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Fergie's Substitutions Were Bizarre

Fergie's Substitutions Were Bizarre

It was bloody brilliant that we beat City, again, with a last minute goal, from Paul Scholes of all people. Magnificent, absolutely. But that should not mean Fergie avoids all criticism.

I said it plenty of times and I will say it again: Scholes and Giggs should not start so often and especially should not start together because despite their incredible footballing intelligence and undisputed technique we can be seriously pedestrian when they are both in the team. Giggs seems unable to play as a wide attacker, coming in from the left and of late he's been ineffective in an attacking central midfielder role as well.

However, just as against Chelsea when it cost us the game, Giggs was preferred to Nani in the starting eleven even though he would be much better as an impact substitute when his aging legs would be under less severe strain. But no, he started.

What's more, he played the entire game. Scholes, this time, had one of his great days when everything clicks for him and he gave a masterclass in passing so it was entirely justified that he was kept on the field. But Giggs was anonymous and even though he's a legend he should not be kept on the field when he's playing badly.

After his failure to exert any influence on the left, he was moved inside to play as a second striker after Nani's introduction but he was nowhere to be seen. He failed to make an impact at all. It seemed bizarre that Gibson would make way for Nani when our midfield was quite balanced in the first half but Fergie seems to think that keeping Giggs on the field increases the likelihood of creating chances - well, it doesn't, as the second half proved.

Gibson should have stayed on the pitch. I agree he wasn't playing particularly well but then there was Michael Carrick to bring on. But Nani should have replaced Giggs, not Gibson, of this I am convinced.

Then the second substitution. Berbatov for Rooney. I have no qualms with this: Rooney was obviously far from full fitness and he had a poor game. A week's worth of training will come handy for him ahead of the game against Spurs on Saturday.

But the third sub, well, that was baffling. When I saw Obertan preparing to come on I thought 'finally, Giggs will come off'. But no: Valencia was withdrawn. This was a true WTF? moment as there appeared to be no logic behind this substitution. Giggs was so ineffective, so poor as a second striker (and it was his hesitancy and lack of pace which robbed him of a wonderful chance to open the scoring) that it seemed unbelievable that he would stay on the field.

And no, the decision was not vindicated by the winner, in which Giggs played no part. I love him but when he's poor he should not be untouchable. Look no further than the Tinkerman: Claudio Ranieri took off Roma's two icons, Daniele de Rossi and Francesco Totti, at half-time in yesterday's Roman derby and they turned the game around. Nobody should be untouchable and nobody should be kept on the field with the vain hope that he might produce something out of the blue.

A little faith in the younger heads would not go amiss, Sir Alex. Surely you do not have to be reminded how rewarding that trust can be?

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

Date:Monday April 19 2010
Time: 9:57AM


I wasn't happy that Valencia was off before Giggs too! Would rather have Nani through the middle, well, for now, I have no complaints. Maybe Giggsy needed more playing time? Not at the cost of the match surely?
19/04/2010 11:08:00
Michael Carrick is the worst option possible for a substitute. He's basically a centre mid version of Berba, in that he is very pedestrian and unnoticeable if things aren't going our way. Fergie put on all the flare players (barring berba) which seemed about right, but i agree Giggs should probably have come off instead of Valencia. But it worked in the end so who cares.
19/04/2010 11:17:00
I've been saying for ages that we need to show the kind of faith in our current youth that was shown to the golden generation. Anderson, Nani, Tosic, Cleverley, Welbeck, Macheda, Rafael, Fabio, Evans are all excellent prospects and we have arguably even more talented players coming out of the academy/reserves (pogba, petrucci, morrisson, king, keane, etc) but while giggs, scholes and owen are taking up those extra squad places they really dont have a chance. I think Welbeck, Macheda and Fabio should all go on loan next year to play first team football at the highest level they are capable of (PL, Serie A, Portugal) and Cleverley and Tosic should be given a chance to prove themselves in the way Nani and Gibson have. Anderson should also be given the chance to play further forward.
19/04/2010 12:34:00
Fergie has been making bizarre decisions all season not just in his substitutions but in his starting eleven.
One United 23
19/04/2010 14:11:00
One can never pick the strongest XI from this season's squad. Seems to have become both our strength and weakness the last couple of seasons. Having enough options but a haphazard tactical position.
19/04/2010 19:25:00
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