Its amazing how much things can change in just a few short weeks, especially at Manchester United.
Over the summer there was both an air of optimism surrounding the appointment of David Moyes paired with a cloud of uncertainty as to how the former Everton manager could attempt to fill the shoes of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Moyes' first real test came in the transfer window and after no movement at all and a number of high profile targets either declared not for sale or refusing to move to the reigning Premier League champions, it was left until the last day of the window for a significant signing – Marouane Fellaini.
Fans lauded the £27.5m coup and thought that he would offer both a threat up-front and in defence whilst crucially helping Michael Carrick to hold the Old Trafford midfield. His name was cheered when he made his debut and the so called ‘prawn sandwich brigade’ even broke from their quiet norms to don curly afro-style wigs in homage to their newest recruit.
This is where the change comes in, after a few poor performances by the Belgian, fans greeted the news that he may be out with a wrist injury for the next seven weeks with joy, bombarding Twitter with messages such as:
“Hope he is out until United can sell him”
“Hope its 2-3 years injury”
“Such a waste of money, he won’t be missed”
These were a few of the responses deemed appropriate to write on here as the majority were lewd, crude and to be honest… completely childish. I can understand criticism, especially when such large sums of money is exchanged, but I’m a firm believer that the people that make these comments should rest on them in the event of a turn around.
I’ll set the scene:
If United were give a tough draw in the Champions League, say, Real Madrid away in the quarter-finals and it were Fellaini who scored the vital away goal or the winner then would these Twitter trolls be as vocal in support of an obviously talented player, I’m not so sure.
The fact of the matter is that he is a United player, and one which Moyes has worked with for many years, he trusts him and trusts his game, and okay he hasn’t been the revelation that many hoped or expected as yet but be fair, while United hardly look like champions at the moment, the facts don’t lie, they are and that’s that.
Another fact is that Fellaini is out, injured, for an unspecified amount of time (although there are reports he may play for Belgium during the international week) but, if he is sidelined for up to a month – as initially reported – where does Moyes go now and what does he do to fill the void?
The Red Devils must line up 4-1-4-1 without the ball and 4-3-1-2 when they have it. United will line up, where possible, with the following back five: David De Gea, Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Rafael, that’s done and dusted, sure there are players like Smalling and Jones who could argue their worth in the back four but I think it takes care of itself really.
So to the rest of the formation when United have the ball, Carrick is the 1 in the formation, reading the game and sitting just in front of the defence, the midfield will then be from left to right Nani, Shinji Kagawa, Wayne Rooney and Antonio Valencia, the work ethic of both Rooney and Kagawa means that when the opposition are in control they make perfect central midfielders, closing down opponent and winning the ball back.
When they do get the ball then Rooney joins Robin Van Persie as a two man strike force and Kagawa follows to offer support as the 1, this leaves a gap between Nani and Valencia which Carrick in turn will fill.
I believe that with this formation and the hard-working nature at the disposal of Moyes, United will soon be back on track and for those doubting depth remember that apart from the aforementioned defensive cover, United have Hernandez, Welbeck, Young and teenage sensation Adnan Janujaz to call on too.
Rafael Ferdinand Vidic Evra
Valencia Rooney Kagawa Nani
Rafael Ferdinand Vidic Evra
Valencia Carrick Nani
Rooney Van Persie
Manchester United fans, do you agree with this line-up, if not how would you set up the team (without Fellaini) if you were David Moyes?
image: © Jason Gulledge