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Hargreaves, Anderson, O'Shea Or Possebon?

Hargreaves, Anderson, O'Shea Or Possebon?

It is fairly certain that Paul Scholes will be one of our central midfielders tonight and possibly against Zenit on Friday. But who should partner him?

Michael Carrick's injury means we are desperately short on available candidates here. I rule Darren Fletcher out of the running simply because in the absence of Ronaldo, Nani and Park he will be on the right flank. Therefore, we have four possible options.

Anderson has just returned from the Olympics, he's played in the bronze medal game on Friday in Beijing so jet-lag and tiredness means he's very unlikely to start - and it's possibly inadvisable to stick him in the first eleven right away. I expect him to be fully fit for the visit to Anfield but no sooner than that.

John O'Shea played in central midfield against Newcastle - and consequently we lacked cohesion and precise passing as well as good defensive positioning. To put it simply: O'Shea is a great lad, an able deputy in defence but, and I say it for the hundredth time, he's not a midfielder.

Rodrigo Possebon displayed more vision and range in his passing during his half-hour cameo than O'Shea ever will but he's inexperienced and Fergie probably won't risk him at a demanding ground like Fratton Park or against such a quality side like Zenit. He's not yet ready to take on such physically imposing players like Diarra or Diop, though I think his football skills are superior to that of both aforementioned players.

Which neatly takes us to the most experienced candidate, Owen Hargreaves. He's something of a dark horse at the moment: Fergie told us that he made encouraging progress after his injury but did not actually say whether he was deemed fit enough to start.

It is possible that it will come down to a last-minute assessment but the most likely scenario, in my opinion, is that O'Shea will start alongside Scholes. Fergie does not have much choice therefore I can't blame him if he fields that partnership but our chances of winning are extremely slim in that case.

Still, it's reassuring to have Anderson and Hargreaves on the bench (hopefully they'll be there) and if either of them is capable of completing 45 minutes of football then we can register our first win of the campaign. And there's always the chance that Fergie will go gung-ho, field Rafael da Silva on the right and stick Fletcher into the centre. It is a risk worth taking, in my opinion.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Monday August 25 2008
Time: 4:23PM


I'd rule Anderson out simply because I think it's too early to ask him to come in and play well. I'm not sure what stage Hargreaves is at - if he's fit, go for him, if not, it's not worth taking the risk. Apart from that the others sound okish, if not without risks. Hargreaves situation permitting, I reckon Fergie will go for O'Shea - nothing spectacular, but at least you know what you're getting.
Man utd champions
25/08/2008 16:39:00
Personally I think Ando has more of a chance than Hargreaves. He is fit, playing football regulary and one could argue its less of a stress playing someone three days after a somewhat easy game against belgium than play someone tht ahas just come back from a lengthy injury.
25/08/2008 17:12:00
I just thought it might be unfair on him, though. When did he get back from Beijing? It's a long trip, he's played quite a lot of football, and travelling down to Portsmouth is hardly the best preparation to begin your season with. But, still, I haven't a clue who Fergie's going to go with. Let's just wait and see - it might not be either of them.
Man utd champions
25/08/2008 17:54:00
Hope it's a good match, and most importantly, hope we win :)
Man utd champions
25/08/2008 17:55:00
Hargreaves will play a very small part if any! Possebon would be my choice, he's very comfortable on the ball but Portsmouth have some pretty big players in the midfield besides Diarra. Anderson just returned from Beijing yesterday. Too early. O'Shea?? No comment...
25/08/2008 17:55:00
Welldone, united4life - i've just heard the team news and Anderson starts. O'Shea is in too - but only due to an injury to Giggs.
Man utd champions
25/08/2008 19:09:00
Anderson not only started, he was immense!
26/08/2008 17:44:00
Immense is a bit of an exaggeration but he certainly did well.
26/08/2008 19:18:00
play anderson, bring on hargreaves as a sub for anderson.
27/08/2008 07:22:00
I'm not too sure how fit Hargreaves is. Also, I thought Giggsy was fit again, but he's not going to Monaco...
Man utd champions
28/08/2008 20:27:00
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