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Reds face Blues

United succumbed to Chelsea 1-3 at home. The Red Devils had intended to prove a point to the newly-crowned champions but the only one made at the end was this: United are third-best this season.

The result wasn’t as bad as the scoreline and the pundits might suggest, though. The statistics show United had twice the number of goal attempts as their opponents with more shots on target as well. If the linesman had been more competent and correctly ruled Cole’s effort offside, the scoreline would’ve been 1-2. If Fletcher’s powerful effort had been a few inches lower and billowed the net instead of smacking the woodwork, it would’ve been 2-2.

That said, the conservative 4-5-1 formation Ferguson now favours looks increasingly to be a costly and ill-advised experiment. And experimentation seems to be the main theme this season. One would be forgiven for thinking the manager is still apparently indecisive about his best eleven and their positions.

Assuming the system is used purely to accommodate Keane’s fading legs, it’s perhaps time Ferguson bit the bullet and dropped the captain altogether to revert to the more familiar and more adventurous 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1. Dropping the inspirational Captain Marvel 2.0 would seem to be a sacrilegious suggestion but Fletcher needs to take on more responsibility sooner or later. More importantly, a more offensive formation would allow Rooney to play in a more influential position alongside or just behind van Nistelrooy. The Dutchman has been far too isolated in the current system and we’re not getting the most out of the Scouser on the left of midfield.

It will be interesting to see just what steps Ferguson will take in the next few months. It’s been suggested the manager will not get much money to throw around in the summer after Rooney’s costly arrival but that was before Lazio (finally!) paid the rest of the Stam transfer fee. One can only hope the manager will invest wisely. More Heinzes and fewer Klebersons, Djemba Djembas and Verons, please.

United face Southampton next on Sunday. It may be a meaningless match to United but a win would be really nice.

Posted in Football.

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