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Manchester United 07/08 Season Review: The Attack

This is Part I of our three part series on Manchester United’s successful 07/08 season. We’ve broken it up into three parts: the Attack, the Midfield and the Defence. Now we must also be clear about what I mean by these; the attack comprises of our strikers and wingers; the midfield is strictly central midfielders; the defence would represent our central defenders and ‘keepers.

So let’s get on with this shall we?

Wayne Rooney:
Had to endure two frustrating injury spells, be it the first day against Reading or some random training equipment. The belief that a relaxed summer might have had a good effect on him was proved right when he came back from injury to go on a rich vein of form. But following the new year his goal scoring form appeared to have dipped. There is no escaping the fact that he’s not a natural finisher and he is at his destructive best when allowed free rein behind the striker or in a free role. But from a mental aspect this season was perhaps the best we’ve seen from Rooney. He’s been selfless, constantly running around the place to help the defence, he’s matured a lot and throws far fewer tantrums than before. His performances — whilst unfortunately and perhaps rightly so — have been judged by his goal return and his inability to finish clear cut chances, but his overall role has been understated.

To me, Rooney represents the future of Manchester United. It’s a little premature, but if there is a player that might finish his career at United from the current crop of youngsters, it is Rooney. Ronaldo may be the man of the moment, but Rooney is going to be the one for the long run.

I like his growth this season in other aspects of his game, but I think leading the line may not have been the best idea. Nevertheless, Rooney’s still had a good season. Rating: 8/10

Cristiano Ronaldo:
Ronaldo has continued to make 7 a special number for Manchester United. This season he has managed to outdo his past seasons; the puffed up chest, the free kicks, the ice-cool nerves in penalties (usually); the ability to finish with both feet, head, back heel, thigh, crotch make him a complete player. He can be stopped when the opposition double-teams on him because he relies on raw pace, jugglery with his feet and is destructive on the break. He may not have the same close control of say, Messi, but he’s fit, strong and can leave full backs biting the dust.

Ronaldo has exceeded all expectations and it’s hard to think of another winger who could equal his record for a long time. His flirtation with Madrid and the Spanish press could be a little unsettling for the United faithful but, surely, he should be running along the wing at OT for another year. Rating: 9.5/10

Ji-Sung Park:
The phrase “unsung hero” could never be better applied to another player. It must be terribly gutting to see him not make the bench in the final considering his contribution in the run up. But whilst other players would go on a strop he’s been a picture of dignity.

Park’s involvement in this season began late, considering he came back from a bad, bad injury. But he was crucial in providing depth in the squad. Players like Nani, while being extremely talented, were still finding their footing in the league. But Park did the job when called upon with his endless running and tracking back when asked to. Rating: 7/10

Carlos Tevez:
The Argentine is a legend at Upton Park, and he looks on his way to becoming one at OT. He was as crucial for ensuring West Ham’s survival, last season, as he was for United winning the double. He scored plenty of crucial goals and, like Rooney, ran till he dropped. He was a bit suspect in finishing but for any player scoring 19 goals in his first season at a club is impressive.

The man has heart — an Englishman in an Argentine body, if that makes sense — and looks like he’s here to stay. Fergie, make his loan deal permanent. Rating: 8/10

Louis Saha:
Poor season for the player, blighted by injuries. Five goals to show for it. Most United fans have run out of patience, and we believe the manager may have too, rightly so. It’s surely the end of a what may have been career at United. Sell him off, Fergie. Rating 5.5/10

Luis Nani:
An inconsistent season, but considering he’s young and it’s his first season fair play to him. He’s been wasteful, selfish, shown poor decision making, dived but he’s shown good potential and given us enough reason to believe that he’ll be better this season. He’s been pressed into action earlier than usual, shown great ability to deliver telling crosses and has smashed a couple of screamers. His most memorable performance would be the Arsenal FA Cup game and he must look back on those performances to drive himself on. Rating: 7/10

Ryan Giggs:
Scored the goal that sealed our Premiership crown. Scored the winning penalty. Won ten Premiership titles. Two Champions’ League titles. Went past Bobby Charlton’s record. One word: Legend.

But that said, he’s had his own critics and quite easily, the worst season of his United career. Fergie has said that he’ll look to phase out the old boys, so we will see less of him next season. But we will perhaps appreciate the true magnitude of his achievement when he calls it a day. An underwhelming season, but a legend nonetheless. Rating: 6.5/10

Up next is our review on central midfield and defence. So watch this space.

96 Comments

96 Comments

  1. Fred The Red

    25 May 2008 at 22:53

    my last comment was only a joke lads, I would be surprised if SAF hasnt already a hit list drawn up.
    Groggy, a Huntelaar or Huntelaar type striker would also be high on my shopping list but Im beginging to doubt wether SAF fancies the boy from Ajax, would hate to see Madrid get him.

  2. Grognard

    25 May 2008 at 23:00

    JB; Your point on Giggs and Saha are fair but I for one have never seen Saha as an 8 or 10. 7 or 7.5 maybe. Still thats all in the eye of the beholder. For me he has always looked uninspired and bored, even if he scores a goal here or there. Perhaps that’s his style but I prefer a player who shows more passion and is involved. Giggs was poor this season but other than a few games where he really stunk, I don’t think he was as bad a many make him out to be. I think Scholes was far worse until the last two months of the season when his game really picked up

    Good point about the reason why signing players before the EUROS is difficult but not impossible. Too many times in the past I can remember commentators at the EUROS or World Cup comment on such and such player and the fact he will playing the upcoming season for another team. A lot of deals are nailed down early. United should have been aggressive once the transfer deadline opened. Waiting for the season to end is putting yourself in a position where the seller holds you hostage until after the EUROS. Also, many a seller has been compromised because of a star being injured during an international tournament. So it’s a risk both ways. Sometimes a team like Ajax would be better served to sell a player before to avoid his diminishing value if he tears a knee ligament etc. Still you do bring up a very valid point. Thanks.

  3. lil zee

    25 May 2008 at 23:15

    i think every man utd fan is worried that even though rooney has matured he has lost the the sparkle that he once possesd the pace , quick feet , and flare that messi , kaka and ronaldo posses we do like the fact that he has matured but at times him being selfless has seen us lose a young lad who could entertain with great runs , volleys and chips lets jus hope hope he takes this break to get back to world class then we hopefully let go of our uncommited genious ronaldo then we can sing praise to our number ten

  4. Liam

    25 May 2008 at 23:28

    I don’t know about this summer though because if we buy a big name striker it will unsettle Tevez if he is dropped IMO. I think that we should give youth a chance next year and we already have Manucho who looks like good back up. Campbell has been phenomonal at Hull and they want him on a permanent basis. I personally think he deserves a chance as the Hull fans rate him as the best player that they have ever had and I really don’t want to see him go the Rossi route. If we sell him for 2-3 million and he has even a half decent season with Hull then his value would rise quite drastically.

    The thing is though with Ronaldo playing as more of a striker these days even when he is meant to be a winger he just goes where he wants then he will be our main target no matter what and if that doesn’t work just throw Manucho on. Its risky but it could work. If we sign a striker we should get more of super-sub than a starter IMO

    By the way has anyone seen the JT photoshop thread on Redacafe its absolutely priceless

  5. johnsom33

    26 May 2008 at 00:33

    JB, how can you say that rooney is clearly the better player when tevez has played less and scored more? and how many times has Tevez saved us with big goals in clutch situations? Somebody mentioned this earlier, but if Rooney wasnt english we wouldnt even be having this discussion. He is a good player but peoples expectations of him are not realistic.

  6. Nino

    26 May 2008 at 00:58

    Yo Grognard, with regard to what you said yesterday about Mourinho, go to the Sky Sports football site where you can hear direct from the horses mouth on whether he will come back to Chelsea or not.

  7. Grognard

    26 May 2008 at 01:01

    Liam; I’m not worrying about unsettling Tevez, I’m more concerned with improving the team. And I doubt very much that Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool will risk their title chances by giving such a major role to a reserve. No, United need to go out and buy a big name striker. Use Tevez for the odd start and as a super sub and let Welbeck and Manucho play in the Carling Cup and with the reserves. Too much is at stake to put that kind of burden on unproven talent. We have to keep up with our biggest rivals and get better, not tread water and get too young as to hurt ourselves. They are all building to beat us next year, not three or four years down the road. Loan a few out so they can get experience but don’t jeopardize United by playing less than world class players up front.

