Anyone who’s followed this site since it’s inception-and maybe those few of you, literally, who used to read ‘Name on the Trophy’ will know that messrs Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck are two players I’ve always raved about.
This season has been like a dream come true for me seeing two youngsters who’ve served their apprenticeship, through the youth, reserves, on loan and at under 21 international level finally given the chance they’ve earned.
Since the second half of the Community Shield Cleverley and Welbeck have shown that not just are they capable of doing a more than an adequate job for United, but also that they have a great understanding with each other.
It’s not all been plain sailing for the pair convincing a lot of Reds that they’re ready for the first team. Following the WBA game, I saw and read many tweets, blogs and comments suggesting that Cleverley should be jettisoned in favour of Michael Carrick or perhaps Darren Fletcher once he was fully fit. There was also a growing consensus that Welbeck was merely keeping Chicharito’s place warm until the Mexican was fully recovered from his pre-season head injury.
At half time of the Spurs game, both Welbeck and particularly Cleverley came in for a lot of criticism. I arrived late in my seat for the game, due to waiting to give someone a ticket, so missed a lot of the first half. Checking twitter at the interval I was shocked to see so much vitriol aimed at the two youngsters. It wasn’t long in the second half however before they both combined to open the scoring.
After the Spurs game, came Arsenal where after a bright start, Welbeck was injured, then the following week, Cleverley was the victim of a typical Kevin Davies challenged which has ruled him out since.
It’s no coincidence that since Cleverley got injured, Anderson has gone completely off the boil, putting in performances that seem far removed from the all-action dominating player we saw at the beginning of the season.
At the start of the season, beginning with that second half display at Wembley, United had six players that all seemed to completely gel. Ashley Young and Nani were bombing down either wing, cutting inside and leading defenders into a merry dance, Wayne Rooney, was pulling the strings like a more forward Paul Scholes, Anderson was justifying the faith Sir Alex had shown in him and the two youngsters were linking uo well, and even making United seem like a BETTER version of Barcelona. It was arguably some of the most sumptous football I’ve seen in my 20 odd years following the Reds.
Lately, the team has stuttered, and struggled, with some woeful defending, anonymous midfielders and fairly erratic forward displays, mostly in the case of Rooney, who’s been far less convincing of late.
I’m not having a dig at Rooney, strikers are always going to have ups and downs, and his performances on the whole this season have been sublime, but let’s not kid ourselves, the last few games haven’t been great for the Scouse striker. To quote a fat Spanish waiter, this is a ‘fact.’
It’s easy to think that against Liverpool, United need a five man midfield with Rooney up front on his own, but let me ask you, the way he’s currently playing, would you really expect him to be at his most effective, ploughing a lone forward furrow, and dare I say getting agitated, if he’s not getting the service and support he needs? No. Rooney needs Welbeck either alongside him or just in front of him. Some would argue that Chicharito is the man for the job but I have three points against this.
1. Welbeck is the in-form striker.
2. Of the two Chicharito is more effective coming from the bench.
3. Welbeck’s link up play with the rest of the attacking players has been better this season.
I’m not saying the Little Pea couldn’t do a job against Jamie Carragher or some equally ugly defender, just that Welbeck should get the nod.
Then we come to the midfield, where many Reds believe it’s better to have five men against what will probably be the same number for the Scousers. Here, I think we’re showing Liverpool too much respect. A midfield of Nani, Young, Anderson and Cleverley with Rooney and Welbeck up top, would cause Liverpool no end of problems and I think could put them on the back foot for most of the game. In Jordan Henderson, Lverpool have a very average midfielder, Charlie Adam is talented but lacks any real pace and could find himself chasing shadows if United’s quick two touch interplay gets going, while Steven Gerrard is always a threat but could end up having to do the brunt of the defending rather than actually getting forward and causing us problems.
I know it sounds cavalier but United setting their stall out early and taking the game to Liverpool in a 4-4-2 formation, with the players I’ve mentioned, should be more than enough to beat a team, that aren’t anywhere near good enough for title contention this season. You may think it ridiculous but do Barcelona change their formation or attitude when they face the mid table teams? No. If we want to be as good as them, it’s time we started being more confident. In the past, United didn’t worry about the opposition, we just went to away grounds and played our own way, usually steam rolling even the title contenders.
