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  • jim w jim w Apr 8, 2009 05:08 Flag

    Central Midfield

    Porto deserved at least a draw, they played very well and I fear they will win on their own ground.
    United's central midfield has always been a problem area and now its just evaporated. Carrick has lost form and energy, Scholes is a spent force. I couldn't believe he was left on the pitch as long as he was.
    Perhaps if Anderson is fit next week it might make a difference, certainly Fletcher has to be played centrally. But Porto just don't lose at home, and on current form United wont change that stat.
    I think Fergie played the wrong team tonight, but I'm not sure it would have made any difference, Porto had at least 20% more energy.

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    • Yes, the source is the Sun so I don't think we can read too much into it. I remember reading somewhere earlier in the year that United had denied interest when the story first came out.
      I have high hopes for Ljajic, but as an attacking player, and he won't arrive unitil Jan '10. Petrucci similarly is an attacking player rather than a real midfielder. Possebon has a lot of talent but unfortunately the injury against 'Boro has influenced his approach in games where he is physically intimidated. You can see this in reserve games consistently. Gibson could be a good squadie, but hasn't developed as well as I thought he would a couple of years ago.

    • On another note, has anyone else also read the reports linking us with Douglas Costa again? He looks to be another exciting young Brazilian flair player, and a dead ball specialist too. He is also reported to be an admirer of the Premiership and wouldn't need a work permit as he has a Portuguese passport. With the Brazilian players we already have, i'm sure we would have no problem in attracting him here if the interest was true.

    • I agree jim. We don't need a defensive style midfielder as you have said, what we need is someone like a fit Owen Hargreaves. A tough tackler who can boss the midfield and control the run of play. While I like both Carrick and Fletcher, neither of them really fit the bill there. Both are less effective when put under physical pressure. Like i've said before, Anderson possesses the physique to command such a role, he just needs refining as a player to become effective there. Next season will be a key one for him, to see whether he can regain a bit more of last seasons form and mature into that kind of player.
      If Owen Haregreaves is actually going to be fit again and will return next season, then I don't necessarily think we need to buy another central player, becaause he will be exactly what we need. It will also be interesting to see how the likes of Ljaljic, Petrucci, Possebon and Gibson all improve and come into play next term.

    • I want another very good central midfielder. I don't go with the latest 'gimmick' of a 'Makalele' defensive guy. Excellent midfielders should be able to defend and attack. United have always asked their guys to do both jobs. I actually applaud Wenger for taking a similar view, he has resisted calls to buy a 'strongman' for defensive midfield duties, preferring to play with 2 all-round central midfielders. If you can get the right guys it gives your team a lot more flexibility.
      When Carrick, Fletcher, Anderson are on form and completely fit, I can't see anyone out there , who might be available, who is a tremendous improvement. But of course they lose form/fitness so we need another guy to step up. Scholes is spent, Giggs cannot play regularly and none of the younger guys are quite up to it. Hargreaves if fully fit , is as good as anyone else . It seems to me that if Fergie thinks he is 100% likely to return , then I can understand his apparent interest in Valencia because Fletcher needs to play centrally, and he would more regularly if he didn't have to keep filling the hole on the right hand side of midfield. So perhaps that is his solution.
      OK our central guys individually still wouldn't be as good as say Gerrard, Essien, Fabregas nevermind Xavi, Iniesta ; but as a unit they would be strong.

    • I don't think Barry is really and archetypal defensive midfielder, which is what we really need. He isn't really attacking or defensive, a mixture of both instead-his defensive frailties were shown up in the England match. I think he's a sound player, but I think he has become overrated-I can't believe Benitez was planning to sell Alonso for him!! I think the same is true of Delph-is he really a DMF? Also you say that Veloso doesn't make Sporting tick-does that mean you want a deep-lying playmaker with defensive skills or a defensive midfielder AND an advanced attacking playmaker?

    • No not Senna as a stop gap.....,for his strength and experience.We would have delt with teams like Porto much better.If you'r talking Man Utd than,Fletch,Park,and i would even say Carrick for the midfield are squad players.I tell you we need two brick outhouse;'s and a flair midfielde'r,which Anderson will fit the bill soon, and a right back,as Brown is now injury prone.
      Why should we have to go to the other top 3 and hope for the best...when we should be the best...

      • 1 Reply to seven of eleven
      • Carrick unfortunately is limited technically in that he can't hold the ball under pressure and he can't move the ball in tight spaces. His range of airborne long passing is probably in the top 3 of the league, but he is a limited short passer, and can't play a quick short passing game which would greatly improve the midfield. In a sense then, he is a luxury player, and however great people think he is, against Barcelona last season (regardless of the score) he and Scholes were found out. Anderson can do all of the above but is being held back playing a role which does not naturally suit him-he should be playing further up the pitch or on the wings. Fletcher has been impressive this season and should, injuries withstanding, play every match this season in the holding role. In the summer, the midfield should be sorted; SAF needs to decide which of the youth players (Possebon, Gibson (even though he's 21)) is going to make it and get rid of those he thinks do not have a long term future at the club. That's the first step because this season we just have a sea of midfield players with undefined roles and it shows on the pitch. Then I hope a young midfield anchorman is signed- Fletcher is not top quality and relying on Hargreaves is risky, thus enabling Anderson to take any attacking midfield spot. It is a shame that Berbatov was signed because it has unbalanced the attack, but what to do. I would have loved it if we could promote from within for next season (with Welbeck or Macheda as the furthermost forward) or gone all out for Benzema (ie. players who could still rotate with the others, thus enabling Ronaldo to get into positions from which he can score all his goals too).

    • I agree that central midfield is becoming an increasing problem. I also think that its a good point someone else made that we got away with it a little there last season/didn't really notice the problems because the rest of the team played so well.
      If Owen Hargreaves was fit, I don't think the problem would be so great, but he isn't, and its 50/50 whether he ever will be. He is certainly the sort of player that we are lacking, a tough tackling no nonsense sort of player that can boss the midfield. Anderson has the physique to be that sort of player, but he has failed to move forward from good first impressions last season, and hasn't been effective at all, so I don't think we can really pin any hopes on him sorting things out in the middle next Wednesday. I still think he can mature into a good player for us though, he showed us enough last season that he has the potential to do so, but thats all it is so far, 'potential'.

      I think Carrick is a good midfielder, and a great passer of the ball, but doesn't seem to cope too well when put under physical pressure.

      Fletcher is also another good midfielder, who has improved a lot this season, but like Carrick, is also too lightweight to be the player to take command of the middle of the park that we are lacking.

      Scholes, unfortunately I have to agree with many others, is looking a spent force. His passing game just isn't there anymore, he gave the ball away very cheaply on a regular basis last night. Its a shame, but a reality we have to come to terms with.

      Giggs, unlike Scholes, is still a very useful player, but he can't play every game, and theres only so much he can do.

      I think the fact that we are talking about the central midfields weaknesses, just highlights how poorly the rest of the team is playing at the moment. There are no second chances now. The team needs to rediscover its form, starting against Sunderland, or its game over

      • 1 Reply to Steve
      • I think that part of the problem is the fact that the midfield at the moment (and some could say the attack) in squad terms, is poorly put together. It's a big risk relying on Hargreaves to be fit for next season; I don't know how Veloso has been playing but his value seems to have gone down considerably this season. He might just be going through a bad patch of form but even so, it might be worth investing in him. Other options include the young Belgian Witsel and Inler from Udinese. In hindsight, it is a shame we missed out on Diarra. I'm just hoping that Anderson is let of the leash next season as that's when we will see the best of him, in attacking midfield or on either wing. I think he could be very good on the right, cutting inside-I'm not basing these assertions on the youtube vids of his days at Porto. Carrick is a good long passer, but his close control and short passing are typically English, especially when he is placed under pressure. One thing I am glad about is that Rooney is playing the best I've seen him since he got injured at the Bridge in April 2006.

    • There are 2 completely flawed arguments used by so-called "real utd fans" to justify the central midfield being perfectly competent:

      1) We have so many central midfield players, therefore there's no need to buy anyone.

      2) The team won the double last season with largely the same midfield therefore showing that we have one of the best midfields in Europe.

      The fact is that we lack quality in the middle of the park. Only Carrick, Fletcher and Anderson are regulars (and they're not quite top quality); Giggs can only be used sparingly, Scholes is so past it it's upsetting (barring the goal against Barca last season, he has had 2 poor seasons), Gibson is not good enough, and Hargreaves is injury-prone. Youngsters are unknown quantities. The fact we won the double last season is in spite of having a very mediocre midfield and certainly the worst of the big 4-it was just that we were so ahead of the others in defence and attack that we won so much, but it also meant a reliance on counter-attacking football, leading to displays like that against Chelsea at the Bridge last season (where the mf was found wanting for power) and Barca (where it was found to lack technique and the ability to hold possession). Carrick is a great player when he has time and space, but he lacks the ability to play a quick short passing game. Fletcher is underrated but is essentially workman-like, and Anderson is still developing (at a slower rate than he should due to lack of a true defensive midfield player). I hope changes are made in this area in the summer.

      • 1 Reply to stefan t
      • I dont know about the real Utd fans...i've been supporting United since 64,and had to wait 26 yrs for another title,so dont want to go back to the old day's....and see them lot, down the road..or the london'ers nicking all the silverware again,You can have a lot of midfielder's but you have to have the right midfielder's...i dont want United to just get away with result's,i want them to be awesome again.. and understand you cant be 100% every game,... but to have back... the telepathic understanding of Cole,Yorke. midfield .like Keane,Ince..Robbo Stam,Bruce,Pailister,type c/half's ...we nearly have that,...at our best...but not quite..

    • There are 2 completely flawed arguments used by so-called "real utd fans" to justify the central midfield being perfectly competent:

      1) We have so many central midfield players, therefore there's no need to buy anyone.

      2) The team won the double last season with largely the same midfield therefore showing that we have one of the best midfields in Europe.

      The fact is that we lack quality in the middle of the park. Only Carrick, Fletcher and Anderson are regulars (and they're not quite top quality); Giggs can only be used sparingly, Scholes is so past it it's upsetting (barring the goal against Barca last season, he has had 2 poor seasons), Gibson is not good enough, and Hargreaves is injury-prone. Youngsters are unknown quantities. The fact we won the double last season is in spite of having a very mediocre midfield and certainly the worst of the big 4-it was just that we were so ahead of the others in defence and attack that we won so much, but it also meant a reliance on counter-attacking football, leading to displays like that against Chelsea at the Bridge last season (where the mf was found wanting for power) and Barca (where it was found to lack technique and the ability to hold possession). Carrick is a great player when he has time and space, but he lacks the ability to play a quick short passing game. Fletcher is underrated but is essentially workman-like, and Anderson is still developing (at a slower rate than he should due to lack of a true defensive midfield player). I hope changes are made in this area in the summer.

    • Jim what the hell do you lot see in fcuking Anderson? This kid is a bust just like the lad Lucas at Liverpool. He can't pass, shoot, read a play, tackle and has never scored for the club. Can't you see that?

      Truth is you have looked awful ever since the Inter games and i believe that LFC thrashing sucked the wind out of you and you've never recovered from it.

      As for your midfield, it's not been a force since the Becks, Keane, Scholes and Giggs glory days.

      Not a wind-up mate but that's how i see it. Do you?