7 Thoughts From Man Utd’s Win Against Schalke
What a performance on Tuesday night, with one hand on the Premier League trophy and one foot in the Champions League final the season finale is shaping up nicely. Watching the game here’s a few thoughts I had……
1. Bye Bye Michael
It seems highly likely that Owen will be on his way out of Old Trafford this summer. I will be sad to see him go. He will forever be remembered for that winner against City and he scored regularly for us last season. This year, the arrival of Chicharito has seen him relegated to fourth choice striker, add to this the fact that Fergie often plays just the one up front and his opportunities were always going to be restricted. Tuesday would have been perfect for Owen to come off the bench. Surely a predator like him would have finished off a few of the chances that were being created at will. Unfortunately for Michael, even with Berbatov out injured, he couldn’t even secure a place on the bench.
2. Unlucky Nani
What do we make of Nani being on the bench? With 9 goals and 18 assists this season, there have been times when the Portuguese has been the man we have looked to when in need of a creative spark. I feel that like Owen, Nani has also suffered as a result of Chicharito’s break through into the starting XI. More often than not, in an away game in Europe Fergie would opt for one up top and five across the middle. Chicharito’s recent form demands a place alongside Rooney in attack and it seems Fergie is compensating for the loss of a fifth midfielder by playing Valencia and Park out wide who are far more disciplined than Nani. This logic is hard to argue with and Nani as an impact sub after Park/Valencia have done all the graft is a great option to have.
3. Edwin Van Der Sar – United’s Greatest?
What can you say about Edwin Van Der Sar that has not been said already? In his last two games against Everton and Schalke he has been a spectator for large parts of the game but when called upon he has delivered with minimal fuss. He is without doubt our best keeper since Schmeichel and as far as I am concerned he is up there alongside the Great Dane as one of United’s greatest ever. At 40 years of age he is still on top of his game and a second Champions League title with the Red Devils would be an apt way to hang up his gloves. There has been much talk of Ed staying on for an extra year, while I would be delighted to see this happen in reality I think his mind has been made up for quite some time and he’s probably going to stick to his guns.
4. Ryan Giggs – Still Going Strong!
There was a top drawer performance from another of the old guard – Ryan Giggs. 37 years of age and still going strong. Giggsy missed a few chances but managed to break the dead lock and his contribution in United’s last three Champions League games has been absolutely massive. The man is a machine, likely to secure his 12th Premier League winners medal, a third Champions League winners medal could also be on the cards. There has been no decline whatsoever in Giggs’ performances over the last four years and you can be sure he will be on the team sheet for the return leg against the Germans next week.
5. Rooney/Chicharito the best partnership since Yorke/Cole?
The partnership of Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez has flourished in recent weeks. Hernandez has been playing on the last man of the opposition defence which has opened up acres of space for Rooney to drop into between the oppositions Defence and Midfield. Rooney has put in some unbelievable performances since being paired with Chicharito regularly and the maturity and vision in some of his displays has been very encouraging.
Hernandez has been a revelation. 19 goals in his debut season has surpassed everyone’s expectations. The Mexican seems genuinely delighted to be at the club which has endeared him to the fans while his movement, determination and predatory instincts have been a joy to watch. On the basis of Tuesday nights display Berbatov has a tough job on his hands trying to break back into the starting XI on a regular basis.
6. Michael Carrick – Take a Bow
Another one of the top performers who I feel deserves special mention is Michael Carrick. I won’t lie, I am far from a Michael Carrick fan. As far as I am concerned he is well able to play against mid-table sides in the Premier League but when it comes to the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Barca or Real he is found wanting. His performances in the Quarter Final tie against Chelsea and against Schalke have been top drawer. Granted Schalke didn’t put much pressure on Carrick but he played with purpose, he sought to move the ball forward at every opportunity and created space for himself when others had the ball. Overall this has to be his best run of form in a United shirt.
7. Manuel Neuer – Yes Please!
One player who wasn’t in red that deserves a mention has to be Manuel Neuer. The big German was a giant between the sticks and was close to single handedly keeping his team level heading into the second leg. Neuer has been consistently linked with United and it is clear now why goalkeeping coach Eric Steele regards the German number 1 so highly. If there is any chance whatsoever of hijacking Neuer’s move to Bayern this summer then Sir Alex has got to pull out all the stops. Neuer was comfortable at set-pieces and is a fantastic shot stopper, the only criticism levelled at him was that he was not vocal enough. Neuer didn’t appear to be screaming and shouting at his defenders as much as you would expect considering the onslaught they were suffering. If this is a negative in his game it is surely something which can be improved upon and is far from a deal breaker. If Sir Alex manages to convince the German to leave his homeland it will be good business for United.
Submitted by Glory Glory Man Utd
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