Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A lil' faith

ManUtd's turned the corner pretty well coming into the last lap of the season.

Bottomline: Still not good enough, considering the history.

Here's my take on the team this season:

Van der Sar has been the best buy of the season - he's made quite a many crucial saves which had kept the team in the hunt. Tim Howard looks like he is leaving to join Wigan (unconfirmed reports) and that could be a good option as he is not going to get a game unless Van der Sar is injured.

I'm still worried about the defense - Vidic is still settling in and could be forgiven for a few misunderstandings but Evra hasn't impressed (he needs to play but surely he doesn't think he needs 20 games to show what he's got!), Silvestre is like a lottery everytime - could be made to look quite foolish. Neville's been outstanding at this stage of his career carving out Beckham-esque crosses from the right everytime he goes up. Maybe he needs to show Ronaldo how its supposed to be done. Ferdinand has had a drop in his form and while he loves to play the cool-calm defender he's made more mistakes this season. Maybe he also needs to learn how to clear balls (like Robert Huth) without being cute. How I would love a Terry in this team! Bardseley has done well with his limited chances and so has Pique. I'm looking forward to first team starts of Pique and Spector (on loan to Charlton) and also the return of Heinze (he adds an attacking option to the left wing when he goes up).

What I'm really surprised at is how this make-shift midfield with Giggsy and O'Shea has played so well lately. I didn't have my hopes too high and I personally thought making it to 2nd would be a huge challenge. Ronaldo has had a decent season - brilliant at times but still quite selfish with the ball - he needs to learn to pass the ball more. Park has looked better with games under his belt. But we would definitely need a midfielder if not two during the summer. The likely ones would be from Diarra, Makoun, Mascherano. There's rumours of a Joe Cole raid - I think thats unlikely but Mourinho has said he would offload 3 players (who wouldn't fit into the first team or have a problem) to get 3 more. So we will see. Downing would be a good option as a left winger!

The team's scoring goals - only 1 less than Chelski and Saha's done well since he got back from injury. Nistelrooy has scored 1 less than Henry but has looked out-of-sorts for the last few games. A stint with the Dutch side at the world cup should help him out as he feels he plays better under Van Basten (where he has been encouraged to build up plays instead of being a penalty-box poacher). That has been seen in his game in the ManUtd matches too - as Saha does that so well (winning headers, holding the ball up while the rest of the team moves forward). Rooney has been the talisman for the team and though he might be battling on and scoring he looks quite tired. But you can bet on him to come back next season and start off from where he would leave this season. David Bellion is being sold to Nice. Good idea! Quinton Fortune is also heading somewhere else this summer as his contract will not be renewed.

All in all while the season comes to a close, with the midfield strengthened ManUtd should be able to give Chelski a run for its money next season. Rooney, Ronaldo, Pique, Rossi, Spector - we should be seeing them in the ManUtd colours for some years to come.

Team to look out for next season: Liverpool (if they can solve their striker issues!!!)


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