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Player of the Month

Antonio Valencia – January 2012 Player of the Month – The Terminator is Back

So why are us United fans mourning the loss of our winger, Luis Antonio Valencia Mosquera, who sustained his injury whilst creating the second decisive goal against Ajax?

Our Ecuadorian winger, (born on the 4th August 1985), has just ‘TERMINATED’ the opposition in Januarys’ Player On the Month Award with Our Red Rants Readers, winning 56% of the vote. Surely a testament to his remarkable return from the sickening break against Rangers and further ankle injury in the pre-season, but then again, this is a player who has fought tooth and nail to get to the top. After dalliances in the Spanish league with the yellow submarines of Villarreal and Recreativo he found his way to Manchester United in June 2009 following a 3 yr spell with Wigan. We splashed £16mil of the Ronaldo cash on this South American Retro winger. Seen as a throwback to times gone by, he combines Ultimate functionality with rugged determination. His game is supposedly about pace, power and the By-line, an archetypical winger, he’s been likened to Andrei Kanchelskisis, but surely that’s a lazy analogy. Simply too cliché. He doesn’t have the flying Russian’s blinkers when attacking or his reluctance to track back. He has become more than this, more than the sum of his parts, starring in a series of all-action displays despite an over-reliance on that right foot.

During his career he has been something of a positional nomad; starting in central midfield, he made his name as a powerful fleet footed winger whose direct play and excellent crossing resonates with anyone who watched the winged wonders of the 70’s and 80’s. Recently he has done an excellent job covering Right-back, showing an uncanny ability to adapt to a defensive job in an alien position. This flexibility and awareness positions Antonio apart from his previous counterparts.

Games against Arsenal and latterly against Ajax displayed a change in his mentality and further proof of his growing creative significance. In the Arsenal game not only did he add a headed goal to his repartee but his assist revealed a desire to run the inside channel to setup Welbeck rather than the more predictable outside route to cross. Whereas, against Ajax, Valencia took the ball in-field to make a formidable driving run drawing the defender and choosing the perfect time to release the ball into the evacuated space to open up the Ajax centre of defence; breathtakingly simple and elegant.

Whilst January has highlighted the surprising inconsistencies that have plagued this season.



EPL: 4/1/12 Newcastle 0-3 L (Played at RB, best player)
FAC: 8/1/12 Man City 3-2 W (Assist for Rooney)
EPL: 14/1/12 Bolton 3-0 W (Man of the Match wing play)
EPL: 22/1/12 Arsenal 2-1 W (Headed goal and 1-2 and run sets up Welbeck for dramatic late winner)
FAC: 28/1/12 Liverpool 1-2 L (Back healed flick releases Rafael to set up Park for equaliser. Powerful driving run and shot rebounds off the post.)
EPL: 31/1/12 Stoke 2-0 W (won penalty)

Antonio Valencia has been the one constant through January, his consistency a galvanising presence compared to that of his more celebrated and more infuriating teammates. In the 6 January games he has been involved in, he has been directly/indirectly involved in the creation of 5 goals; that’s an amazing 45.5% of all the goals scored in that time. This is following on from a 96% passing rate for the games over the festive period.

“Antonio has been playing brilliantly. He is back to his best and when he is like that he is so difficult to defend against. It is great for the forwards because he is so good at delivering the ball into the box quickly.”
– Wayne Rooney, speaking before Man United’s trip to Arsenal

His ability to produce these reliable performances are more akin to Mr. Consistency himself; Dennis Irwin, allowing Antonio to contribute 2 goals and nine direct assists in only 17 games in the 2011/12 season.

He has become our silent scowling assassin, targeting the opposition………
The Man is Part footballer,
The Man is Part Machine,
This Man Is An All Red Terminator……..And He’ll Be Back Soon……..Thank God!

You can see the results of the poll here.

(a copy of the full wallpaper size image (2000 x 1000) is available on Facebook or on request)

JonyB (@JonyB_007)



  1. Daniele

    21 February 2012 at 09:37

    No one deserves it more than him. Valencia’s been brilliant this season, looks like he’s well and truly back after that horrible injury last year. I can’t believe how underrated he’s. Seriously, how many wingers can people name that cover as much ground as he does,possess his physical strength and technique? Furthermore he’s a menace even if he plays at right-back. We’re going to miss him dearly for the next 3-4 weeks.

    • JonyB

      21 February 2012 at 21:37

      the more i researched his STATs and watched back the games the more amazing his form as looked……. Definitely deserves it 😀

  2. Red Fred

    21 February 2012 at 10:29

    What a major loss ! We can’t depend on Nani

    • JonyB

      21 February 2012 at 21:34

      @Red Fred:
      Nani remains an enigma but at his best he as been unpredictably brilliant. Very different to Antonio, whose own form has been so reliably great since the turn of the year..

  3. Stephen

    21 February 2012 at 10:59

    Valencia in my opinion is the most underrated player in the league, he always puts in an 8 out 10 performance, good work ethic and is a teriffic crosser of the ball.

