Season Analysis: Rafael da Silva
This year wasn’t quite a breakthrough one for either of United’s iconic twins but certainly it was Rafael that has been the more favourable in Sir Alex’s eyes. He plays a different game of football to most full-backs, the ‘Brazilian way’ if you like, believing in a more expansive, aggressive type dismissing the notion that defenders have to defend.
That isn’t exactly praise, however. In truth, his defending has been rather hit-and-miss (mostly the latter), and for all his flair down the right flanks his main priority, which is to defend, hasn’t been accomplished all too well. And compared to Gary Neville and Wes Brown, there’s another thing he is also lacking: discipline. He has little of it. He is still a teenager but that is definitely an area he has to work on.
There have been some good performances from the Brazilian, mind, with contests against Frank Ribery and Robinho coming to mind. The former didn’t end well for him, sent off for a rather harsh, but still rash, challenge but it was the moments beforehand that was most impressive. He managed to keep the Frenchman at bay for an hour or so, but it was that fateful decision that had brought an end to what was looking a good night for both him and Manchester United against Bayern Munich.
In the Manchester Derby back in Autumn, he dealt with the threat of his counterpart Robinho perfectly, keeping him quiet for the duration. But it was a season of downs rather than ups. It sounds harsh but his defending simply hasn’t been up to scratch most of the time, whilst his attacking football continues to develop. Critical analysis but he needs some work over the summer. It looks as if though the continental style football that Europe brings has brought him more success, but the fast tempo of the Premier League hasn’t allowed him to develop as he’d like.