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Au Pair for Nani and Rooney Disperses Toothless Wolves

Manchester United’s victory against Wolves saw the club manage to score more than 3 goals in a single game for the first time since visiting The Reebok in early September. After possibly one of the hardest weeks in Sir Alex’s career, he must be overjoyed to see his players play with the swagger and determination that’s been missing at Old Trafford for quite some time now. Despite not being the most talented side in the League, you cannot say that the Wolves lacked fighting spirit. It was going to be a challenge for United, but if there was a time the West Midlands outfit would have dreaded to face the Red Devils, it would have been on a day when they had an awful lot to prove.

A lot can be said about United hitting the goals again, scoring 4, but then people seem to say “it was only Wolves”. What must have impressed Sir Alex is probably not just the finishing, but the character that our players showed. But at United, playing with Stoke-like bravery will never be enough to satisfy the needs of many, so was the performance really something to brag about?

There were going to be questions asked of United’s defence following Vidic’ injury that will rule him out for the rest of the season. Johnny Evans took our captain’s place next to Rio, who again played on the left side of defence. Until the Swansea game, it is hard to remember a time when Rio played on that side. He has been a right-central defender for his whole United career, but ever since the City fixture he has been filling another role. The reason for this is still up for discussion, but it looks like it is to protect Evra. Vidic has been the left-central defender during Evra’s time at United, being the one to cover up space whenever the Frenchman moves forward. In the past, you would see Rio bombing up the right with the ball at his feet, meaning either Neville or Wes was there to help him out. Now that Rio does not seem to have that pace anymore, he will stay back. And with Vidic out, we will need someone to stay static and cover Evra’s space. Rio is intelligent, a solid tackler, and good in the air, so if you take away his attacking duties he seems the perfect man to replace Vidic as Evra’s protector.

The goal conceded came from a cross from their left that nobody really could have done much about. Just like in midweek it was disappointing to see Evans not get his head on the ball but instead let it pass him, but he does not have the best leap so you cannot fault him for his lacking ability. Overall he performed quite well and put in a solid shift, very determined and definitely did a good job helping out Smalling whenever Jarvis got past the big man. Chris has easily had better games, but then he had played 300 minutes of football in less than 2 weeks before the Wolves game so tiredness is an obvious reason for it. Thankfully there are no games during the midweek so players will come back fresh and get some rest.

During his 4 year long United career it is difficult to remember too many good games Nani has played on our left wing. Ever since his return to form in January 2010, he has been tearing apart full backs on United’s right getting assist after assist, and goal after goal. He has become one of United’s leading lights, a talisman, and someone to turn to when things go bad. Sadly, he has been too inconsistent and poor form, along with being a “supplier” in the team, means he has not made the impact people would have wished for. His job on the right wing is to skin opponents, put the ball in, and if given the opportunity, cut inside and have a shot. He has done this wonderfully, but when our strikers miss more than they score, like Rooney did against Basel in midweek, it becomes easy to forget his contribution to this team. He had a stormer against Wolves though, scoring twice and getting an assist for Wazza’s first goal. It was not the Nani we are used to see, as his role on the left is totally different to when he is on the right. Despite being skillful and good with both feet, he looks more like an orthodox winger on the right. Against Wolves however, playing on the left, he looked more like an attacking midfielder. He did not put too much emphasis on getting crosses in, but rather playing short-good passes, skinning his opponents, cutting inside and getting a shot in. Actually, you only saw him getting a cross in twice during the whole game, none of which really threatened. He played like an attacking midfielder, but off the ball he positioned himself intelligently enough to create amazing width in our team. Unlike Young, he was not afraid of going at his opponents or taking a shot, and it gave him 2 goals and an assist.

While Nani took his opponents totally by surprise on our left, Antonio Valencia played his best game of the season on the right wing. He seemed his usual self, going at opponents at pace, getting a cross in and notching up a few assists. When the game ended, he had a total of 3 assists to his name, the first time he has achieved such a feat in his United career. It is not much to write about really, as Valencia was his usual self. He stay wide, gets to the byline and gets crosses in, and it seems no-one can stop him. He played well with Smalling, but there were a few passes that were badly timed and ruined our attacks. Given Nani’s positioning, Valencia had a stormer. He always had 3 men to aim for in the box, and thanks to a very attacking performance by Carrick he often had 4 targets in there as well, Carrick being unlucky not to get himself a goal with a header in the early minutes. Tony gives United pace, directness, and especially width, which is vital for our strikers. Having him in full form is vital for the club, and his ability to find Rooney wearing blindfolds can prove to be the difference of how many trophies United win this season.