    • Moscow is my heaven

      21 February 2012 at 13:35

      @Stephen: He also makes Rooney happy with his direct style, something no-one at the club has been able to do since Ronaldo’s departure. The duo were an unstoppable unit in 2009/10, with Valencia finding Rooney time and time again in the box. Injuries to Tony and Rooney’s new fetish for a deeper role has hindered the partnership somewhat, but once our midfield and medical team improve, we will see them wreak havoc once again.

      • Stephen

        21 February 2012 at 16:45

        @Moscow is my heaven: Agreed Opti mate, they dove tail well together.

        • JonyB

          21 February 2012 at 21:41

          They’ve been an amazing combination, his assist STATs show what a potent weapon he’s been……

        • JonyB

          21 February 2012 at 21:58

          in the bolton game he had 100% passing stats for the final third….. can’t ask for better than that

  4. 2eux

    21 February 2012 at 11:43

    hmm, I thoughts Nemanja Vidic was the real Terminator 8)

  5. ash is the man

    21 February 2012 at 17:20

    Considering we signed valley straight after we sold ronaldo he has done extremely well. Its a credit to his mental strength as most pundits and fans would directly see him as a replacement for ronnie and most people would of crumbled under this shadow (just look how nani suffered )
    However valley stuck to this strengths and continued to play the way he plays- which is simple and direct and no bullshitting with the ball.

    • JonyB

      21 February 2012 at 21:49

      @ash is the man: wrong
      As soon as you start looking at his career it shows what a determined bloke he’s been. Just his comeback from the injury showed hid mental strength. When he signed i really wondered what quality he could add to the team, I’ve been amazed at how many people, including myself, he’s proved wrong in underestimating him……

  6. johnsom33

    21 February 2012 at 19:02

    I think Dempsey from Fulham would have a similar impact for us as Valencia has had. He would couldnt more than 15m plus he can be played anywhere in attack. If he had a british passport instead of a Yankee one he would be worth 20m plus easy.

    • JonyB

      21 February 2012 at 21:52

      interesting thoughts, really not seen enough of him to make that judgement but definitely seems to have made a massive impact for Fulham 💡

    • Ian

      21 February 2012 at 23:02

      Exactly what I’ve been saying for 2 years or more mate, might not be the most attractive to watch but it’s all about production for me and Dempsey produces time after time, surround him with quality players and I think he’d improve and shine. Maybe a year or so too late now though.

  7. RedDevilEddy

    21 February 2012 at 20:44

    Valencia deserves a chant, can’t believe he doesn’t have one!

    • JonyB

      21 February 2012 at 21:43


      It HAS to have a TERMINATOR edge to it….. 8)

  8. Moscow is my heaven

    21 February 2012 at 21:43

    Anyone up for Villas Boas succeeding Fergie when he retires? 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

  9. RedDevilEddy

    21 February 2012 at 21:53

    I would not blame AVB for what is happening to Chelsea. I feel sorry for him, when you’ve got players with that shit attitude and (lack of) football intelligence you are bound to suffer. He didn’t sign Luiz, he didn’t sign Torres, Essien is a shadow of his former self and the rest are just old. Drogba, Cech, Lamps, Terry, Cole… His players are Sturridge and Mata, who arguably have been Chelsea’s best players this season. I hope he is given time, he’ll do well.

    On a sidenote, well done Napoli!! :mrgreen:

    • JonyB

      21 February 2012 at 23:15

      Whilst its true that AVB as a massively difficult job at Chav$ki, 4 wins in (??) 13 games is a damning indictment of his ability. He’s hardly being hampered by a terrible injury crisis, or hamstrung by Glazernomics……

    • Andrei

      21 February 2012 at 23:40

      @RedDevilEddy: A very strong showing for Napoli fighting back from a goal down and going with a comfortable 3-1 lead into the second leg at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea had surprisingly hard time containing Napoli attack. So much for the supposedly inferior Seria A with Arsenal getting destroyed by AC Milan and City and Chelsea bossed around a middle table Napoli.

  10. Opti

    21 February 2012 at 22:05

    Little Midget Tevez is BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK in Manchester and apologized. Should be in their team now. 😆 I don’t think this will aid them …

    • JonyB

      21 February 2012 at 23:11

      In one way I’m glad since Mancini gained massively from his stance against Tevez. Going back on his declaration that “He’ll Never play for this team whilst I’m manager” proves laughably weak despite all the claims that Tevez apologise….. 😀

      • Andrei

        21 February 2012 at 23:25

        @JonyB: He probably had no other option. City needed extra power in attack with Dzeko and Aguero misfiring and Balotelli sulking in suspension. Anyway it is a big gamble for Mancini but if Tevez regains his form (which I doubt btw) he could be a difference at the season end. He is not the most charming personality but it is hard to question his footballing abilities and workrate when he feels like playing.

  11. Onkar

    22 February 2012 at 09:02

    Hey Craigy NANI has opened the New Contract Talk… Looks like he has opted to Stay with Man United after all….

  12. Opti

    22 February 2012 at 16:29

    What are your all’s thoughts on a European Super League. Promotion/relegation? Cup/league format? Domestic league survival? How to pick teams initially? Europa League / UEFA Cup?

