a chance to fully recover from that horrific, x-rated challenge he suffered a month ago, and it also allowed him to become a bit more fit and fresh, which was on display for everyone to witness against Fulham.


It should go without saying that Nani is a flashy, two-footed winger, which often leaves defenders second guessing as to which way he will go, and that versatility has enabled the Gaffer to play both of them at the same time.

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Opposing teams enjoyed not seeing Valencia’s name on the United team sheet, because they could overload one side of the pitch, and hope that , but now teams do not have that luxury. To be honest, Valencia does not fit the typical description for a modern-day winger, but that has certainly not hinder his ability to be a major contributor to the United attack.

Seen more out of the traditional mold, Valencia uses simple moves and powerful acceleration to combat his lack of step-overs to be his defender. One of Valencia’s shortcomings has been being predominately right-footed, but that has yet to hinder him, and against West Ham United, he registered his first assist with his left peg.

Depending on the type of full-back he is lined up against that may some time limit him, but that is when Valencia’s sheer willingness and determination normally kicks in and beats them.

Rarely does Valencia show any emotion, other than celebrating a teammate’s goal, which also works against his opponent. If a player does not show any expression, the mental side of the game that many defenders try to play in a desperate attempt to get their opponent frazzled falls on deaf ears with Antonio.

Nani, on the other hand, has the type of unsteady mindset that is very easy to get under his skin and disjoint his focus, which can be seen in two different lights. It can either frustrate the living daylights of his teammates when it’s going against him, or it can inspire them when it’s going right for him.


Let’s be honest, Sir Alex did not buy Valencia to hang him on a shelve, nor did he make sure he held on to Nani to just be a safety net when the other may not be playing up to their potential. They, like every other player at the club, have a significant role to play in the team’s success, but it also presents Ferguson with the ability to play different formations as well, which was not offered at during Valencia’s injury layoff.

A lot of supporters do not favor the 4-5-1, which becomes a 4-3-3 formation in attack, because of how it excludes one of the very capable strikers at the club, however, it offers something that the traditional 4-4-2 doesn’t. With Valencia and Nani bursting up and down the wings on the outside of three-man center midfielders, it can stretch the normal flat back-four and create gaps for the lone-striker and the advance midfielder to pop into.

Sometimes the 4-4-2 can become a bit static, but, conversely, the 4-5-1 extends space which can be exposed by penetrating runs from either Valencia and Nani, and allows the full-backs to join the attack as well. The 4-5-1 is also set forth with the intention of not being exposed at the back, which is why it was important that Nani and Valencia learned the importance of team defending.

As Sir Alex Ferguson said, having Antonio Valencia back is not like a new signing because he, like Nani, know the high expectations that Manchester United has, and that will certainly benefit the club in the season’s run-in.

Submitted by The United Religion



  1. Charles

    April 14, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Si true! Egos lads are so important for the team, nice article

  2. Pingback: Nani And Valencia Are Equally Valuable For Ferguson | My celeb news blog

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