TF Chronicles: ‘Manchester United are not very good this season…’
Well, if you listen to the press we’re not are we ?
Apparently our performances are rubbish this season.
We’re “just doing enough” in games.
We haven’t really “clicked” yet.
Apparently if Arsenal had bothered to keep their bottle, or if Chelsea had maintained their early season form then we would be far off the top of the table.
Apparently this is the poorest Manchester United team for a long time.
Apparently we’re only half the team now that we no longer have Ronaldo, Tevez and an elderly Scholes.
Apparently the Glazers not reinvesting the Ronaldo cash on ready made superstars has rendered us a bit rubbish.
Of all the knee jerk ABU reactions we’ve all grown used to, its the notion that we’re not very good that has bugged me the most this season. Objectivity is a crucial requirement for a football connoisseur, and statistics are the connoisseur’s weapon of choice.
So, as we sit on the edge of the Champions League semi finals (again), the FA Cup semi final, and are seven points clear at the top of the table with seven games to go, lets have a little appraisal shall we ?
We’ve won the most games in the league.
We’ve scored the most goals in the league.
We have the top scorer in the league in Berbatov.
We have three players in the top six goalscorers in the league.
We have the top assist player in the league in Nani.
Nani, with assists and goals combined is the most effective player in the league. (regardless of the dumbass PFA voting)
We have won 14 out of 15 League home games this season.
We have yet to concede an away goal in the Champions League.
We’ve conceded one goal in the FA Cup.
And then there’s the players. These players that are apparently not a golden generation, or a “great” United team.
Lets nip one thing in the bud shall we ? He’s been injured. He’s not had the chance to find form quickly, and is being hit with last seasons 30 goal salvo on a regular basis. But lets check the stats again. In the league he has scored 10 goals in 22 games with 11 assists. He’s hit a sublime hat trick, and the goal of the season against City. He’s hit the winner against Chelsea in the Champions League, and has been on fire in the last 8 weeks and yet reading reports he’s perennially “just finding his form”.
One trick wonder. Show pony. Diver. Poor replacement for Ronaldo. If ever a man’s perceived reputation counts against him in discourse, then its Nani. Its been brutally ignored he’s having the season of his life. The most effective player in the league. FACT. The most improved player at United. FACT. It may have taken a little longer than with some other younger players, but we have the best winger in the league, and Ronaldo (the freak) apart, he’s statistically the best winger we’ve had in the Premier league for goals and assists, beating Giggs. Already. With seven games to go.
Maligned, criticised, lazy, not a team player, disrupts our system. Disinterested. Hernandez is better. Blah Blah Blah.
This is nothing short of offensive. Has a player who’s been top scorer in the league for four or five months ever been so witheringly cast aside? In 1999 we needed Sheringham, because he offered something different and was a valued avenue for goals. He too had to put up with the disingenuous jibes. I hope Berbatov gets a cup final winner. Depressingly under appreciated this season.
Does anyone divide United fans like Carrick ?
I love him. And he’s having one of his best United seasons. Dictating play, changing play, setting tempo. He’s the closest thing we have to a Xavi. He can control and move the ball as quickly as Scholes, and he’s CRUCIAL to our play. Recent weeks have finally seen people mention his game by game pass completion rate. Its awesome. Always has been. Where United fans make a mistake, is that when we lose/perform poorly its the instant knee jerk reaction of the neanderthals to blame Carrick, because the clueless fail to see what he’s there for. He’s never going to score a wonder goal. And most importantly, yes, United may need to sign a CREATIVE midfielder in the summer, but that has NOTHING to do with Carrick, who will play WITH the creative midfielder when he arrives.
Smalling, Rafael and Fabio.
I’ll group these guys together. So whilst we sit at the top of the table, and still in the competitions that matter, Fergie has managed to blood three of the most promising young defenders in the league. There’s ten more years of performances coming from these three, and all three have been superb this season. What more could you possibly want from youngsters? The future is rosy in defence. (and perhaps that’s a disservice to Fabio who looks more midfielder to me)
The buy of the season. Van Der Vaart has burnt out, so Chicharito is out on his own as far as new signings go. His meteoric rise is Roy of the Rovers stuff. I’ll happily see United fritter £7m sums on Bebe’s and Diouf’s if it means this scattergun youth policy delivers another Chicharito. Lets check the stats again shall we ? In the past year he has scored 38 goals in 64 games for United and Mexico, and 25 of these games were as substitute. Its his first season, at the biggest club in the land, and he’s the most EFFECTIVE striker in the league already, which is extraordinary. Do new signings ever have better starts than this ? Seriously ? Ever ?
Adding to the above, Giggs (amazingly), Rio, Vidic, Van Der Sar have all maintained title winning standards with no signs of deterioration. Its only Evra‘s form that has been perplexing this season. Valencia has looked like he’s never been away, Anderson has shown sparks of his best when fit, and we have a youth team brimming with potential.
I think that social media (Twitter etc) is a fertile breeding ground for over analysis and negativity, and that perhaps the press in general are loathe to recognise the start of yet another great young United team, but its there to see. Ive said this before, but the rose tinted specs are easy to wear when you recollect the glory of 1999. We have this image of our swashbuckling team that actually wasnt so swashbuckling in games. We had a LOT of luck that year. Our performances were FAR from brilliant week in week out.
There’s always room for improvement. Things that need addressing and tinkering with. Players to scout and sign. But this has been an excellent season, with great performances and great goals. So, if this is a “poor team”, a “not the best” United squad, an “indifferent” season, then i’ll take one again next season, and the one after that, and the one after that, and the one after that…..