Date: 14th May 2011 at 1:10am
Written by:

Darren Fletcher

Will Super Darren make Wembley?

After completing an hour of reserve team football on Wednesday night against Blackburn in a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford.

Manchester United’s midfield terrier, Darren Fletcher faces a race against time to get himself fully fit for the European Cup Final on 28th May at Wembley.

If he is able to convince the manager in the next two Premier League games starting at Blackburn on Saturday that he is ready to face the world’s best central midfield pairing in Xavi and Iniesta then I think he is certain to be given a place in the starting XI. The man that was robbed of a Champions League Final start in 2009 by wrongly receiving a 75th minute red card at the Emirates Stadium with the game dead and buried at 4-0 on aggregate. Even though replays showed him making clear contact with the ball the decision was not overturned by UEFA. Instead we went to Rome and were heavily over run in the middle of the park without his energy and bite to try and stop the fluid passing game that Barcelona tore us to pieces with.

Cast your minds back if you will to 1999, (that shouldn’t be too difficult for most) and remember a certain ginger haired play-maker missing out on a Champions League Final. Scholes would have to wait a little longer than the 2 years Fletcher may have to wait. But justice was served in the end as Scholes finally got his European Cup final night to remember, the sentiment shown by Sir Alex was there for all to see, karma had been served as John Terry slipped and United won the double in the Moscow rain!

The problem now is who can be left out of the team that’s been deployed on the big European nights over the past few months? Surely you’d think that the Rooney and Chicharito partnership that has worked so well for us wouldn’t be broken.

That would then leave only 2 central midfield spots up for grabs! Firstly there’s Michael Carrick who has been Man of the Match in most European games this season. His ‘keep it simple’ approach and retaining possession has been invaluable at times! Park is another player that Sir Alex seems to favour every time a big game is next on the fixture list, and although he has his critics I don’t remember a game in recent times at least, that the little South Korean has disappointed. Not to forget Giggs’ big game performances from the centre of midfield, making all 3 goals in the Chelsea tie, and breaking the deadlock away in Shalke are just a few that spring to mind from the Welshman.

For me the 4 that will be contending those 2 all important midfield positions will be Giggs, Carrick, Fletcher and Park with Rooney dropping in to help out and keep Busquets quiet. All I can say is I’m glad we have the best football manager ever to walk the earth to make this almost impossible selection!



9 responses to “Should Darren Fletcher Start Against Barcelona?”

  1. fido says:

    Carrick will sacrificed and rightly so. He hasn’t been man of the match in any of the European games! I guess he has been your man of the match. That’s something different. He was the worst player on the pitch the last time we met Barcelona. I know he does well against teams that don’t put pressure on him like Chelsea. I have mentioned it time and time again on your blog.

    You must be related to Carrick or something.

  2. Ezra says:

    Carrick should be sacrifised. If you have seen Barca play, you’ll notice the way the harass one to get back the ball. And Carrick is too slow, he will lose the ball, as he cant dribble against three harassing Barca players.
    Ando can out muscle and dribble and tackle. He doesnt lose possession easily, but am sure he won’t start.
    No way will the midfield be Park, Giggs, Carrick and Fletcher! Who will attack from the wings? That’s a defensive game, and we play that we are doomed to 5-0.
    As most will agree with me, we will need to ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK. Put pressure on from the 1st minute and we will unsettle Barca. Slow players like Carrick and O’shea will cost us the game.
    One thing I hope the players to avoid is, Rio and Vidic’s Backpasses! I like Smalling’s attitude. Rarely does he pass the ball back(just like Pique and Puyol) he puts the ball forward, with good complete passes. I wish he could start ahead of Rio(call me crazy) cos Rio slows the game, and Barca will kill you when you do that.
    Anyway I hope Ando starts in midfield as he can hold, dribble , attack and defend. Then sub him for Fletcher to stop Barca’s flow from trying to build up a goal long after we have scored 2-3 quick goals. 🙂

  3. KD says:

    @fido: I think you were watching some other game while we were playing Chelsea in the UCL Quarters where Carrick played exceptionally well.

    So the fact that you state about Carrick not playing well against teams like Chelsea is pointless.

    IMO Carrick’s game has varied alot since 2006-09. Now he is mainly a defensive minded player. SAF looks to him to shield the defence as well as start attacks through retaining the ball. We aren’t the same team when Ronaldo was here and we used to see Carrick’s long passing game flourish in a more attacking role.

    I think that sacrificing Carrick is not the way forward.

  4. Damon says:

    I think Chicha should be used as a super sub. Its imperative we win the battle in midfield otherwise we’ll be chasing the ball for 75mins like in Rome! That five man midfield should be :
    -Park (our unsung hero in midfield, can break fast and follows SAF’s instructions to the letter),
    -Giggs (to offer the composure the team needs for such a big game),
    -Fletcher (to keep Xavi and Iniesta in check),
    -Carrick (to pick that perfect pass to rooney and valencia on the flanks) and
    -Valencia (for helping out Rafa and initiating counter attacks).
    As long as we keep the ball well, we know very well that any of the above can score…

  5. dino says:

    Fido obviously u dnt watch Utd games or u dnt knw d technical aspect of d games. All our games we played so well dis season esp in d UCL Carrick has been awesome nd sm man of d match performances whch smtyms we giv to d strikers cos they score d goals.

  6. BW says:

    Carrick has been also been my man of the match in almost every Champions League game. He’s played far more minutes than anyone else on the route to the final so it would seem an odd choice to dump him in the final! It’s not going to happen unless he sleeps with the wrong person’s wife.

    Obviously the Carrick haters who say should be sacrificed are entitled to their opinion, but ahem…let’s just the thankful that Fergie picks the team…

    If Fletcher plays I think Hernandez will be benched (:-o) and Fergie will use a five man midfield the bring on Hernandez later. It’s a slim possibility, but only Fletcher is really 100% fit. We need Hernandez to stretch the Barca backline.

    I think it’s more likely we’ll use the same basic lineup that worked against Chelsea/Schalke.

    Maybe Giggs could play on the left and Park replaced by Fletcher. But I prefer the lineup that Fergie used for the QF ans SF first leg.

  7. Trevor Chids says:

    Without doubt Fletcher has to start this game. Both Giggs and Carrick started in Rome and we all know what happened. The fact is Barca are the best passers of the ball and Fletcher is our best player at breaking up play. In my opinion we hav to sacrifice Giggs and contain Barca in order to avoid an early Goal. we must bring something different to the table this time and that something is none other than Darren Fletcher..

  8. Colo says:

    Tevor Chids I agree with you 100% …… 4-5-1 fromation at the backs Van Der Sar of course, Defenders RB Rafael CB Ferdinand CB Vidic LB Evera RW Valencia CM Fletcher CAM Rooney CM Giggs LW Nani and ST Hernandez or Berbatov…..what do you guys think?

  9. Fido says:

    Now that the champions league is over, What did Carrick do? Give the ball away and get subbed. Ever since Scholes started to play less and less, Carrick’s weaknesses showed. He is not commanding. There is a reason Capello doesn’t pick him.

    Mark my words. By the end of next season he will be a squad player not a starter.

    Listen guys, I know what I am talking about. Some of you are blinded because he’s English or something. He’s an average player. I don’t hate him. It’s just a fact.

    Come on guys, open your eyes!!