As City and Chelsea trundled along to a boring goalless draw at Stamford Bridge this afternoon, one thing became abundantly clear- and it wasn’t that Rafa Benitez is about as popular with the Pensioner’s fans as Anton Ferdinand.
It’s obvious that with United sitting at the top of the Premier League, after losing three of our opening 13 games this title is definitely winnable. Yes, it’s early days, yes we still have to play the noisy neighbours but looking back at the season so far, it’s safe to say that the dropped points were avoidable and there’s no reason we can’t make it number 20 as long as we don’t make silly mistakes.So far, bar perhaps the game at Goodison Park the defeats and even the games where we’ve scraped a win, have been due more to our own shortcomings than superior opposition. I fully expect the ‘top red’ brigade to crucify me for this, but Sir Alex Ferguson has made hard work of far too many games this season, with poor and sometimes even baffling decisions. Before you all start, I’m fully aware of his greatness and appreciate what he’s done as much as anyone, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say some of the tactics employed during this campaign have been naive at best.
The title is there for the taking as long as we don’t gift too many games away, here’s five tactical decisions that could ensure we’ll be reaching number 20 come May.
1. No midfield ‘pair’ should contain either Paul Scholes or Ryan Giggs. I love Giggs and Scholes and would happily name my children after them- if I had any- but it’s abundantly clear they cannot play as part of a two in the Premier League anymore. On Saturday Scholes struggled alongside Darren Fletcher, a week prior Giggs looked out of sorts alongside Michael Carrick. These games weren’t against Barcelona or even Man City, they were against Norwich and QPR, two sides who’ll probably consider it an excellent season if they finish 17th. I don’t enjoy rolling my eyes when I see players I adore named in the starting line-up and I still believe both veterans can do a job, but it’s either from the bench or alongside two other energetic types.
2. David De Gea starts EVERY league game. I understand he’s had his wisdom teeth removed so missed Norwich, but DDG should’ve been fit enough to play against QPR and he could’ve made the difference had Anderson not got us out of jail. Anders Lindegaard is a good goalkeeper, but he isn’t world-class, not by any stretch, and Fergie’s fondness for dropping DDG at the slightest hint of a mistake, could prove costly. The Spaniard kept us in the title race at the end of last season, with the sort of saves his colleague can only dream of. Start De Gea. Simple.
3. Stop playing Danny Welbeck on the wing. I don’t care if it’s left or right, Welbeck is not a winger, he’s not even remotely one, he’s a striker who’s being wasted out wide. If it means he doesn’t start then so be it, but playing him on the left wing is becoming a bit of a farce, as he’s never been suited to it. We’ve seen what he can do up front, and what he’s doing for England now, so if we do want to play Welbeck play him there or not at all.
4. Chicharito is a sub. This may upset a few people but here’s how the cycle works. Chicha comes off the bench scores, starts the next game, doesn’t do too well, is dropped back to the bench, comes on late on and scores, starts the next game……
It’s not rocket science, the lad is a brilliant impact player who teams simply cannot handle, can we say the same about Welbeck or even Wayne Rooney? No. It may be hard to take at times when we see him do so well from the bench, but that’s where he should be playing from – for now anyway.
5. If you’re poor, you’re dropped. Wayne Rooney, Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, I don’t care what your name is and how ‘legendary’ you are, if you’re not playing well, then you shouldn’t be starting. We’ve suffered from sticking with players this season who’ve been out of form, none more so than Tony V who bar the Chelsea match hasn’t been at the races at all. I’m not saying one bad game should mean you’re dropped but if it’s a few then no matter who you are you should make way, we’ve certainly got the squad for it.
I firmly believe if we stick to these five points, we’ll regain ‘our trophy’ the question is do you agree?
Answers on a brick through the usual window please: