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Are There Any Problems At United?

We've said earlier that things look worse than they are. Now I ask whether there's any problem at all.

First and foremost, the most important thing: points. We have 14 after seven games, last season we had 16. Not much worse, I would say. Winning start away from home in the Champions League, against Sporting who are hardly also-rans.

Recent form. Five straight wins without conceding a goal. That's as good as it gets though hopefully it will get better.

Injuries. Owen Hargreaves will play tomorrow, Gary Neville is in full training, Louis Saha and Wayne Rooney are fit and available. I will go as far as saying that we don't really miss Park and Foster... so the squad is OK at the moment.

But is it? Do we have enough strikers? Well, most of you would say no. And it's always easy to bash the club when we know that Giuseppe Rossi scored two goals this weekend for Villarreal. Tevez is too similar to Rooney and won't get behind defenders they say: but didn't he do exactly that to give us the lead against Chelsea?

With players like Nani, Ronaldo, Giggs and Anderson in the squad, our striker shortage is misleading. We have plenty of attacking options and most of them are getting better and better with the more games they play.

Our performances. Oh yes, the weakest link. We spoiled United fans come to expect over the years to win trophies with breathtaking attacking football; something we managed to repeat last season. This season has been hardly classic United so far and I know that a lot of people are concerned that it might indicate a change in philosophy.

Their arguments are quite convincing, actually. Fergie's been experimenting with different methods to contain teams for years because according to his diagnosis that's been our major deficiency in Europe. One might say he realised the team can't have two faces: one in the league, where we tear the opponents apart and one in Europe where we should tactically outwit them. I don't know how could he have realised that, since this attitude almost worked last year (though I must admit that at home we were our league self while at away we were mostly simply bad), until that horrible night in Milan.

But is there a real chance that he might have sacrificed our entertaining value in the league, too, for success in Europe? I doubt it. Fergie's got attacking football in his blood, he suffers when his teams are not positive enough over a prolonged period of time.

It's all well to win the games 1-0 but with the quality of attacking players we have and more importantly, with the attitude our manager have, it won't go on forever. Somebody once wrote that it's dangerous and difficult to modify the DNA of a football club. Arsene Wenger was successful in this at Arsenal but I'm sure Fergie has no intention to do the same. We're off-colour at the moment, that's true but hey, play the role of the optimistic fan: let's say it's just proper timing of our real form, not to run out of steam by the end of April.

'Winning while not playing well is a good sign'. That's an old cliche but usually they contain some truth. I still expect United to start playing decent football at some stage...

Debts. I'm not an economic expert so I'm sorry but I can't really do anything else than believe David Gill who says the Glazers have a sound financial plan. Peter Hill-Wood, Arsenal's chairman said Chelsea's dream of being the leading club in the world in terms of revenue is simply bullshit. And he's right: our popularity, and the subsequent income from merchandising and like is a very solid foundation, along with our 76,000 stadium and Champions League prize money and TV money. The Glazers should really, and I mean REALLY mess it up for a serious financial crisis. And they still look much cleverer than Abramovich.

Oh, and to answer my own question: yes, there is ONE problem at United. That is the left-back position. That's trouble now.




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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday September 25 2007

Time: 5:37PM

Your Comments

You keep forgetting about Anderson :-) Otherwise, I agree with the article. Last season we were tired and flat in the closing stages, hopefully we'll flourish at the end now! Things looking good, with Liverpool apparently reserving Torres for the League Cup and I expect Arsenal to run out of steam.
midlothian99
Torres scored 3 goals with Redding. Dunno if this liverpool headache will go away that easily. Hopefully they'll drop some more points with the games they have now...Spurs, Everton n Arsenal. If they drop points for the first two, then i hope they beat arsenal, so that we can catch up. Tevez looks like he's getting sharper n sharper! That Anderson fella' though...its a mystery...does he find it that difficult to adjust? He is supposed to be a huge talent. Nani seems to be doing ok. We need Anderson to chip in aswell, but he is not expected to be at 100% efficient. He should establish himself as a really good sub though. I hope he does that soon...
alexpant
Nice article, valid point all the way through. Although I don't agree on your final "problem". Our left back spot is not a problem at all. We have one of the best left backs in world at the moment. Pat doesn't seem to put a foot wrong. With his pace and skill in attack, and his bravery and excellent timing at the back I'm not missing Heinze one bit. "What about backup" you say... Well, Ireland's new number one started his career at left back, and is more than able to fill in on the few occasions Evra will be out. And should both of them be out at the same time, when are we ever going to give our youth players a chance? Pique could do a decent job, Simpson and Bardsley should all be able to switch sides. Silvestre is on his way back, and the January window will also be available at some point. Our left back is not a problem. If there's any part of the field we should consider strengthening (for the long term) it should be our RIGHT back. Wes is obviously not a natural right back. He's a more than decent backup across the back. When Gaz's days are over, I think we should consider buying a natural right back of high quality. Micah Richards would be awesome, but him being an Arsenal-fan at heart could prove a problem. Maybe we could snatch Daniel Alves from under the nose of Chelsea?
nilberg
silvestre will come back in march while bardsley pique and evans are all right-footed. evra is class of course and i think zae would agree on that. daniel alves is a prat so i'd rather pay tons of money for richards, he's awesome
Vidicinho
Alex, Anderson played 45 minutes against Sunderland and a few minutes against Sporting, after a quite bad pre-season. Give time to him, you can't expect him to come in and change the world in 50 minutes' time. And I think all clashes between our three biggest rivals should end in draws, that would be dream stuff for me!
Zae
Do we know if there's a problem with Anderson, and why he gets so much time? Is he that unfit?
alexpant
copa america then an injury in pre-season, lack of games in pre-season... he should of had a proper summer training to get going. and no secret he had been bought for the future so we shouldn't expect he will get a lot of playing time this season
Vidicinho
Unlike the most of the lads, Anderson seemed quite good against Coventry...
midlothian99
 

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