Where would Manchester United be without Rio?

So Manchester United’s worst ever team staggered unconvincingly to another lucky Premier League title, winning it by a mere nine points plus goal difference..oh the shame!

While the entire English media has had to congratulate us through gritted teeth, quick to point out that it’s “only ‘cos everyone else was so poor”-whatever that means- no one can deny one simple fact: Manchester United are Premier League Champions once more and won the title by the biggest points margin in six years.

United deserve their place at the top of the Premier League despite what the Chelsea fans in Fleet Street may infer with their silly statements and insidious questioning of the ability of other sides.

Take into account the fact that our nearest rivals spent over £200 million this season alone and the achievement is even more impressive.

There are many factors you can point to as to why United prevailed yet again: the goals of Dimitar Berbatov, the form of Nani, the impact of a certain little green pod growing seed, the mid season resurrection of a formerly chastised scouser, I could go on.

One reason for United’s success that cannot be ignored nor denied is the return to the team of the man known as @RioFerdy5. Rio Ferdinand may have only played half the Premier League matches this season but it’s a certainty that had he played less United would have won fewer points.

Last season Ferdinand managed just 12 league games and United lost the title by a solitary point. I argued at the time that had he been fitter for even just two or three more games then Ferdinand would have been the one lifting the title at the end of the campaign.

This season United’s former captain has been immense, it may be Nemanja Vidic winning most of the accolades and even skippering the side but Ferdinand is still the best defender on the planet.

The former Leeds’ man’s six appearances in the Champions League have been equally as vital and I’d argue that had he missed just two- the Chelsea games- then United may have struggled to beat the West Londoners.

I’m aware of the sterling job that Chris Smalling has done when needed and in time it’s obvious he’s the heir to Rio’s throne but this season, Ferdinand has shown just how important he is to the side.

It’s not just his defensive abilities it’s also his reading of the game and organising his troops. Vidic may wear the armband but it’s Ferdinand who seems to be the man mashalling the defence more often then not.

That’s not to take anything away from the Serbian who’s also had a superb season, but without Ferdinand- even more so than Vidic, I think United are left without their true defensive leader.

It’s no coincidence that during the entire season, Ferdinand’s only been on the losing side twice- the debacles at Wembley and the Emirates. Would united have lost at Molineux, Anfield and Stamford Bridge had Ferdinand played? I have my doubts.

It’s been a team effort this season, unlike in the past when say a Cristiano Ronaldo or a Ruud Van Nistelrooy grabs most of the acknowledgements.

It would be foolish to claim Ferdinand’s the sole reason United have won that coveted 19th title, of course he isn’t. The question is would United be Champions and looking forward to a mouth watering clash with Barcelona next week if Rio hadn’t played so many games?

I seriously doubt it.

Read more of Justin’s articles at Red Flag Flying High