Thursday, June 8, 2023

United on the edge

Coming to the end?

Let’s get one thing straight about Manchester United. They are still top of the Premier League, they are still in the Champions League and they are still in the FA Cup. If that is a crisis then I would love my team to be in crisis all the time!


That said, there is no doubt that United are in a crucial period for the club. Two straight defeats, in admittedly tough away games, have made the winning of a record nineteenth title far from the foregone conclusion it looked to be a couple of weeks ago. Also over the next couple of weeks they have a tough FA Cup game against Arsenal and the second leg of their Champions League game against Marseille which is poised at 0-0.

At the end of this crucial period United could still be on for a treble, or they could be faced with just the league to go for, in poor form and with others desperate to topple them.


Sir Alex Ferguson is playing his old trick of trying to instil a ‘it’s us against the world, nobody likes us’ mentality within the team and is trusting those who have seen and done it all before with the task of seeing it through.

The trouble is that this United team, whatever anyone says, is not a patch on some that have gone before.

The normally reliable Edwin van der Sar looked shaky at Liverpool and gave away the third goal. He has been and still is a great keeper but at the age of forty, playing his last season, it is no surprise that the odd error might creep in.


At the back the formidable Ferdinand and Vidic partnership have hardly played together. Ferdinand seems incapable of playing more than a few games without picking up a knock. It may well be that his best days are behind him.

Vidic is immense and Patrice Evra is right up there with the best left backs around, but the other two places in the back four are problematic. It seems certain that Chris Smalling will be a fine player, but he is not the finished article. The same could be said for Rafael at right back, but I think you can add a suspect temperament and a tendency to dive into rash challenges in his case.


Wes Brown and John O’Shea have been fine servants for United but they are only dusted off in times of emergency and are certainly not the answer.

It is in the midfield that the major problem lies. There is a lack of creativity that is rare in a Manchester United team. Nani has flashes of brilliance and sometimes shows why people thought he would be the new Ronaldo, but he is inconsistent and gives the ball away too easily. Michael Carrick has just signed a new long contract and should consider himself a lucky boy. When was the last time that Carrick played a pass that had any effect whatever on a game?

Ferguson and Anderson are players who ‘put in a shift’ but don’t have the creative spark that is required.


Scholes and Giggs will go down as two of the greatest players ever in the Premier League and they might just have one last title left in them. It is touch and go as neither of them looked to be at the races on Sunday and the energetic and lively Liverpool midfield was too much for them. Fergie has given them both another season but they do look as though they can do it.

Up front, Hernandez has had a good first season and may be a long term winner for the club. Wayne Rooney is not doing it. He has scored a couple of great goals recently but his touch and his overall contribution is way below that of which he is capable. Dimitar Berbatov remains an enigma. He has so much talent, but is nowhere near as good as he should be.


Fergie will rally his troops and it would be a fool who bets against them winning at least something, but if United are to maintain their incredible record of achievement beyond this season, I’m afraid the cheque book will have to come out and big name players will be required in all departments.


Graham Fisher



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12 years ago

Kaka is up for sale, so Madrid should sale him to us. all the haters out there, and even the neutrals, can’t say that we’re hogging all the big names, when you especially look at Madrid and Man City.

A fact I know of is that the last time United lost 2 consecutive games, was 2009, and that year we won the PL title. We still have our hopes on that at least, this season.

(sarcasm). . . . this is most definitely a crisis. . .

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