Long-term development or short-term success? Sir Alex Ferguson spent much of last season – as he will this – trying to strike a balance between the United he is managing now and the one he will leave behind. And he almost managed it, had it not been for the dramatic last day. United picked up 89 points last term, nine more than Fergie’s title-winners of the previous season. But now City have got their first title out of the way, with fewer jitters along the way we can surely assume they will be able to pick up the pace this season. Do United have what it takes to compete with them?? They were once the richest team in the world, but now their not even the richest team in Manchester! We expected to see City being the big spenders this year, but with Fergie sticking around for a bit more of the action and with some new key signings the battle is on.
I expected to see City being the buying team this window and United to be more focused on building for the future, but I have to admit I was wrong, with the reds splashing out nearly £25 million for a single player. Is their spending worth it?? Lets take some time to analyse the additions to the reds squad.
RVP, who would win the elusive battle for the signature for the Premier League’s top scorer?? Well we found out 2 weeks ago when United unveiled their newest addition. Fergie stated that he doesn’t want to lose the title on goal difference and this year his team will be out to score not only more goals than the opposition but more goals than their rivals in every game. RVP would look like the perfect buy, goals, goals and more goals but Arsenal fans will tell you that this has come at a cost. Over the past few years he spent at Arsenal RVP only had one perfect year. The rest were plagued by injury and bad form. Is that a sign of things to come?? Will he be able to replicate last season?? Can he play with Rooney?? Fergie will be hoping so, and Mancini will definitely be praying he doesn’t.
Kagawa, the Japanese play maker who was key to Dortmund winning the Bundesliga. Now he has a new task, an even greater challenge, snatch the title back from United’s unwanted neighbours. Fergie will be wanting Kagawa to pull the strings in the centre of midfield playing just infront of the others in midfield and just behind the strikers. Knowing Fergie Kagawa will have his work cut out, and if the reds manager chooses to play two strikers then Kagawa will have to be a midfielder and do his fair share of defending as well, something he has no proven track record in. But when it comes to goals and shooting from outside the box, Kagawa is a man with a mission, he can score, pass, and has the football brain needed to change games. He has only done it in the Bundesliga though, but it’s a risk you’ve got to take if your Ferguson because you want that title back.
Powell is an 18 year old, joining from Crewe Alexandra, for the League 2 side he played in the striker role- scoring 14 goals in 55 appearances. His record seems good, but with no proven record Fergie will be hoping he grow into the team. Having hinted he will be moulded into a midfielder. But I haven’t seen him play so I can’t judge the youngster yet, i’ll have to wait to make my decision.
Currently the only departures from United have been Owen (who ran out of contract) and Park who has joined QPR. Both players served the club well but with new additions and the direction of the club they would merely restrict a place in the starting 11 for someone else. So they will both move on and probably continue to play football.
Plan A: The trusty 4-4-2 has never served Fergie wrong over the years, but with the evolving game he may choose to switch it out over the course of the year. And with one of the strongest attacking line ups in the league he can rotate in attack without any dip in quality.
Plan B: Fergie has always been a tactical magpie and will have noted the current Barca-led trend for 3 man midfields and fluid high-pressing frontlines. With the addition of Kagawa and RVP Fergie should be able to implement this style with no troubles but will this effect any of the older players who can no longer get into the team.
Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic (C), Evra
Nani, Cleverly, Carrick, Young
Note: A variation of Fergie’s 4-4-2 with a midfield 3 of Cleverly, Carrick and Kagawa. This could turn into a 4-3-3 formation very easily.
Lessons From Last Season
Similarly to City United will aim to get ahead in all off their games. United won a staggering 23 out of 24 games in which they led at half-time last season.
There’s no doubt Fergie’s men will be up their challenging with the big boys but are City just too good now. Has this signaled an end to the Fergie era??? Will he ever be able to win that last trophy?? Or has he already won it???
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