Sunday, 6 March 2011

Ferguson gets it wrong twice in a week

It is incredibly difficult to criticise Sir Alex Ferguson, after all, he is probably the best manager there has ever been- but I am going to. In the games against Chelsea and Liverpool this week he has got things wrong which have resulted in them losing their grip on the Premier League title.

This season’s United side is not a vintage team; to be fair it is probably one of the worst Ferguson has managed during his tenure at the club. They are resolute and hard working but lack the creativity and ability of previous teams. One thing he has done brilliantly though is make them resolute and hard to beat. In normal circumstances both domestically and in Europe he lines up 4-5-1 which allows them to strangle the midfield and hit sides on the break.

For some reason against Chelsea and Liverpool he has opted to play 4-4-2 away from home with Paul Scholes as one of the central midfielders. Now Paul Scholes has been one of the best central midfielders for the last decade but no longer has the speed to play as one of a two man partnership. Earlier in the season against Arsenal and Liverpool they employed the 4-5-1 formation which enables Scholes to use all his wizardry while his colleagues Fletcher and Carrick patrol the centre of the pitch. In turn this also frees up Nani and Rooney who are then able to roam in support of Berbatov.

At Anfield this afternoon and at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday we have seen United playing in a game where they have had no foothold in midfield. This has resulted in Rooney becoming more and more subdued and in the end today consigned to the left wing after Nani’s injury. It must have delighted Kenny Dalglish to see Rooney patrolling the touch line; 30 yards from where he needed to be to hurt Liverpool.

The title is by no means lost after this week but they have let the chasing pack catch them. They now face a tough trip to the Emirates in May followed by the return of Chelsea in order to win the Premier League. Whilst this is certainly not beyond Manchester United they must go back to doing what they do best, they certainly haven’t done that this week.

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