    Johnsom33; Sorry mate but Rooney is a far better player than Tevez. When in form and healthy he has a far superior first touch, is a very skilled passer both short ball and long, has an outstanding ability to dribble at high speed, stop on a dime and deliver accurate shots to both corners. The only real weakness in his game when everything else is working id his poor aerial ability. Tevez even though he’s a Hobbit is better in the air. Both are tenacious and work their socks off but Rooney has the all round game that Tevez does not have. Much has been made of Rooney’s poor finishing and poor first touches this season. But if they have watched the lad over the years they will know that he possess strong finishing skills and exceptional first touch ability. Sorry but there is no comparison. You cannot judge the difference on goals and on this year. When healthy, Rooney can give Ronaldo a run for his money.

  8. michael

    26 May 2008 at 03:09

    Good ratings, I’d have to say I agree with all of them, although perhaps Park deserved a 7.5 for his performances when it counted. Nani has been both better and worse than I’d expected, depending on what day of the week it is, but he’s had a far better first season that Ronaldo and (I think) has more assists than any other United player by minutes played. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of Rooney, although I think that next season Fergie will be putting the pressure on him to start putting away the majority of his chances. The problem is that we can’t seem to decide whether he’s a centre-forward as his occupation of Law’s no. 10 would seem to indicate or an attacking midfielder as his occupation of the no. 10 would indicate anywhere else.

    If we do buy a aerial threat this summer, which looks likely, it could help Rooney to step up his game and start burting half-chances like he needs to. Same for Tevez, really, although I think he’s been unfit for most of the season. Although tevezhas put in a few important ones he’s also missed his share, the case in point being that tap-in for 2-0 in the final.

    Whatever happens we’re set for next season, and I’m happy that Rooney and Tevez both have the summer off.

  9. michael

    26 May 2008 at 03:17

    Oh by the way, Liam, I agree completely with the super-sub idea, that’s what we’ve been lacking. We don’t ever need an aerial threat at the start of a game, it’s an option for the last 30 mins really.

  10. Mihir

    26 May 2008 at 06:41

    [Fred the Red]
    Rooney and Ronaldo were born in the same year, atleast according to wikipedia..both in ’85. ROnaldo in Feb Rooney in Oct. Both are the same age, so for Lord Ferg to say Rooney will mature to the level of Ronaldo in two years is bollocks. Did the website make up the story or some part of it? Weird!

    Why did we buy Manucho in January that we need another in the same mould now? I agree he isnt prolific and thoroughly untested, but I will give him and Welbeck a shot a making the number 9 jersey instead of splurging on a Berbatov or a Huntelaar. Continually buying foreign talent undermines the talent of the academy.

    Another observation: Wenger and Arsenal are more cunning in the transfer window than us. Nasri deal is almost wrapped up for them, so was the Rosicky deal before the world cup ’06. These guys are certain to star in the tournaments as is Huntelaar. Their price will certainly sky-rocket after the tournament. Interesting observations from Grognard and Fred the Red on this issue.

  11. ali

    26 May 2008 at 08:42

    and more stuff to talk about LOL http://goal.com/en/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=710882

  12. gaitherAnt

    26 May 2008 at 08:43

    The article talks about the individual performance levels of the members of the united attack. But what about the attack as a whole though? What do you think? Its fantastic to win trophies, and it would be ridiculous to suggest that they are not deserved. However, I can’t help thinking that the attack is quite wastefull at times. I only wish we were more clinical. Having said that I suppose we did still score a lot of goals so maybe I am just being unrealistic in looking for more of a killer instinct in front of goal.

  13. Aravind

    26 May 2008 at 08:54

    @ Grognard
    I’m sure he will. He has time to recover and get back in shape. 😛

  14. mike

    26 May 2008 at 09:41

    @ Mihir
    fergie was misquoted, i read another article and what he said was ronaldo is 8 months older than wayne, wait eight months and you may be in for a surprise. still sounds fishy though…

  15. Dan(u-o.l)

    26 May 2008 at 10:15

    damn it, i want i transfer today, i didnt know summer could be this boring.

  16. Conor

    26 May 2008 at 10:48

    Ali; Goal is nearly as bad as tribalfootball, I just don’t see why people bother to read any of it.