Having Nani play so centrally really seemed to get the best out of Wayne. His passes were sharp, and his positioning spot on. Despite having an illness called “chipwheneveryoucan-itis”, he had a really good game! For the first time since September, you actually saw him run at opposition players and get himself in goalscoring positions. The whole system seemed to fit Rooney. Having Welbeck in the team meant that he could drop off, but also be our front-man whenever necessary. He was played through by a magnificent Welbeck a couple of times, and this flexible approach really seemed to suit him. His understanding with Valencia was, as always, perfect, and he really hit it off with a very central Nani. Unlike the Villa game, their positions did not collide, but instead kept a healthy distance with a great understanding. Valencia was our “crosser” this game, and it was obvious focus was going to be down our right side. Jarvis did not track back, leaving their left back very exposed, and it gave us 4 goals. Jones performed well in midfield, again, and because Carrick was given more attacking duties we became very flexible and unpredictable when going forward. More of the same, please!

Having Welbeck, Nani and Rooney in the team at the same time gives this team a new edge. They interchange positions every time, all of them giving different options. Despite not getting a goal himself, Danny showed what this team have been missing for quite some time. His vision and passing range got others into play on multiple occasions, and he could have had himself 3 or 4 assists. Despite being the tall front man, he offers us something Chicharito does not, which is playmaking. Opponents do not seem to fear Hernandez with the ball, putting more focus on marking Rooney or Nani, but when Welbeck had the ball they all seemed worried. He ran at opponents, playing others into great positions, and also positioned himself well in the box. Brilliant game by the Mancunican, and he seems very important to Rooney. His presence gave Wazza more time and space on the ball, and that second can be the difference between a shot that creeps into the corner, and a wasted pass under pressure.

If United are to play a wide game, trying to get crosses in from both flanks, using Nani on the left is a bad idea. He is a right winger, but his skillset makes him an excellent Left Attacking Midfielder, so based on the team we are facing he gives us a great option. With Chicharito out, we will not really have a real goalscorer in the box, so not too many crosses will be swung in from both sides. We will try to play through, or at least have two possible attacking styles on each flank, so if Welbeck is to continue up front along with Rooney there would not be too much of a surprise to see Nani favored instead of Young.




  1. karma

    15 December 2011 at 08:26

    Pogba to Inter?!?

    Fergie please don’t fuck it up k?

    • Eddie

      15 December 2011 at 16:42

      The Mail is not the most reliable source, so take that with a few grains of salt.

      • Traverse

        16 December 2011 at 02:23

        He’s still got another 2 years on his contract. So no.

  2. colver

    15 December 2011 at 19:06

    Getting pushed out of Old Trafford has a devastating effect on players’ psyches. It is like flying first class. Once you’ve done it once, economy will never be the same. Tevez has zero emotional attachment to City. Whereas it was very clear he was deeply attached to Manchester United until Ferguson started screwing him around.

    So disregard Tevez’s behaviour after leaving us. All that matters to me is that he was a vital part of the best Manchester United team Ferguson every produced. And if it wasn’t for the machinations of his agent, the uncertainty over whether he wants to stay in Europe all his life and Ferguson’s bloodymindedness in buying Berbatov I am sure he would have gone down as a United legend and be spared all the stick he is getting.

    • Stephen

      16 December 2011 at 09:35

      Or his agent decides that he would move to another club for more money, they are both greedy cunts.

      • Stephen

        16 December 2011 at 10:54

        Let me quantify that, Tevez would have never stayed loyal to United. Kia Joorabchian totally controls the easily lead, stupid Argie. His agant and the Godfather of his daughter would have wanted him to move on, yes for more money.
        Blaming Fergie is stupid, Tevez stopped learning English after a few months, which annoyed everyone, he developed into a moaner. I agree Berba was a signing too far, but we have both Tevez and Rooney who are very similar and Berba offered us something different. Tevez is a trouble maker and always has been, he was excellent for us and we should never forget that, but he is a nasty, selfish little git who has forgotton where he has come from.

