As Tuesday’s Carling Cup semi final against City reached it’s dying stages and Sir Alex Ferguson saw the game slipping away he made one last roll of the dice and had it not been for some magical goalkeeping from Given, the decision would have borne fruit.
Around the 70th minute Fergie swapped Anderson for Michael Owen and United burst into life lead by a magical Wayne Rooney performance.
At the start of the game United lined up with the much maligned 4-5-1 and at times whilst we played this formation Rooney cut a lonely figure isolated up top. It was like the Birmingham game all over again. But after going 2-1 down and Michael Owen was introduced, Rooney was allowed to perform aT his devestating best as Michael Owen occupied defenders.
He dropped deep and playing off Owen, he was allowed to do the damage to City that we would have liked to see from the start as he pulled the strings as United mounted a come back.
Wayne Rooney is a creative force and our best striker so it only makes sense to play to his advantages. When he lined up with Ruud Van Nistelrooy this so called ‘magic’ or ‘spark’ that people claim he has now lost was in full effect and on Tuesday when playing with Owen it was clear to see whilst the 4-5-1 completely nullifies the effect of having Wayne in the team.
4-5-1 can also translate into 4-3-3 and even in that formation United and Rooney blossomed but that was only possible through the fluidity of players like Ronaldo and Tevez who supported Rooney in attack. They would seamlessly switch positions confounding defences who wouldn’t know who was coming down the left, right or through the middle but the departure of both players mean this is no longer a viable option with the less fluid but equally creative Berbatov.
Speaking in February’s issue of FourFourTwo Rooney confirmed he prefers playing off a striker saying,
“You have to accept you’re not going to get as much of the ball as you would as the man playing off; you won’t get as many chances but it’s my second favourite position after playing off another striker.”
So for the good of our season, please Fergie leave the 4-5-1 as emergency option and lets play the 4-4-2 that brings the exciting but effective football that United are known for.