It’s time to rekindle that bravado, starting with today’s game by starting our two gifted youngsters.
Am I off my head? Do we need to be more cautious? Should we just f*ck it and play Welbeck, Rooney, Chicharito and Berbatov! Feel free to comment suggest and abuse below:
Cleverly isn’t fit enough to start.
when he’s healthy enough he should play, there’s no arguing that for me, but he just isn’t ready.
otherwise.. good article
You could be right, because Liverpool’s defence is slow in the middle, but they have more attacking options now, and they will go for it at Anfield. The United back four may need some help. Everything could hinge on which Rooney turns up.
Completely agree with the 3 points putting Welbeck ahead of Chicharito at the moment. Cleverley is the best central midfielder on the team at the moment for me, but he isn’t fit to play yet.
This is what I’d like to see for the lineup though:
A 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 with Rooney in a more central supporting role for Danny.
De Gea/Fabio, Smalling, Vidic, Evra/Nani, Jones, Anderson, Young/Rooney, Welbeck.
I’m fed up with Carrick and Fletcher partnering Anderson, they only kill out central midfield. I hope Cleverley is ready soon! For the mean time, I think Jones could pair up well with Anderson as long as we have our other defenders fit to fill the void left in the backline by Jones. Either Jones or Giggs should be alongside Anderson against Liverpool.
this is a joke right,i was hoping you could say Vida to partner with Jones at the central midfield,while since Rafa is fit to be on ryt and Evra on the left.then in central their is Anderson, Park since Cleverley us unfit to play looserspools game, Nani & Young on the wings.upfront i agree with you Rooney & welbeck shld start.
well said toneDiez.wat a team u’ve selected!!! and my instincts tell me sir.dr.Alex could go for the very same faces u’ve mentioned
I totally agree with you on that. Fletcher and Carrick are shit. We should sell Carrick quick and dispense with the sorry issue of should we play him or not.I’d rather have Pogba anytime than him. All he ever does is diagonal balls. So boring. He’s not even a good DM, let alone CM. Even Park is better in that role. In fact, I’d rather have Valencia partner Anderson in the middle.
Please SAF, sell Carrick quick.
I like you’r thinkin ToneDiez, but I’m for Hernandez starting, both Rooney’s Hatricks have came with hernandez on the field, so think we need him to make that space for Rooney. As for coming off the bench, did Welbeck not come off the bench against Norwich to good effect. Hernandez has that extra few inches I feel.
Although i like the idea a lot, Not sure if SAF will risk trying jones along-side Ando at anfield for the first time. Although after his comments would he play Valencia in there??
just can’t wait for kickoff.
uv actually mentioned a vry gud 11…..jones can play in the middle and with ferdi also availible and smalling back we can play both or can play fabio in the right and get a bit more speed and attacking instinct..!!!!
Well, some of my predictions came true with Welbeck, Smalling starting Jones playing central midfield, and Chicharito making an impact from the bench. But obviously that lineup couldn’t be very effective given the rest of the squad Fergie chose. I was in shock and have to say relieved to get a point at Anfield with that starting XI. I really would like to know what was going through Giggsy’s head when he moved out of the way of that Gerrard freekick.
Anyone is OK as long as Evans DOES NOT MAKE EVEN THE BENCH. This guy is a joke and a clear and present danger to Utd’s chance of winning at Anfield. Please, someone tell SAF…
I would put Jones at midfield to partner Ando.
He can attack and defend well 🙂
We have injury worries again over Rio, Vidic, Nani, Clev, Evo and even Fletch, we needed to be fully fit for this one. This is a much better dipper side and squad, they have a lot of options and we a have a shocking record there!!!
I would have loved to see jones pair with fletcher in the midfield. It will provide great defensive cover.
I believe this guy is right about his believe to start re- partnering Anderson & Cleverly together again.
The dippers have not improved at a starting 11, they still rely on Carragher at the back, enough said about the defence, they’v bought lots of midfielders that can’t make the starting team, and Torres in his prime was better than Suarez and Carrol together.
Downing, and Suarez were there best buys, But if our guys are up for the game we should be too strong for them.