Living in Manchester and watching as much football as I do, there are often accusations of favouring either the red side or blue of the city. In actual fact I have a soft spot for a certain white side in Madrid and genuinely have no bias towards either half of Manchester, so when I say City will win the league or indeed burst into laughter after reading the Metro headline about ‘Fergie’s Fab Four’ being back and better than ever – it is genuine opinion not bias forming the reaction.
The article was of course referring to the formerly great forward four from the utter glory days of the club of Yorke, Cole, Sheringham and Solsjaer, and comparing them with the new fab four – the strikers of Rooney, Hernandez, Welbeck and of course the man who makes ‘RVP’ and ‘I feel sick’ trend in the same sentence on twitter.
You could be forgiven for not really seeing why I found the whole story so hilarious – well before the Everton game – and there is no doubting that the four forwards Fergie has at his disposal back then or even now are top class, the ones who can play for 90 minutes, the ones who can produce sheer brilliance and the super subs who can come on and get you that winning goal.
The difference however is that back in 99, United also had the best midfield in Europe. Now they do not even have the best midfield in Manchester. What use is it having the best forwards around when there is no maestro to pass them the ball either through the centre of midfield or on the wings?
After the humiliation by Barcelona in the Champions League final a few seasons gone, Fergie should have seen the warning signs and known that what he had in the middle of the park was simply not good enough to compete with the very best in Europe anymore. Yes Xavi and Iniesta are magicians but it was a warning sign not heeded and now the midfield at United can’t even go toe to toe with the best in the Premier League anymore.
Even the most ardent United fans and Fergie supporters must see that United need drastic changes at the heart of their team – yes Scholes is still special and Giggs has managed to keep himself young through a variety of on and off the field activities, but how long are they really going to last? Does Fergie really think that Scholes, like himself only plans to leave Old Trafford when carried out in a coffin?
United might have a quality striker force and should they keep Vidic and Rio fit a good defence but in reality what is going on in the middle of the park? Summer signing Kawaga looks utter quality but he alone cannot make the difference in a tight game. There is no other way to put this, if United wish to win the Premier League or even come close in Europe something has to be done about their midfield. A fab four but an average heart will get you very little.