I hate to criticise United players.
I mean, let’s face it – as United fans, we are spoilt rotten. I realised this the other night when a Baggies friend of mine asked me for the best United XI in my lifetime, and I ended up having to leave out Robson, Cantona, Bruce, Stam, van der Sar, Neville and so many others who would be all-time legends at lesser clubs.
The season so far has been satisfactory also – top of the league despite not hitting top gear, qualified from our Champions League group without yet conceding a goal, and a very tasty FA Cup tie against Liverpool to come. Really, we shouldn’t criticise any player right now, for anything.
However, the game against West Ham was pretty embarrassing, none more so than for Jonny Evans. And though I loathe to do it, I have to criticise him for his display, because quite frankly he was bullied by Carlton Cole last night. At 2-0 down, I still felt we had a chance at getting back into the game, but Cole’s double in the second half ended all that optimism – a double which in my opinion could have been easily prevented. For the first, Evans was caught on his heels really quite shockingly, and for the second….let’s just say I watched a Conference North centre-half last Saturday who could have dealt with the situation better.
If it was just one game, I wouldn’t mind so much, but it seems like Jonny has really regressed this season. So dominant against Drogba in the past, he now seems a nervous wreck up against physical players – Bobby Zamora and Kevin Davies also caused him major problems this season. What on Earth has happened?
I’m not one for hyperbole. I’m not saying we swap him for Titus Bramble, I’m not saying he should be sold to Plymouth and he’s useless. But at the moment he’s stuck in a serious rut, and I would consider Chris Smalling the more adequate centre-half replacement than him currently – a statement which 6 months ago would have seemed ridiculous.
Do you drop him? Keep playing him and hope he muddles his way through? Stick him in the reserves? Just what do you do with a problem like Jonny Evans?
X Factor for strippers? Must be Strip Me Famous!