    Mihir; SAF actually said he is 8 months behind Ronaldo I think, so I don;t know how the article got that bit mixed up.

    While it may undermine the academy, I’m sure that SAF has been taking a long look at the talent that is in there and we all know he is a better judge of potential than any of us, so if he buys a new striker it is because we need to.

    Rosicky had to leave Borussie Dortmund because of there financial state at the time, they were happy to take any money they could at the time. And Arsenal paid Nasri’s buy-out clause, no team wants to do business before the Euro’s.

    Michael; I disagree. Look back to the start of the season when Saha and Rooney were playing together and then look how many goals we scored early in he matches to kill them off, I was watching last season’s highlights and that was definitely down to us having that extra option of hitting it long, with Saha either turning and running at the defender or heading it out to Giggs for the cross in. The other advantage it brings is an added threat at corners, having Saha to mark gave Vidic a better chance to score, which he did 5 times that season. Now Vidic and Ronaldo are our only real threats.

  17. ali

    26 May 2008 at 10:58

    its not as bad as tribalfootball , they do have a live match commentary section. they arent really the source , its that paper Marca again. but if you do have a great source for football news. please post it.

  18. JB

    26 May 2008 at 10:59

    Johnsom33: A few league stats for you. Tevez played 2686 minutes in the PL this seaon scoring 14 goals, a rate of one per 192 minutes. Rooney scored 12 in 2184 minutes, a rate of one per 182 minutes. In that time Rooney had 10 assists and set up 42 attempts on goal. Tevez had 6 assits and set up 44 chances.

    Honestly I couldn’t be bothered pulling together all the fixtures but look at the games that one of the two missed, assess and compare the performances in those games and ask yourself the question, who did we miss more?

  19. Conor

    26 May 2008 at 11:21

    Ali; It is nearly as bad, just from looking at some of the current stories:
    Chelsea To Swap Drogba, Carvalho For Kaka?
    Ibrahimovic For Barcelona?
    Milan Chase Mancini
    Lippi Wants Chelsea Job?

    It uses sensationalism just like tribalfootball with very little to no resources to back these claims up with.

    If you want definitive facts, the official homepage, then there is the mix between news and semi-true news; Sky Sports or if you really want the transfer news fabrications’ then you could go to BBC Football Gossip Column although i don’t know why people bother getting excited about it when 90% of the stuff written in there isn’t true.

  20. james f

    26 May 2008 at 12:12

    If this happens under the Attack Review, I can’t imagine what you’re going to write under the Midfield Review! It’ll be extremely interesting… 🙂 🙂 🙂

  21. colver

    26 May 2008 at 12:37

    I think Ferguson is a lot more cautious when it comes to signing players, probably because he has been burnt in the past. That is why he would prefer to buy someone on the back of a good international tournament rather than gambling on potential stars of the tournament.

    If Huntelaar is indeed on Ferguson’s radar he will want to see how he performs against some top quality defences.

  22. magno

    26 May 2008 at 13:03

    Huntelaar would definitely give Rooney and Tevez something to think about…show em how to finish…it will be good for them, force them to get better

    The guy knows where the goal is…this is a different style video concentrating on his finishing expertise:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOd8ZFn09DU

  23. jos

    26 May 2008 at 13:11

    JB
    Well, if we were to look at Actim Stats (which I believe look at much more than goal scoring – like importance of goal, linkup play, assists etc as well) than Tevez is ahead of Rooney in the table! Tevez was 5th best striker in the league this season – behind Torres, Adebayor, Santa Cruz and Young. Rooney is just next so not much to choose between the two but Tevez has been better this season. I believe Actim is at least better stat to look at rather than just goal scoring per min or something like that. Probably what it also means is that Tevez has been more crucial to Utd this season than Rooney! We have had Rooney unavailable for quite some time this season but still we have won the double!

