This season we may not have seen a ‘vintage Manchester United side’ * but we have been treated to two of the world’s most exciting wingers raiding down the flanks and providing some of the most exciting football any league has to offer.
As the season started it seemed as though United would be in for the Nani and Tony V show as both fine haired individuals picked up where they left off last season by terrorising defences with the sort of skills their fine barnets deserved.
However an horrific injury during the Champions League qualifier against Rangers at Old Trafford for Valencia, that was so bad it made the Scottish players go all pale, well paler, meant that Ecuador’s finest was out for the majority of the campaign.
Valencia’s injury wasn’t the knockout blow it could have been for United as September to March was the Nani show as Portugal’s greatest actor gave the sort of bravado displays which Portugal’s other gifted performer would have been proud of. When he wasn’t dancing past wingers or scoring stunning goals with either foot, Mr Da Cunha was entertaining us with the sort of theatrics that Lord Olivier himself would have been proud of.
Nani’s assists, goals and sheer brilliance left many defences in awe and put him firmly in the ‘world class match winner’ category. Even his critics had to admit that for all the rolling about and crocodile tears there was the sort of skills mere mortals could only dream of. Ask any fan in England whether they’d take Nani’s faults in exchange for his positives and you’d be hard pressed to find one- at least an honest one-that wouldn’t want him at their club.
Nani’s the sort of player you simply have to play, even when he’s having a bad spell as he’s always capable of producing something magical to win the game.
The best thing about Nani- at least for me,- is that he genuinely believes he’s the best player on the planet and sometimes you need someone like that in the side.
Don’t get me wrong if he had the pace of Emile Heskey, mixed with the skill of Emile Heskey and the finishing of ooh I don’t know, someone like Emile Heskey, then all the belief in the world wouldn’t make him better than say, Peter Crouch. But Nani’s belief is born from the fact he is actually an amazingly talented footballer, better than 99.9% of players in the world. He may be greedy at times and shoot almost constantly on occasion but there’s the strong chance that one of his 34 shots during a game will end up buried in the back of the net.
Nani along with Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and this site’s pick for player of the year Chicharito, provided the goals that carried United to the top of the league where they would stay for practically the whole season.
With the sort of two footed ability that had the imbeciles on Match of the Day debating which was his stronger foot- which one does he take set pieces with lads- Nani was the player opposing fans loved to hate.
Just as Nani seemed as though he was going to be the main reason for United’s success in a strange twist of fate, an injury via a disgraceful challenge by that fine specimen of facial beauty Jamie Carragher put him out of action just as Valencia was returning to the fray.
Any doubts that Valencia would be the same player he was prior to his injury were well founded as he quite frankly wasn’t. He was actually even better. Valencia’s return caused a collective groan from United’s opposition as he duly picked up where he left off, steaming down the wing and delivering inch perfect crosses for Rooney to dispatch with ease. I almost felt sorry for Ashley Cole in the second leg of the Champions League at Old Trafford when with his side down to ten men he looked at the dugout and saw Valencia coming on. I hasten to add I did say ‘almost.’
While Valencia hasn’t been as consistent as he probably would have liked in the past few weeks on the whole he’s been brilliant. Nani on the other hand seems to have gone off the boil slightly. Whether it’s the fact he’s now been moved over to the left almost exclusively, denying him the ease of using his stronger foot, or simply running out of a bit of steam, he hasn’t been hitting the heights he was a few months ago.
The problem is, and I say problem as for the Champions League final I feel it may give Sir Alex Ferguson something of a headache. Nani as I said earlier is always capable of producing something special that can win a match. Dropping him may be the difference between defeat and victory.
So why not play both I hear you cry? Valencia and Nani down each wing, would give even Barcelona cause for concern, Dani Alves, Adriano or whoever would have a job handling either of them.
I would prefer park and tony V. Marauding players might be wht we need to get and early goal to possibly break barca’s spirits. I would put nani later in the game to hold the ball and maintain possesion.
Carrick and giggsy in the middle has been amazing for us. I would like to see them playing. But with fletcher coming back to form and after missing the last final, it would be a pity if he couldnt take part.
My god! This 10seconds i took to think about the line up gave me a headache. Thanks god for united im not a manager. Its up to SAF and his stuff now.
valencia must start ahead of nani. valencia brings energy always there to help out his right back and is more direct and i dont think abidal or whoever has the bravery to mark valencia will have enough to stop him look how he destroyed baines and cole. hernandez has to play aswell just so rooney can play a deeper role so he can help out his midiled and defence and also should park. if park plays the way he did against chelsea when he kept dropping in the central midfield, and rooney dropping back aswell will have a really packed midfield which im sure barca will have problems getting through. but hernandez has to be carfull with his first touch because it has tobe spot on becuase he wont be getting to much chances. plus giggs is a must play his the only 1 that can feed rooney and hernandez consistently and dictate the game. the only problem which fergie should really have is who to play flethcer for his energy or carrick for his vision. plus thats 1 area in which fergie must look at in the summer and an attck mid.
one more thing is that playing against Ashly Cole on different occasions Nani has went out of games after receiving a couple tough hits, Puyol is fond of similar tackling and i’d hate to see a player go out of such an important game, Valencia on the other hand gets up laughs at Cole and within 10 mins has Mr big Stuff COLE hiding behind JT asking him to stop the machine that keeps bullying him down the wing, for the CL final it has to be the Machine Tony V on the right and the Oriental Duracell bunny JSP down the Left, and we’ll take it from there.
Nice read!..for me I start both nani nd TV wide nd maintain d CM partnership of giggs nd carrick. I drop chicha on bench as he cn cm in 2nd half to run out d barca defence. So dis means Rooney up front alone wit park just behind him to link up d mf nd attack (he did dis well last season in d UCL b4 rooney’s awkward injury). So its a 4-3-3 nd cn be 4-5-1 if reason be.
It is immaterial who Sir Alex plays. Barca are simply too good to be stung by Man Utd. Pity – but thats the way it is. To be honest – Utd should pack their defence leaving only Hernandez and Rooney any further forward than the edge of their own penalty box. Needs must.
– VDS –
Fabio – Ferdinand – Vidic – Evra
Valencia – Carrick – Park – Giggs – Nani
– Rooney –
i despise the diving pricks Barcelona. with that said. Manu will not have the ball for long. only team capable of stopping them was madrid. Marcelo, ozil, dimaria,CR7, carvalho,pepe are way better then any Manu players. as much as I hate to say it. barca will win
To some Utd fans commenting on Barca diving and acting, please friends be rational. Barca have never done that, when the opposition played football against them. Did you see those antics in Rome? You are saying this because of that 1st leg of CL. I am sure it was a tactic caused by the indifference of the Referee in the copa final.
I am sure MU will pay football and Barca will reply with football.