Welcome to the third issue of The Red Report, the round table discussion of all things Manchester United by your favourite United blogs: The Busby Way, Stretford-End, Bangalore To Old Trafford, ManUtd24 and Red Force Rising.
After a manic second week dominated by Rooney, things have settled down at Old Trafford and the attention has shifted on to one of our other strikers, Chicharito.
Read on for some interesting thoughts on our rivals, Arsenal and come to your own conclusions about why Wenger is now taking the Carling Cup more seriously.
The perfect response to a week all about Rooney was handed to us by Chicharito. Two goals and a man of the match performance at Stoke was followed by the winning goal in the Carling Cup against Wolves. We discuss the impact he’s having at the club…
Chudi | The Busby Way: It’s great to see him doing well, he looks like he really enjoys playing the game and we definitely need
his goals with Rooney out of form/injured. He is showing a different range of goalscoring abilities ie heading, feet, tap ins etc
I have high hopes for him!
A few months ago I spoke of people placing too heavy an expectation on his shoulders and I stand by this he is still new to the club and the English game despite how he seems to have adapted, something that Dwight Yorke echoed this week.
Doron | Stretford-End: What a refreshing signing eh!? I can’t help but be a tad seduced by his happiness and honesty. I was
sceptical before the World Cup…another Tosic-esqe style signing. Without getting carried away he showed glimpses of something raw but good and then upon joining up with the United squad he’s not looked back. He is so much better than I even
imagined he could be. His movement and pace reminds me of a young Michael Owen; his positioning and awareness reminds me of Solskjaer; and the instinctive finishing which is applicable to both the players mentioned, has Ruud written all over it. A
joy to watch, he seems to have an understanding with Berbatov. More more more please!
Siddarth | Bangalore to Old Trafford: The buzz Hernandez has created has been sensational to say the least, and it’s timing
couldn’t have been any better. He’s been a breath of fresh air to everyone after a torrid start to the season and the messed up Rooney saga. I dealt with his impact in my blog article here, his emergence should help revitalize our title campaign!
TG | ManUtd24: Honestly, I didn’t see this coming. Before the season, I thought Wayne Rooney would come out and have another great season despite his failures in South Africa, and so, I expected United to continue with the 4-5-1, a system in which tends to Rooney thrive, with Chicharito settling for a place on the bench on most days. How I was wrong. In fact, being the
cheeky little chap he is, he has found success on the back of Rooney’s decline in form, and it seems like, whisper it quietly, we’ve found ourselves a new, somewhat quicker, Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Alan | RedForceRising: How can you not be smitten by this guy?! He has been a breath of fresh air and the reason why, is because you can see genuine joy on his face when he plays football. His interviews always show him to be a humble guy, so it’s been an absolute joy to see such a humble, smiley kid go out and kick so much arse on the pitch.
His pace is absolutely lethal, but it’s his finishing that I am really amazed with. We haven’t had a natural finisher like him since Solskjaer retired and it’s great to have someone who is so instinctive with his positioning, as well as finishing in
front of goal. Chicharito has made a great start scoring 6 goals in 11 appearances and I hope he can go on to have the best goal-scoring debut season since a certain Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Kyle | Stretford-End: I predicted our energetic new signing would get 15 goals this season, and I’m pleased to say I think he’s
going to surpass my projection. I honestly didn’t foresee all these issues with Rooney, but it’s given our beloved little pea an opportunity to establish himself in the side and he’s done exactly that. There’s no doubt Rooney is a star, but with Berbatov and Hernandez both in good form this season, there’s a pleasant dilemma on Sir Alex’s hands when Rooney returns. Chicharito now has six goals in eleven, four in the last four games, and three late game-winning goals. I hate to keep using the
same comparison, but can anyone say Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?
Chicharito has impressed us all, I’m sure we’ll be able to wax lyrical about him again very soon.
Manchester United announced they had bought Nobby Stiles’s medals this week. A lot of people had strong opinions on this and had hoped the club would pull through:
Alan | RedForceRising: I applaud the club for doing the right thing, It would be easy to be cynical and claim that it’s a PR
stunt, but the truth is the Glazers weren’t under any obligation to purchase these gems of history, but they did, so kudos to them.
It’s just a shame they didn’t do so with George Best’s European Cup winner’s medal which was auctioned off ten days ago. One week of Wayne Rooney’s wages would have acquired that important piece of metal.
TG | ManUtd24: Another reason to smile; it’s great news for everyone associated with the club. Those guys over at Stretford End should be thanked, too, they raised awareness of the issue using the power of the internet, and it seemed to have done the trick.
