Previewing Manchester United’s season with two fans
As a Liverpool fan, I hate Manchester United with a red hot passion. So watching the heartbreak at Old Trafford last season was almost like Liverpool winning the EPL.
Except I wouldn’t really know the feeling cause the Reds haven’t finished at the top of the league since I was born.
I thought it would be a good idea to round up a couple of die-hard United fans to talk about their pain and suffering and to preview how the second best team in Manchester will be in the coming season.
Nicholas: G’day Leung and Esmond. So first up, I am dying to know, what were going through your minds when Kun scored that goal?
Nicholas: Alright, moving on. So, what went wrong last season?
Leung: Um, Fergie stuffed up with the line-up, especially in that City game. He played five midfielders but left Valencia, who had been superb, on the bench. Scholes, Giggs, Carrick, Park and Nani didn’t threaten the City defence at all.
Rooney got virtually no support until the 78 mins when the sub finally came on, providing instinct offensive creativity. If you ask me I think Fergie should have made the substitution a lot earlier, could have saved the game.
Esmond: Injuries, Smalling, Vidic, Fletcher, Cleverley and to a much lesser extent, Anderson. Actually scratch that, a healthy Anderson would have costed us more.
Nicholas: Who do you want out? Obviously Park is gone, I am just going to put this out there, do you think it’s because commercially United only needs one token Asian player?
Esmond: Park is out of form, he’s a speedster who can’t run. Man, that’s like Kate Upton not doing bikini shoots…
Leung: Evra costed us so much cause he wasn’t fast enough to get back and defend down the flank. We need a solid left back to replace him. Jordi Alba would fit nicely but I don’t see him leaving Barca. I would love to see Nicolai Boilisen from Ajax filling up that role. Park’s departure has got nothing to do with Kagawa. Obviously Kagawa is going to sell a lot of jerseys, It’s just Park is just simply not as good anymore, after all he’s 31. I don’t think he can handle the physical demand when United has league, domestic cups and that champions league. Not that I expect a Liverpool fan to understand.
Nicholas: … I will cop that, anyway do you think Valencia should have gotten the number seven jersey?
Leung: Well, he is a typical number seven winger, one of the best players last year, scored some vital goals and made a fair few assists. Normally I think number seven has to be worn by an icon like Beckham or Cantona and I don’t think he deserves it, yet. But if you compare Valencia with Ashley Young, he is no doubt the better player. Young wasn’t consistent enough, and he just doesn’t seem fit at all during Euro. You can’t compare Valencia with Best or Cantona but I am fairly optimistic about his future.
Nicholas: Let’s hope he won’t be another Owen instead. That traitor… Anyway what areas do you think United needs to improve from last season?
Leung: We desperately need a playmaker, I do think Kagawa has potential but I think they need a star playmaker who has experience, someone like Ozil or Gotze. A defensive midfielder like Khedira would be an upgrade I want as well. And a top class striker, Lewandowski would be a good signing as he has already bonded with Kagawa when he was in Dortmund. Fergie said he is working on a couple of transfers. I assume one of them will be a left back, possibly Baines. Hopefully we will sign someone like Joao Moutinho or Lucas but I think we will end up with a youngster.
Esmond: Let’s be realistic, we wouldn’t be able to get Ozil, but I still think we are going to pull off signing Modric, I see him morphing into someone like Scholes for United. The 27-year-old Scholes obviously, not the one we have now. I think Carrick is underrated, him and Fletcher form a decent midfield duo. Too bad we couldn’t really do that last season.
I am not entirely sold about the prospect of signing RVP, I think he had a fantastic season but I think he’s a bit hyped right now, I don’t think he can play at the same level he did last season.
Nicholas: If you could get a player from Manchester City, who would you pick?
Leung: Sergio Aguero or David Silva. Do not ask me why I wouldn’t sign Balotelli.
Esmond: Definitely Yaya Toure, great defensive mid, he can pass, shoot, make tackles. He is the core of City.
Nicholas: And who do you think is the second best striker currently in United?
Leung: Chicharito at the moment, he is so good at placing himself in scoring position, but he can’t really create his own opportunities, heavily relying on passes. I can see Kagawa and Hernandez playing great with each other. The movement and finishing of Hernandez along by the creativity of Kawaga could pose legitimate threats to the defence. Welbeck on the other hand has more potential, he is just a natural striker, has good technique, but just needs to control the ball better.
Esmond: Welbeck, he is already the second best striker in England, didn’t you see that goal he scored against Sweden, amazing.
Nicholas: Do you think Rooney needs another world class partner? I feel like he struggles at times being the lone wolf up front, might help takes his load off a bit?
Leung: Not really once he has developed chemistry with Welbeck, but I do think they need a striker after Bebra’s departure.
Esmond: I think they need a finisher playing in front of Rooney, he’s got hard work rate and he is so good at creating spaces for other players. If you play FIFA, you notice having him on your team is like playing an extra player on the field.
Nicholas: I thought the extra player was the ref…
Nicholas: Almost there now, we are in range, who do you think will have a breakout season?
Leung: Look out for Nick Powell, I think he might shock the world like how Smalling and Jones did last year. And trust me, Cleverley. Guy played well before he got injured last year, especially when he won us the Community Shield against the Gunners. You will get to see just how good he is in the Olympics. He is still young though, if he stays healthy he will leap to another level, may be the ‘next big thing’.
Nicholas: This is not a jinx but if he gets injured again though he might become Tom ‘if only he could have stayed healthy’ Cleverley, just another pretty good player plagued by injuries who didn’t achieve much during his career.
Leung: I despise you.
Nicholas: Finally, what will be the likely starting line-up comes next season?
Leung: I am not entirely certain but De Gea will start for sure, although Lindegaard has shown the world he is a better player, Fergie will keep faith in this 17 million Spanish import. From right to left the back line should be Smalling, Jones, Vidic, Evra. Smalling can play right back and center back, i guess he will be teaming up with Jones until Vidic comes back, Evans will be on the bench and I have a feeling this will be Evra’s last season and not just because i think he costed us the title. Rafael will step up as the first choice left back when he is gone.
For the midfield, it is clear that Paul Scholes will adopt a less important role and it should set up for Tom Cleverly to shine. Anderson is more likely to be on the bench and I predict he will be sold soon enough. The absence of Darren Fletcher and the departure of Park might force Fergie to buy a new defensive midfielder, one with high stamina, Michael Carrick can play that role but his performance is not stable at all. He made some silly mistakes last season that led to goals being conceded, he is better off as a starting centre.
For wingers, Valencia will start alongside Ashley Young, Nani will come off the bench as a secret weapon, I think this tactic will work nicely against strong teams like Chelsea and Arsenal. Kagawa will gradually get a starting spot once he gets used to the system. Rooney will be up front with Welbeck starting as well. This will push Hernandez down the depth chart. Berbatov will be the ultimate bench warmer, may be he will get to play in league cup games.
Esmond: I think Smalling will start with Ferdinand until Vidic comes back. I think for centre backs it’s important for them to understand one another and I feel that Smalling plays better when he is with Rio while Vidic prefers to partner up with Phil Jones.
Leung: As a Man United fan for 14 years, I think United is trying to transform from a club playing traditional English football into something similar to what they are doing at Barcelona. That’s why we are the 19 time champion, most successful club in English history. I do think we are the top contender for the league title in 2012-2013. And more importantly if we can stay patient, the team will be great in 3-4 years.
Nicholas: Oh no you did not just say that, 19 time champion? Thanks for the chat but I hope you guys enjoy being the Everton to Man City’s Liverpool.
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