Tuesday, November 25, 2008

United-Villareal: Looking Back to See Forward, in'it.

If only for posterity.. that is, if only to prove later in hindsight how brilliant I am, let me speak on a few things.

There are people pining for the Rooney/Tevez partnership that supposedly fared so well for United last season. However, there is a hindsight bias involved; even though when won the great Double with the partnership, it was other players who were more influential in our title runs.

Ronaldo, of course, shouldered most of the burden, crafting a season of the most utter individual dominance seen this millenium in the English top teir.

However, United's success was founded on the solidarity of their defense, with Vidic and Evra each turning in consistent, world-class play from the back.

Arsene Wenger says "consistency is the first sign of quality," and it reigns true for each, as it is no coincidence United won its first of two consecutive Premier League titles the year Vidic and Evra arrived.

Rio Ferdinand also put in a yearlong shift of suprising consistency, enjoying, perhaps, his best year in a United shirt. For what it's worth, Wesley Brown also deputized outstandingly for the injured Neville throughout the long finale to the season.

In midfield, it was Hargreaves who shone on the European stage, and into the last legs of our Premiership campaign, even filling in at right-back at times to great effect.

Carrick also supplanted the midfield decently while Paul Scholes turned back the clocks in the two legs against Barcelona with match-winning performances. Ji-Sung Park was the model of consistency, while Anderson featured and provided much more than ever was expected last term.

These things considered, Rooney and Tevez each had good years, namely Tevez, by this year's standard. Their strike-rate was consistent with the quality supplying them, and each had decent individual seasons with Tevez being better.

So, a nostalgic reversion to this strike partnership is not the answer to any woes United fans perceive. Berbatov has already proved to add the dynamic insight needed in attacking build-up when our opponents are behind the ball.

Otherwise, it will be another season relying on Ronaldo to counter-attack and manhandle opponents, with our rearguard offering the perfect backbone.

The last 270 minutes played between Manchester United and Villareal have yielded no goals; the forecast for today is not dissimilar, with the fog of imminent qualification likely to hinder the scoring of goals for each side.

1 comment:

ntl said...

Nil-Nil. Aren't I brilliant.