Siddarth | Bangalore to Old Trafford: I never thought we’d buy the medal, especially with the Glazers at the helm. But I’m
delighted that club did so, its great news for everyone associated with the club. Also the part played by all the United fans online to raise awareness on the medals should not go unnoticed. Just shows how much fan power can do!
Doron | Stretford-End: Quite simply, common sense prevailed. The medals are quite rightly now in the possession of the club for
the indefinite future.
Kyle | Stretford-End: This was a brilliant move by the club; there’s not much that needs to be said beyond that. Nobby’s medals will now have a proper home at the club he became a legend with.
Chudi | The Busby Way: The Busby Way were one of, if not the first site stating the Glazers could do right by the club and procure both Nobby and George Best’s medals. Whilst they didn’t get Best’s I happy the club managed to snap these up especially breaking the record for price paid the way they did. Manchester United are a club with a well documented history and it’s important we preserve this history as well as helping out those who helped make history.
We’re all in agreement that the medals now have a good home.
Our third United topic is another player debate: Evans vs. Smalling – one is having a tough patch and one is having a really positive impression. Where do we stand on our two young centre backs?
Kyle | Stretford-End: Obviously Jonny Evans is suffering from a major dip in form. We all know what he’s capable of, but at the
moment Chris Smalling is the better of the two. I don’t think this is about comparing the two players in an overall sense, as I believe both have futures at the club and it is tough to compare two players when one is currently in form and the other is not. Chris Smalling has come out and surprised a lot of us with how he’s played, which I think is brilliant. I don’t think we have to choose the two for the future. I see Smalling as Rio’s eventually replacement and Evans as Vidic’s. Evans
has proven in the past he’s a quality centre back; he will rediscover his form. If he keeps playing as well as he has been it will prove an excellent transfer by Sir Alex. Based on recent performances though, you have to say right now Smalling is the better choice to fill in should Rio or Vidic get injured.
Chudi | The Busby Way: I don’t really see it as Evans vs Smalling as there is space for both here. At the moment if we are honest
Smalling is the in form player of the two and if I had to go for one of the young pair to play it would be Smalling but that isn’t to disparage Evans, he has already showed his quality. As I said Smalling is in the better form of the two and Evans will need to pull his socks up and deal with his shortcomings.
Doron | Stretford-End: I don’t see it as a case of one player versus another. Merely, Chris has joined the club and certainly
impressed in his few appearances. At the same time, Jonny has had a strange start to the season. We all saw Evans as a superb talent when he played 35 times in the 08/09 season. It’s only normal that a lad who’s still only 22 will have poor games. The
important thing is to learn from the mistakes made. He’s not had any shockers by any stretch of the imagination, but, any mistakes small or large get exaggerated at a club that expects perfection. Both players have bright futures, no doubt Chris will
also make mistakes along the way and we must back him like right now we must back Evans.
Siddarth | Bangalore to Old Trafford: Unfair comparison of two totally different defenders for me, it’s just that Smalling has
come along much better than most would have expected when he first joined, the calm and cool he displays with the ball at his feet & when in tight situations is amazing. He’s looking more and more like Rio as he plays more. Evans on the other hand is a physical defender, good in the air and like Vida, a no nonsense Centre-back. This season hasn’t been the best for him so far, he’s looked unsteady at times and has had a few mistakes. But he’s still young and it’s too early to jump to conclusions. People should remember how good he was last season and how well the defence coped when Rio was absent thanks to Jonny.
TG | ManUtd24: To quote a well-worn cliché, Chris Smalling has really come of age and I think Evans has a lot to worry about.
Having said that, Evans hasn’t been particularly bad; but admittedly he’s looked quite unconvincing this campaign. Before we jump to conclusions, I’d like to see Chris get a couple more league games under his belt; only then can we really compare
Alan | RedForceRising: Smalling seems to have hit the ground running after a few poor moments in pre-season had us concerned. His performances have been assured and his ability on the ball has breathed a quiet confidence through the team from the back. I don’t see it as pure coincidence that Jonny’s dip in form has coincided with Smalling’s arrival. Evans is no longer the only centre back trying to break the Ferdinand-Vidic partnership, so Jonny might be feeling a bit under pressure and his
confidence might have taken a small knock as a result.
How Evans responds will be absolutely vital, and to be fair, Evans has proven himself in bigger matches than Smalling and I have every confidence Jonny will show us what he’s made of.
Interesting thoughts. I guess we are lucky that we have two very talented young centre backs to discuss. Their development will always come under close scrutiny and should mistakes be made we’ll back them as any United fan would.
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