  24. tevez

    26 May 2008 at 13:18

    Rooney is a better player than tevez, but to say he is a far better player and describe tevez as a back-up player is harsh on him. Rooney is faster and is a better bet for getting in behind a defense. Tevez has a superior touch to rooney, and is better playing with his back to goal. He is better at taking the ball into his feet and shielding it. He is also better at turning a defender. Both are excellent dribblers, but tevez relies on his technical ability and close control as he is quite slow. Rooney has pace to burn so he shades the dribbling but tevez can still keep the ball in tight situations with skill. For aeriel ability, in terms of heading for goal both are poor. In terms of competing for flick-ons or just challenging centre-halves in general, rooney is much better. He can win a few, but even when he doesn’t win them he challenges – putting pressure on the defender and unsettling them. He is competent in the air.

  25. Dan(u-o.l)

    26 May 2008 at 13:40

    tevez, what are you on about? tevez is much faster then rooney, much, tevez slow, you need to watch the season again mate, tevez is much much better at putting defenders under pressure and tevez has scored more headers this season then rooney has in his career, look at the season again mate because you seem to just be guessing on what you have heard.

  26. DRed

    26 May 2008 at 13:54

    I agree wit getting Huntelaar in the summer. Wit rooney, tevez, manucho and huntelaar(if we do get him) fighting for places it would only be a good thing IMO. We all seen how the team benifited from having four strikers during 98/99. Wit manucho and huntelaar over six foot we would have an extra dimension wit there aerial treat which i think we have been lacking big time. Also from wat iv seen of him, huntelaar is a better all round finisher than tevez or rooney, ie one on ones, headers and inside the box finishing.

  27. JB

    26 May 2008 at 14:24

    JOS: I wasn’t trying to judge the players on stats, I was merely correcting the previous notion that Tevez had scored more goals in less time than Rooney. Actim is a useful statistical tool, however its scoring is highly influenced by the amount of time spent on the pitch. The same Actim index also tells me that Brown was better than Vidic, Reina was better than James and Lescott was better than Ferdinand. By the way I had included stats on assists and chances created as well which seem to have been overlooked.

    Now Rooney has not started the following games:

    Portsomuth (A), City (A), Spurs (H), Sunderland (H), Everton (A), Blackburn (H), Bolton (A), Lisbon (H), West Ham (A), Birmingham (H), City (A), Fulham (A), Bolton (H), Roma (H), Barca (H), West Ham (H)

    A goal haul of 22 in 16 games, well below our overall season average of around 2 a game over the course of the season. The tally looks even worse if you filter out the result against a West Ham side already on their holidays at the end of the season. Also included in there are 4 of our 5 league losses this season. The other, Chelsea away, was tied 1-1 when Rooney was still on the pitch.

    In those above games, Rooney did not start 13 out of 38 league games (approx 35%). In those games we dropped 52% of the points dropped over the course of the entire season.

    Your argument is essentially that we won the double, Rooney didn’t play that much therefore Tevez was more crucial. I really don’t see how you can logically say that. By that reasoning was Brown better/more important than Vidic this year? When Rooney has been out we have tended to struggle big time.

    Dan: Tevez isn’t slow but I definitely wouldn’t agree that he is faster than Rooney. Wayne is normally able to keep pace with Ronaldo, Tevez on the other hand tends to end up lagging a bit behind on the counter attack.

  28. olliey

    26 May 2008 at 14:34

    That was a great video posted by magno and from that it seems like huntelaar is the perfect player he has got it all

  29. olliey

    26 May 2008 at 14:48

    dan no way is tevez faster than rooney. rooney has quite a bit of gas in him and tevez doesn’t come close

  30. nagraj

    26 May 2008 at 15:02

    All everyone talks about is a new CF or a RB. What is also needed is a CM that can grab the game by the scruf of the neck (witness what happened vs chelscum in the final, oh keano i miss you so…)

    RR how about a section on top ten united goals or
    or top ten united moments of the year, like nanis head juggling, or gallas on his backside crying away the title…

  31. saudi red devil

    26 May 2008 at 15:12

    Ronaldo is staying

  32. saudi red devil

    26 May 2008 at 15:17

  33. tevez

    26 May 2008 at 15:22

    dan tevez lacks genuine pace mate…maybe you should look over the season again, it aint hard to see…
    When i talked about rooney being better at pressuring defenders i ment in terms of challenging effectively in the air. Challenging for the ball in the air and heading towards goal are very different. They are both poor in this respect. Ronaldo is very strong in this area. Tevez had one where he tucked it away in the far corner from a hargreaves cross during the season. That was all about the cross but tevez still gets credit, nice finish. Tevez misses the vast majority of heading opportunities he gets.

