Date:Tuesday November 10 2009
Amid all the talk about how excellent Fletcher, Anderson and Rooney were at Stamford Bridge (which is, of course, true) one man was forgotten even though he put in a tremendous shift, not for the first time this season. He is Patrice Evra who is the best left-back in the world by some distance.
I'm amazed by his attacking qualities, his directness, his pace and his stamina which allows him to constantly come bombing up the left without neglecting his defensive duties. His positioning is first-class and he is deceptively strong.
He was excellent at Stamford Bridge, constantly providing support for the attackers as well as doing a marvellous job at the back, ensuring that our lack of width in midfield did not haunt us. He's been amazingly consistent for the last three seasons and really makes you wonder how good we could be if we had an Evra on the right flank as well?
Let me make one thing clear: I do rate John O'Shea. He's an honest, determined full-back with very good defensive qualities. He can hold his own against most attacking players in the world - but he's no Patrice Evra and his lack of pace and technique prevents United from being penetrative enough down the right, thus unbalancing the team.
Yes, we could do with an attacking central midfielder who can pass the ball and is not afraid of taking on men and a pacy finisher would be marvellous as well. But I strongly believe that a right-back, with qualities similar to Evra's, would enhance our chances of success considerably, much more than purchasing Igor Akinfeev, for instance.
Rafael is nowhere near there: he's not as good going forward as Evra and is nowhere near his defensive ability. O'Shea and Brown are useful defensive full-backs but to provide Valencia with more effective support we need more. The problem is that there's no such thing out there as a right-footed Evra: the only player who could do that job is Inter's Maicon and I don't think we can get him.
So, couldn't we just clone Evra please? Once we figure out the process, modifying the genes so that he'll be right-footed should be easy enough, no?
Date:Tuesday November 10 2009
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