Much, much more than just a bit part player at Old Trafford

Manchester United’s win over Chelsea at Old Trafford means the ‘T’ word is still being muttered somewhat less tentatively by many of the United faithful. The Reds may not have been firing on all cylinders for most of the season but there’s little denying they’ve hit top form at just the right time.

Throughout the campaign though we’ve heard pundit after pundit mention the same names when talking of why United are still in the hunt for the top three honours. Rooney, Nani, Berbatov, Chicharito and Vidic have been the usual suspects when it comes to receiving the accolades. Yet one man consistently rises to the occasion and seems to have made the term ‘big game player’ practically his exclusive nickname. Ji-Sung Park has for a number of years now been one of the real stars at Old Trafford always putting in a shift and weighing in with some important goals.

Who can forget his goal against Chelsea in the 2007-08 season which gave United a valuable point at Stamford Bridge- one which would turn out to be vital. Two seasons ago his goal against Arsenal at the Emirates helped United progress past the semi final stage in the Champions League.

Last season his winner against Liverpool may not have mattered in terms of the title race, but just imagine how disappointed we’d have been had the Scousers been the reason we failed to win that elusive 19th title. Then there’s his goal against the Gunners in the league at Old Trafford which was not just one of the best headers I’ve seen at The Theatre of Dreams but also made sure Arsenal didn’t gain a valuable point in the title race.

The game against Chelsea at Old Trafford was one where you could take your pick from seven or eight United players who each had a good claim for Man of the Match. Giggs, Rooney, Carrick, Nani, Chicharito and the left footed Rio Ferdinand were all contenders, but for me Park stole the show. His goal and performance against Chelsea was yet another example of why Park’s so important to United’s success.

It seems the media are finally beginning to recognise just how good the South Korean is. The match reports were full of praise for Park’s efforts…

The Telegraph: “Laid down a marker by dispossessing Cole and launching an attack inside the opening five minutes. Tenacious and disciplined throughout, the Korean deserved his goal.”

Manchester Evening News: “Tireless performer who makes up in industry what he lacks in creativity and a goal to boot.”

The Mirror: “Played with typical industry and commitment, receiving a cut above his left eye from a clash with Terry for his fearless exploits.”

The Mail: “The Man Fergie looks to in the big games didn’t let him down. solid in defence and purposeful in attack. Park was faultless.”

ESPN: “Park once again showed why he is Sir Alex Ferguson’s first choice when it comes to the important games. Never stopped running and was rewarded for his efforts when Giggs picked him out with a sublime pass, which he finished with aplomb.”

It seems the media are only reiterating what United fans have known for years, it’s not just because he’s got a funny chant that his name’s always echoes round Old Trafford. Ji-Sung Park Redflagflyinghigh salutes you sir.

Read more of Justin’s articles at RedFlagFlyingHigh.com

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