  34. Red Ranter

    26 May 2008 at 15:33

    [Dan]
    Have to say, Tevez is a bit slow. Certainly slower than Rooney.

  35. colver

    26 May 2008 at 16:01

    nagraj the player who grabs the game by the scruff of his neck will be Anderson in a year or two, and Hargreaves next season once he is played more in central midfield.

    Tevez has good acceleration but is slow. When he dribbles he relies on close control rather than pace. You’d never see him in one of those cross pitch one-twos that Rooney and Ronaldo occasionally have. His attributed are mainly defensive. He can hold up the ball, keep possession, regain possession and is good at operating under pressure. You have to play the ball to Tevez’s feet. He is a useful player to have, especially in big games where possession is important and forwards do not get much space. But Rooney’s movement is way better and he has the pace to latch on to through balls and can use his aggression and pace to push his way past defences as though they were not there. While he was played up front this year which does not maximise his strengths, he was able to occupy two central defenders with ease creating space for other players.

  36. Dan(u-o.l)

    26 May 2008 at 16:15

    nah, i dont think so, slow on the ball maybe, but a straight sprint between the two, i reckon tevez would win.

  37. tevez

    26 May 2008 at 16:22

    nae chance

  38. Conor

    26 May 2008 at 17:14

    Dan; Don’t be so stubborn. Rooney is much much faster, how many times have you seen Tevez run in behind in comparison to Rooney?

  39. Grognard

    26 May 2008 at 18:10

    Dan; Tevez is faster than Rooney? Are you having a laugh. Too funny mate!

    JB; Good job with the stats. As I said yesterday, Rooney is the straw that stirs the drink. He’s a pest, a mosquito that aggravates defenses and creates openings for others. It’s not a bout goals, it’s about net worth and quality in minutes played. United are crap or close to it when he is not in the lineup. Tevez is a fine player but he isn’t in Rooney’s class. The only thing he has over Wayne is heading ability. But then again the Spice Girls are better at heading than Wayne. Or was that giving head????? 🙂

    And to those who say Tevez has a better first touch than Wayne I say WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!. Perhaps this year because injuries did cause Wayne’s overall pace, first touch and finishing abilities to slump. Lets reexamine this after a summer to rest and rejuvenate.

    Magno; Thanks mate for that great Huntelaar video. I urge everybody to watch it and then honestly come on to this blog and tell the likes of me he isn’t worth it for United to sign him. He’s the best natural goal scorer on the planet currently playing as a striker, other than perhaps Luca Toni and even then, I think he has a wider range of skills. I have said it before and I’ll continue to say it. If Fergie doesn’t sign this boy up I will be absolutely gutted. We are already way above average as a team. With Huntelaar we would become awesome a nearly unbeatable force capable of 100 goal season in the Prem and even more feared in the CL. Please Fergie end my misery. Show some Klaas and sign up Huntelaar ASAP. Also and most importantly, he wants to play for us, unlike Benzema, Villa and a few others. Reward his desire to wear United red. Sign him now.

  40. Mihir

    26 May 2008 at 18:47

    I am not against buying Huntelaar, I have seen the videos and hes masterful in the box. BUT, why oh why can’t we give Manucho a chance? He is the exact same reason why he was bought, to bring aerial and physical threat in the box. I mean, we buy Huntelaar who is 24 rite now, so theres no chance Welbeck OR Manucho can break into the team. Now call me naive or whatever, but I do feel that Huntelaar is surplus UNLESS Manucho turns out to be shit.

  41. tevez

    26 May 2008 at 18:50

    Tevez has a better touch than rooney, and that’s not taking into account all this ‘his first touch has abandoned him this year’ talk as i disagree with that anyway.
    I watched the huntelaar video, and now i’m coming on the blog to tell the likes of grognard that it isn’t worth it for united to sign him…

  42. Grognard

    27 May 2008 at 00:04

    Mihir; Why should we give Manucho a chance? Honestly I get really frustrated with many of you on this blog who live byt his nauseating fair play policy. The game is a business and United’s aim every fiscal year is to win and make money. They are not in business to be fair if it compromises their goals. Manucho in not in Huntelaar’s universe yet and so why should United undercut it’s potential in the name of being nice? I want to win. I’m sure Fergie wants to win. Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal are not going to risk losing ground to us by playing their Manucho’s. They are all in the process of spending big bucks to improve and overtake us. If we want to be English champions and European champions next year, we must have a big league mentality. Send Manucho out on loan until he can prove to us all that he is in Huntelaar’s class. We are Manchester United, not the United Way. Football is not a charity.

    tevez; WHATEVER MATE! 😕 I’m not losing sleep over it.

