“Fortune favours the brave,” is a saying I’ve often lived by, well I used to before I was arrested for speeding and lost all money playing Blackjack but it’s a saying I still believe in – especially when it comes to United.
Whenever it seems another side is about to usurp us as top dogs in domestic football Sir Alex Ferguson seems able to turn to youth and get the very best out of them, more often than not saving United’s season. In 1990 it was a young lad from Ashton named Mark Robins, who was thrust into the limelight and duly took us to Wembley- where Mark Hughes and then Lee Martin nicked all the glory ,the swines. In the early 90s when Liverpool and Leeds were relying on the likes of Barnes and Strachan, United threw Lee Sharpe and a young Welshman who’s name escapes me down our flanks as we stormed to our first ever title.
In the mid nineties when everyone thought Sir Alex had lost the plot replacing three of his best players with a crop of youngsters and a Scottish pundit made a career defining statement on how we were destined to fail, the United fans sat back and watched in awe as a team that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the set of Bugsy Malone, won not just the league but the double and did it with the sort of devil may care bravado, that even their French captain would have been proud of.
In the late 90s we saw a kid from Longsight asked to do a job against the second biggest club in the world and immediately let us all know he was destined to become a United legend.
Then there was a young Portuguese winger who was chosen in favour of the clubs most prolific scorer – if reports are to be believed- when the two had a training ground bust-up.
More recently we’ve seen unknown Mexicans -well prior to the World Cup anyway- and former non-league defenders play a massive part in delivering a record breaking nineteenth title. Nineteen, n-n-n-n-nineteen. Sorry, i just love hearing and even writing the word ‘nineteen’ for some reason. Cant think why.
United travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday level on points with ‘our -little- less-noisy -than- they -were- a -few -weeks -ago- neighbours’ Manchester City knowing that a win, in a tough game, will put more pressure on Roberto Mancini’s men, who have now won only three of their last eight games in all competitions – not the sort of form you want heading into ‘squeaky posterior time.’
It would seem logical for Sir Alex to go with his most experienced players -certainly in midfield- where Chelsea often try and dictate the game from. With Paul Scholes -if Fergie’s willing to play him twice in a week, and by rights he should- Michael Carrick and either probably Ryan Giggs or Ji-Sung Park to choose from then the smart money will be on two of them, or maybe even three, playing in the centre of the park.
There is another option though available to the United boss, one that at first may sound ridiculous, or even dangerous, but one I’m going to air anyway as it’s been on my mind for the past few days. Paul Pogba could play a role against Chelsea in fact I’m going to go one further and argue that he could start and actually be the energy and youth United need in midfield.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not just getting over-excited by his excellent cameo against Stoke, I genuinely believe from what I’ve seen of the youngster in the youth and reserves not to mention the experience he’ll have alongside him, that if Sir Alex decided to take a risk and play the young Frenchman it wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Chelsea have a bit of bite in midfield with the likes of Meireles, Essien, Romeu or maybe David Luiz, players that aren’t afraid of mixing it up a bit, and usually have a bit of urgency to their play. Pogba could be just the perfect foil for them, a young player who doesn’t shy away from a challenge yet is capable of passing and moving, getting them on the back foot and disrupting their rhythm.
I know it’s a lot to ask, a youngster with no Premiership starts to make his full league debut at Stamford Bridge but, people thought throwing in Chicharito ahead of Berbatov was crazy at times last year, or trusting a group of youngsters to try and regain ‘our title’ was mad in 1996.
I may be well off the mark here, but it’s a point worth considering and you never know, sometimes Sir Alex shocks us all with his team selection and Pogba starting would certainly surprise the opposition.
Have I completely lost it? Is it a case of “a good 20 mins and you think he’s Roy Keane, Justin you muppet” or is there anyone who believes I may have a -very small- point?
Feel free to comment, suggest and abuse below: