Remember the time United’s top scorer suddenly couldn’t find the net for almost two months and we suddenly stopped winning and slipped out of the title race? Or what about the time Tony V became bereft of all confidence and we were always losing? Or how about the time Nemanja Vidic missed a few games last season and we ended up empty handed? No? Not ringing any bells? Of course it isn’t as none of the aforementioned scenarios led to anything other than us not winning the league by an even bigger margin. Our most talented players may have suffered from loss of form or injury at one point or another last season but that didn’t prevent our ultimately triumphant campaign, even ‘keeper of the year’ David De Gea was dropped at one point- albeit briefly.
Only one player remained not only undroppable but also consistently on form last season and that player was Michael Carrick, who’s become vital to United the way Roy Keane was, despite not possessing the full range of talents in Keano’s armoury. Carrick has risen from the depths of being derided by many fans as a negative player unwilling to pass the ball forward and also lacking in the tenacity which makes a truly great ‘DM’ – that’s defensive midfielder not direct message- to a man that almost reinvented the role. No longer does a defensive midfielder have to be a tough tackling type, he can be someone who simply reads the game and makes intercepting look effortless.
The problem for United is that should the move for Cesc Fabregas fail we may end up relying on the midfielders we have at our disposal. Carrick is the only truly reliable centre midfielder we have, yes Phil Jones can do a job there- and in my opinion should be deployed alongside Carrick for the tougher games, Tom Cleverley is an England international and Anderson can beat an ice cream van over one hundred yards- but its only the former Spurs man you can truly rely on.
As it stands United need a midfielder and if we don’t get one all hope isn’t lost as potential sides we can put out show:
EVRA/BUTTNER RIO/SMALLING VIDIC/EVANS RAFAEL/FABIO
[the likes of Amos and Buttner are for the Hull City’s and Cardiff’s of this world but I wouldn’t even rest Carrick for that as it stands]
Any of these combinations is still capable of challenging for the title, take Carrick out of the equation though and it all looks very different and very bleak….