  43. colver

    27 May 2008 at 05:07

    Agree with you Grognard. Manucho will have to force his way into contention rather than being automatically granted third striker position because we do not have anyone else.

    We need four strikers. Right now we have Tevez, Rooney and Ronaldo as a make-shift striker which was not ideal as he is best as a winger.

    I am happy for Manucho and Welbeck or even Campbell to battle it out for fourth striker position knowing they will get no more than a dozen games between them primarily in the domestic cups.

    But as Rooney seems incapable of going an entire season without picking up an injury, I damn well want a top class third striker who can step up. Huntelaar might be that man but before we buy him Id like to see him do the business against the top teams in Europe. The Dutch league has a habit of making strikers look good, and I want to see how he copes with a top class defence. Of course we bought RVN from Holland but he had proven himself in the Champions League.

  44. Grognard

    27 May 2008 at 07:57

    Colver; Good point mate but waiting on Huntelaar could be risky on two counts. He could have a great EURO 08 and his price will then skyrocket. Also, Chelsea, Real or some other big team could move in and steal him from right under us. About the Dutche league, I disagree. van Nistelrooy, Bergamp, van Basten, Gullit, Cruyff and many others world class players have come from Holland and in many cases the very strong Ajax Academy. I wouldn’t dismiss his talent because of the league he plays in. Watch that video. Many of those goals are just plain skill personified regardless of the marking. He’s world class and dare I say, he’s better than van Nistelrooy too. It seems van Basten agrees with me also as he favors him over Ruud for the EUROS. And that was even before Ruud went down with an injury earlier this year.

  45. Drew Vader

    28 May 2008 at 05:20

    Rooney: In my honest opinion, he has not progressed this year and is not the same player he was when he first signed. I want to put this out there right at the start that i admit he still has his moments of brilliance and he still has moments that completely contradict some of the points i make, and i know he bleeds for the club and is willing to track back to help the team which is admirable; however, i just really think his footballing ability is not the same. People on here seem to focus, when discussing the negative about him, focus mainly on his poor finishing per chances rate, in one on ones etc. But i have other worries

    When he first came the thing that floored me about his play was his uncanny ability to control a pass even in and amongst three defenders. He almost never gave away possession in that situation, he could somehow just create a forcefield around himself and somehow create some space and time to turn up field. Now though, i swear it happens all to often when he gives away possession far too cheaply. It happens where he will have a bad first touch and a crap defender will be able to step in and easily disposses him, which would never have happened earlier. Itsjust worrysome for me and happens all too often in my opinion.

    Second is his pace. Like someone said earlier it looks like his feet are heavy. Again, before i get slaughtered, i know he has moments where he shows that he can outpace defenders in straight out sprints, but the quickness isnt there, the explosiveness in tight situations isnt there, the first three steps to scare the shit out of defenders isnt there. He hardly ever takes anyone on anymore because frankly all too often he would get ripped easily. When he first came he would turn up field with his first touch and with his second and third he would be going directly at the opposition. Now, he almost always cuts it back, and then looks to operate from deep.

    Maybe I’m reading too much into just some joking and teasing amongst teammates, but I read on the main manutd.com page an interview with Rio where they asked him who the worst trainer was, and he said Wayne and his quote was something along the lines of “he must be saving it for the matches because he sure isnt working hard in training.” But to me, this makes me think he is getting a big head from all the world class talk and has taken his foot off the gas. I really would love for United to somehow steal the fitness coach from Spurs and make him work with wayne to put some quickness back into his game. If he can make tom huddlestone looks downright slim and fit surely with a little more work and effort from wayne he could get back to his lightening ways.

    Id like to see what people think about this. I’ll happily discuss and will listen to disagreements.

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