        • Eddie

          16 December 2011 at 15:35

          I haven’t watched him in any interviews in ages, but how’s his grasp of English now?

        • Eddie

          16 December 2011 at 15:47

          And for my part, I have zero sympathy for him. Even if he was sore about how things happened at United, he’s a grown man, so blaming his indiscretions post-United is silly.

          If you got or think you got a raw deal at a previous job, a place you supposedly loved…would you be a nuisance at the next one? I sure wouldn’t, and it would take a lot less than two-odd years to get pushed out the door. Can’t let the past dictate my future negatively, so even if he was bitter, he can’t act up and get a pass for it.

          Great player, but I can’t say I miss him too much.

        • Stephen

          16 December 2011 at 16:10

          Agreed, too many people romanticize about him, he had the option to stay but chose to leave. He is money driven like many players, he had as many minuteson the pitch as Berba in his last season.
          I do find fans funny, Rooney get so much stich and rightly so about his behaviour last season, but players like Ronaldo, Tevez who wanted to leave seem so revered. Tevez even signed for our biggest rivals and Ronaldo signed for his “boyhood” club and was very open about his desire to leave.

        • Stephen

          16 December 2011 at 16:11

          About as good as my mandarin….

  3. colver

    15 December 2011 at 19:20

    By the way, I wanted to make the observation that none of the English clubs are finding the Europa League at all easy. Everyone writes it off as a waste of time but the only English team that has managed to qualify from the group stages is Stoke.

    We have a young squad that is relatively inexperienced in Europe so I really hope we take this competition seriously. It would greatly increase the confidence of our youngsters if they played in the semis or finals of the Europa Cup and also guarantee that next year they won’t make such a mess of the group stages.

    My Europa dream team would be:

    Lindegaard-Fabio, Smalling, Evans, Fryers-Valencia, Jones, Pogba, Park-Morrison-Berbatov

    • Andrei

      15 December 2011 at 22:40

      And the most surprising is Spurs not qualifying from a relatively easy group at least on the paper. Given how well they are doing in EPL. It could be the clearest indication to date of overall league decline especially paired with exit of two top EPL teams from CL. Italian league is supposed to be vastly inferior to EPL but despite fielding their first team City were bossed around by Napoli who are not even title contenders.

      • Traverse

        16 December 2011 at 02:24

        They’ve played their kids and reserves mostly. Harry’s got no interest in it. More bothered about qualifying for next yars Champs League, and rightly so.

        • Andrei

          16 December 2011 at 03:14

          Yes, they played some fringe players but hardly kids. Penaar, Defoe, Kranjcar, Kaboul, Assou-Ekoto are not kids.

        • RedDevilEddy

          16 December 2011 at 17:28

          Townsend, Livermore, Iqbal or something… Too many young players mixed with footballers that are has-beens or never able to break through, never going to qualify.

  4. Traverse

    16 December 2011 at 02:25

    We’ve bid 30mil Euros for Gaitan, according to reports in Argentina.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      16 December 2011 at 05:40

      sexy stuff… but unlikely:
      1) It’s 30 million!
      2) He won’t leave in January
      3) It’s 30 million!

  5. colver

    16 December 2011 at 02:48

    Why would Gaitan join us when he can play Champions League football with Benfica?

    Much better to track his progress in the later stages of the Champions League and consider a bid in the summer.

    • Stephen

      16 December 2011 at 10:55

      Would he rather play for United or Benfica, that is a no brainer, Benfica will not win the Champions League.

  6. Owen

    16 December 2011 at 12:24

    Ajax for Manchester United…

    • thatboywazza

      16 December 2011 at 12:53

      whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Ajax Bleh

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      16 December 2011 at 13:25

      at least we odn’t have to travel far… and dang(!) there’s a lot of easter European teams in that tournament…

  7. Stephen

    16 December 2011 at 14:16

    Superb, Amsterdam, booze, drugs, hookers and football….Marvellous :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    • RedDevilEddy

      16 December 2011 at 14:54


      • Stephen

        16 December 2011 at 16:04

        😆 😆 😆 😆

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