Date:Tuesday April 7 2009
Wayne Rooney is back but Dimitar Berbatov is out while Ryan Giggs played the full 90 minutes against Aston Villa and he's therefore unlikely to feature. So the big question is: who will be Wayne's strike partner?
The obvious answer is Carlos Tevez. However, the Argentinian took part in an exhausting (and humiliating) 6-1 defeat at Bolivia last week then flew round the world to play almost the full game on Sunday. His tiredness and bad form were evident as nothing he tried came off.
As little more than 48 hours pass between the two games it is unlikely that he'll be in prime condition. More likely he'll look jaded, again. And as Sir Alex stated, we need a two-goal advantage at least so the attackers must be up for it and up to it as well.
And given Tevez's performance throughout the season, I would not start him. If Berbatov were fit, he'd surely start. If Nani were in any form, Ronaldo could be moved up front but the younger Portuguese is having such an awful season that selecting him is a gamble every time...
Ronaldo could still be moved up front, with Fletcher playing on the right but then both are played out of position where they are rarely at their best. So it's a dilemma all right, for Sir Alex Ferguson.
There's a solution but that is a huge gamble - but a gamble he wasn't afraid to make yesterday when it looked like things would go very much pear-shaped. He threw in Federico Macheda and then threw in Danny Welbeck as well. Both looked sharp (OK, Welbeck had five minutes only but still had one more chance than Carlos Tevez had during the entire game) and of course we remember who scored a fabulous, dramatic winner.
I don't know whether Fergie will be so bold but either of the two could start, reasonably, even though it's a Champions League game which would be something entirely different than anything they've ever experienced. If I were Fergie, I would risk it: considering Tevez's performance on Sunday it would be a risk and a gamble to select him so...
I still reckon Fergie will start with Carlitos - he even confirmed that Macheda would be involved from the bench only - and it is indeed possible, given his fantastic commitment and attitude, that he'll end up as the hero of the game. I'd be delighted if it were so - but we know and Fergie knows that in the event that he or anyone else is not up to the job, he'll have young, hungry and able replacements to call upon which is a comforting and encouraging thought.
Date:Tuesday April 7 2009
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