One of the most baffling elements of a season that has if we’re completely honest at times flattered to deceive a little for the Reds has been the fall from grace of a certain Antonio Valencia.
I’ve lost count of the amount of time, pages, energy and thoughts I’ve spent pondering over how why and what to do about the Ecuadorian winger’s staggering loss of form.
On Monday an idea that’s been forming in the minds of more than a few United fans was made to look all the more attractive as Valencia finally gave a performance that was, well, almost Tony V like.
On a day at Stamford Bridge for the FA Cup replay, where many of the United side were well below par, Valencia actually managed to emerge with some credit even earning praise from Sir Alex Ferguson.
The United boss noted: “I thought to be honest with you over the 90 minutes only Antonio Valencia reached the standard we expect of them.”
The winger’s performance at right back was one of his best of the season and it’s a position he’s occupied before with some success. One of the main problems with playing Valencia at right back has been that it’s deemed a ‘waste’ of his talents, yet let’s be honest how dangerous has he been on the right wing this season?
Of course United have a right back who’s enjoying a hugely successful season, one could argue it’s the opposite of what’s happened to Valencia, as Rafael has gone from strength to strength.
One of Rafael’s biggest assets is his ability to surge forward and often wreak havoc in the opposition defence, in some ways again he’s almost the opposite of Valencia who’s often reluctant and indecisive in attack.
Rafael has played on the wing before, most memorably against Arsenal for in the FA Cup quarter final two seasons ago. Looking at the stats, the little Brazilian has three goals and the same number of assists in the league, not a shabby record for a full back, just imagine what he could do on the wing.
As for Valencia, can he truly be used at right back? It’s a position he’s been used in before and on the whole has done well, so would it really be that much of a risk to try it?
United have Wilfried Zaha on the way, not to mention both Nani and Ashley Young all capable of playing on the right wing, but with the latter two enduring somewhat inconsistent seasons and all three able to play on the left, is it really such a bad idea?
Let me know your thoughts, doubts, comments and insults below:
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Very interesting and creative proposition.I remember that game against Arsenal where Fabio-Rafael took the game by the scruff from the wings! But I have a feeling that Valencia is currently playing through injury and should go under knife to correct whatever that is hindering him from becoming the flying winger he once was not too long ago..
Rafael is one of my favourite ManU players. He has speed, ball control and good passing skills. But most importantly he has an incredible work ethic and a never say die attitude. He would do exceptionally well in Valencia’s place!
It’s certainly a worthwhile proposition – only cowards and casual fans would suggest otherwise – but I think a more nuanced approach is better:
With the derby imminent, it’s time to look back on the Etihad win. That game, Rafael got 2 assists – but he did so from RB. Crucially, it was Valencia on RM who offered us an outlet from City’s squeezing. If there’s one thing Valencia hasn’t lost, it’s his ability to receive and hold the ball, and bring in team-mates.
That was the key, away; so it should be at home. Start Nani as a LM; but going forward, drift him to the right, to double-up with Rafael on Clichy. Valencia can initiate this as the pivot, and accomodate it by dropping to RB, so we aren’t exposed on the break.
If this was as potent as it sounds, Mancini would be forced to make a defensive change – maybe switch Milner to the left to track Rafael, which would mitigate City’s attack. Whatever we do, we can’t give City the initiative. Not at home.
Sell Valencia whilst United can still get money for him because the end of next season he wont be worth anything.
Zaha and Rodrigues from Porto will be United wingers for years to come so now is the time to get rid of all the deadwood. Get rid of Nani as well and for full backs Vermilj in the reserves will be a lot better full back than Rafael for he does not go to sleep when the opposition attacks
and he is faster as well
You sir are a fool. vermilj over rafael? Nonsense
united shouldnt be gambling.its too big to gamble.valencia isnot good.why praise a winger for playing good at fullback
FUCK YOURSELF TREVOR..BRING THAT HOMO RODRIGUEZ..
Interesting thoughts on that…could this halt the stunning progress of Mr Da Silva though?
He’s shaping up to be one of the best young full backs in the world right now, and I wouldn’t want anything to affect that.
He needs 2 stay well focus