Thank Squad for that!!

by admin

Monday, February 28th, 2011

There are those who say that Manchester United are in a false position in the year’s Premier League table. There are those that say the football they play isn’t as mouth watering as some of the glory days of recent seasons. And then there are those who say that Manchester United can only aspire to the style of football that long term rivals Arsenal play, week in, week out, in the Premier League.

But in reality, as Manchester United go into a sequence of games, beginning tomorrow with an away trip to champions Chelsea, we are about to see what has and seemingly what always will make their assault on trophies so lethal.

In the next 19 days United face Chelsea and Liverpool away, an F.A Cup tie against Arsenal or Leyton Orient, Marseille in the Champions’ League before a Lancashire derby against Bolton.

In that time the 2010/11 title could be won or lost. But as Manchester United hit their most crucial fixture period, they will be tested on what I can only see as there most valuable asset; the strength of their squad.

Over recent weeks Manchester United have given an exhibition of the depths to which their squad can go. As stalwarts Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand have sat out recent games, the likes of Javier Hernandez and Chris Smalling have been leaned upon and have responded with fantastic effect.

However Arsenal, who many see as heir apparent to the Premier League title, gave a stunning exhibition of the frailties of their squad yesterday, as Birmingham ran out 2-1 winners in the League Cup final at Wembley.

I can’t say Arsenal wouldn’t have been extremely good value had they lifted the cup yesterday. But I would be lying to say Birmingham didn’t give the exact performance we were all expecting. Most importantly they won.

The last F.A Cup weekend was a demonstration of Arsenal’s bereft squad. A 1-1 result away against a fully charged Leyton Orient side is no real shame. Whereas Manchester United were fortunate to win 1-0 at home to an equally zealous Crawley Town.

Before Arsenal’s game I was asked to name their side. Assuming they would rest some key players I put pen to paper – ‘Denilson,’ I paused, ‘Gibbs, derrr! Chamakh needs a run out.’ It wasn’t that easy at all. ‘Squillaci, Almunia obviously aaand Bendtner.’

I threw in Thomas Rosicky and Emmanuel Eboue before my brain froze like the Snakebite ravaged cabbage that it truly is.

Manager Arsene Wenger actually selected; Almunia, Sagna, Squillaci, Miguel, Gibbs, Rosicky, Song, Denilson, Chamakh, Bendtner and Arshavin.

Wenger actually made 10 changes from the side that beat Barcelona, but the quality of replacements is an issue and probably the reason Birmingham triumphed yesterday.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s starting 11 versus Crawley; Lindegaard, Raphael, O’Shea, Brown, Fabio, Anderson, Carrick, Gibson, Obertan, Bebe and Hernandez.

Nothing Special. Right? Let me know what you think.

Chelsea have similar issues as Arsenal following lacklustre seasons from Zhirkov and Kalou, injury to Benayoun and Alex and the loss of Carvalho, Ballack and Joe Cole at the end of last season.

These point towards a game at Stamford Bridge tomorrow that even if Manchester United lose, won’t throw the wheels off what looks to be an extremely promising season ahead.

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  • Greann

    Arsenal have the 2nd smallest squad in the league. Only Stoke’s is smaller.

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