    This thinking was inspire by the BBC article featuring Seedorf:

  13. Opti

    22 February 2012 at 16:31

    Why are Man City playing EL today???? ❓ ❓

  14. johnsom33

    22 February 2012 at 19:50

    anybody else find themselves cheering on Basel?

    • Andrei

      22 February 2012 at 21:34

      @johnsom33: Well it turns out that Basel are not a crap team after all. At least Bayern are finding them a tough nut to crack…

  15. RedDevilEddy

    22 February 2012 at 22:04

    Too bad the mighty Bayern Munich couldn’t find a way past Basel!

    • Opti

      22 February 2012 at 22:20

      @RedDevilEddy: Didn’t we lose to Basel at HOME???? 3-2… So far, Bayern are not in that bad of a situation as they are quite good at home. If Basel had been more clinical/lucky in front of goal, the tie would have been over already

      • RedDevilEddy

        22 February 2012 at 22:22

        @Opti: It was a draw wasn’t it? Young equalised in the last minute! 😕

        • Opti

          22 February 2012 at 23:28

          @RedDevilEddy: Åh ja! Min hukommelse svigter mig…

  16. Opti

    22 February 2012 at 22:20

    What’s up with Porto… reigning Europa League champions… oh wait, Europa League. 🙄 🙄

  17. RedDevilEddy

    22 February 2012 at 22:21

    I would love it if we signed Fernando Torres this summer, I’ve always wanted to see a Rooney-El Ninõ partnership and I think it could bring the best out of him. He’d do well at United!

    • Moscow is my heaven

      22 February 2012 at 22:34

      @RedDevilEddy: A lot of people would have whole-heartedly agreed with you if you said that 2-3 years ago.

      I would agree with you right now. Torres would be a perfect fit at United, Fergie would resurrect his career. It’s a real shame because he said he’d never join United, because our football plays to his strengths. Rooney-Torres partnership… delicious!

      • RedDevilEddy

        22 February 2012 at 23:13

        @Moscow is my heaven: The fact is that he will never do well at Chelsea unless they change their system. Chelsea play domination football, with slow build up that relies on strength and patience. Drogba is a perfect fit there, so I never got why they went for Torres. He is a striker that relies on quick-incisive passing with penetration and variety, and would be a perfect fit at United. His form went down for Spain when they started to go for the patient-build up play with impeccable movement after the Euro’s in 2008. As soon as Hodgson arrived they started to do the same, applying patient tactics rather than basing their play on a solid defence and then counter. You look at his goals for Chelsea, and his last ones for Liverpool, and most of them come from counter attacks. He is a master at finding that little inch of space in a defence that is unbalanced, very much like Chicharito only that Torres has got that little bit of individual technique. Or very much of it really, I think United would have scored a lot more goals with balls over the top had Chicharito had a better first touch, very often when we play him through he gets a poor touch and we lose the ball. He hasn’t scored a single goal for United that has been more than two-touches, which is saying something. I know that United haven’t been as deadly on the counter these last 3 seasons, but that is very much because of the striker applied. Berbatov doesn’t have pace, Chicharito doesn’t have the touch, and despite Welbeck doing most things right in that manner his final ball deserts him. Look at the Arsenal game, he could have had a hat-trick alone just from counter attacks! I mean, we haven’t been the same counter attacking force we used to be since Tevez left! We had Saha and Tevez who could combine with Rooney, Giggs and Ronaldo to deadly effect, but it just isn’t the same anymore. Rooney, Young, Nani, Valencia… They’ve all got pace and control to match, but it’s just that sole man up front I think we lack. Torres may not have the acceleration he had 3 years ago, but he’s still fucking quick! And his mind is definately sharp, it’s just too bad Chelsea don’t have the players or system to get the best out of him. I know he’s not cheap, but even for £25 million he would be a fucking steal for us!

        • Opti

          22 February 2012 at 23:30

          @RedDevilEddy: I think you will more likely see Torres sold to a rich non-english club (PSG?) and the proceeds will be used to get Cavani or Hulk (Porto connection) who fits Chelsea’s style well.

          That is, unless chelsea change their style to fit Torres… which requires them to let go of Lampard+Drogba (i.e. prune the tree of it’s aging branches).

          Interesting times for Chelsea

  18. Opti

    23 February 2012 at 09:10

    What happened to Groggy???? Gone again?

  19. colver

    23 February 2012 at 11:12

    Credit to Manchester City for beating Porto 4-0. We can scoff that it is only a second rate competition. But remember that our Cup Winners Cup victory was an important stepping stone to our Premier League domination and a source of considerable pride.

    Lets follow suit and give Ajax a sound thrashing and then do our upmost to stop Manchester City winnining the Europa League.

  20. colver

    23 February 2012 at 11:30

    Torres would have been nice to have. But now there is not that much point. Like most players who rely on their pace he does not have much longevity. By the time we sort out his confidence problems he’d only have a few good years. It would have been better to get him in his early twenties.

    Besides if we had £25-30 million we should be buying a central midfielder.

    • Moscow is my heaven

      23 February 2012 at 17:46

      @colver: Snubbing us for Liverpool was possibly the worst mistake of his life. They say footballers are stupid but that was just ridiculous 😯

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