Manchester United’s season in review
Plenty of positives to look back on…and some negatives.
First of all, slightly late but anyway, congratulations to Chelsea. Ignoring all the obvious accusations of cheating, better treatment from referees, conspiracies, whatever, they have won the Premier League title because they gained a point more than us. Although Chelsea are now champions, that doesn’t, not for one second, mean Manchester United are in ‘decline’ or need a ‘major overhaul’ in order to earn back their crown.
The theme running through the season has been injury. But how much of an influence did it have? Manchester United, funnily enough, conceded the least goals in all 38 games and kept the most clean sheets but the numerous setbacks to Wayne Rooney towards the end blunted United’s final charge and the engine had faltered in his absence.
Rooney has been United’s best player, but he certainly could not do it himself. Just like he did so with Cristiano Ronaldo, he once again created a formidable partnership with Antonio Valencia, who was exceptional and inspirational throughout but the beautiful exhibition of attacking football between the two was without reward. Darren Fletcher has had a great season, as you’d expect, and one could one wonder what next season holds. His partner in central midfield, Paul Scholes, burst into life in the last month but it was all too late.
Michael Carrick season contrasts to that of his fellow midfield counterparts. Warming the bench has been his main contribution in March and April and there are many doubts surrounding his future at the club after numerous inconsistencies on the pitch before and after the new year. We can also praise Nani for his ‘return’ to form, but for Berbatov, like Carrick, it has been anything but. I’m a big fan of his, but he’s had so many goalscoring opportunities that his statistics ought to be better than they are at the moment. Those stats are decent, but certainly could be better. I do hope he stays at the club, mind.
I guess United’s main problem could be that they just haven’t been able to kill teams off, and have struggled when morale is at its very lowest. That one bad week after the Muncih games and the Chelsea game sandwiched in the middle didn’t help the cause. Confidence was so low after those defeats, that they stumbled against a stubborn Blackburn a week later. Note that Rooney was an absentee in that game.
It is a pity that own goals is United’s joint second top goalscorer, actually O.G and Berbatov both have 12, and goals definitely have to come regularly from more than one source. Signings may need to be made, but one or two the least. A fellow twitterer suggested that I do a post on who United should sign in the summer, but I honestly don’t think many acquisitions will be made. The Carling Cup success, the rise of Rooney as a world class player and the impact of one or two others are positives to take out, but the fact that United lost out to Chelsea in the race for the title and exited the Champions League in a fashion that could’ve been prevented in the last eight is something the lads will look back on with some regret. Hopefully next season a different tale will be told.