After the Chelsea game last week Sir Alex noted:
“To be honest, I think I should have played Chicharito from the start,” said Ferguson. “When he came on he had them on toast. He really put pressure on them with his movement and positional play. Danny Welbeck is a terrific player and he is going to be a top player, but when Chicharito came on it was a different game.”
That may seem like a fair assessment and who are we to argue with Sir Alex, after all Chicharito did get the all important equaliser and there’s no denying the Chelsea back four looked visibly rattled by him and his runs. Let’s not forget though, that according to Sir Alex Danny Welbeck should have earned a first half penalty and sending off and then did actually earn a vital penalty to bring the game back to 3-2.
Welbeck is unlucky in the fact that on another day, he could have been receiving all the plaudits for causing Chelsea’s implosion but it now seems is destined to lose his place.
I know I’m something of a lone voice but I genuinely think the Reds boss should stick with Longsight’s finest and in a way, Saturday’s game only reiterated the reasoning I have behind that thought.
Chicharito has often been compared to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and this is a comparison I wholeheartedly agree with, the point is Ole was, despite being one of the most prolific strikers United have ever seen, was often more effective coming off the bench than he was starting. In 1999 I remember being at Old Trafford in 1998 when Dwight Yorke made his home debut, the Reds won 4-1 against Charlton with the former Villa man and Ole grabbing two goals apiece. It seemed that this as to be United’s new striking partnership. Fergie had other ideas though and realising the chemistry between Andy Cole and Yorke worked better and that Ole was the team’s most effective substitute he made the two future Blackburn players his preferred pair.
When I think of Welbeck and Chicharito in some ways it reminds me of the Cole/Ole argument, Chicharito is no doubt the better finisher of the two and more likely to grab you a goal, but Welbeck is arguably more likely to help others gets goal than his Mexican counterpart.
In fact this season, they’re stats are practically identical, with Chicharito having scored eight and assisted with one goal, in 20 games, while Welbeck has six goals and two assists in 18 games, its difficult to call which player is more effective overall using just stats, so it’s much better to give an opinion based on watching the actual games- something which may seem alien to many football fans and ‘writers’ nowadays.
As someone who grew up watching football before you could even find out who got the assist for a goal unless you actually went to the game or spoke to someone who did, I’ve always preferred formulating my opinions on players based on watching them, rather than googling info on them.
Whenever I’ve seen Welbeck start alongside Rooney this season, on the whole I feel the entire forward six have looked more like a complete unit. Whether thats Rooney, Welbeck, Nani Young Anderson Cleverley, or Rooney Welbeck, Valencia, Nani, Giggs and Carrick, or whatever, there seems to be slightly better team play. When Chicharito starts, there is still a good understanding amongst the front six, but there seems to be more of a case of everyone getting the ball to the Mexican who will then try and score rather than, everyone working an opening for whoever.
This doesn’t mean that United are necessarily worse off with Chicharito upfront, after all what does it matter who’s scoring, as long as someone is. I just feel that the Reds seem a better attacking ‘unit’ this season with Welbeck playing just in front of Rooney, the Mancunian doesn’t always look for the run towards goal, he is often willing to try and bring in others and although his hold-up play needs work, on the whole it just edges the Mexicans.
The other point to my argument for feeling it’s better to start with Welbeck is the fact that Chicharito is more effective coming off the bench than Welbeck is, whenever the Mexican comes off the bench he seems much more likely to score than his English team mate does when he’s brought on as sub.
Of course you could point out that I’ve just argued Welbeck is a better player for enabling others to score so it would make sense that coming off the bench the England striker would be a better bet for helping Rooney or whoever grab a goal. I don’t think Welbeck is nearly as effective on the whole as a substitute though in fact he hasn’t got either of his two assists for United when coming off the bench and he’s only scored one goal. Chicharito on the other hand has scored twice coming off the bench and has an assist- hardly a hugely impressive difference I’ll admit but at least it goes some way to backing up my theory. Just.
There’s also the question of form, which many people, including Sir Alex will no doubt point to the fact that Chicharito now has two goals in his last two games, while Welbeck has none. Yet in the game against Chelsea, Welbeck as I’ve already stated was an effective contributor and in his previous start- against Liverpool at Anfield he was a lone striker who had so few chances that when he finally did get half a sniff of goal he wasted it with others in a far better position.
There’s also the argument of resting Welbeck, how it might be good for him , well I’m sorry but asking a 22 year-old to play two games six days apart is like asking Luis Suarez to have two controversial incidents in the same week- not a problem.
Although, I know I’ll be in the minority and who am I to argue with Sir Alex, but in all honesty I’d prefer to see the young Mancunian start over the little Mexican this Saturday, although I’ll hardly be gutted to see Chicharito’s name on the team sheet.
Who would you prefer? Feel free to comment suggest and abuse below: