Ahead of the Arsenal clash, Ji Sung Park has been named ManUtd.com’s Player of the Month for November just ahead of Nani.
Although this is no Ballon D’Or, Park has nevertheless been instrumental in helping to slowly drag the team back in the title race in the last few weeks after it was looking like one of those seasons with too many draws/dropped points. One such example was going to be against a spirited Wolves side at Old Trafford. But then, in injury time, Park picked up the ball on the right flank thanks to a glorious long-range pass by Fletcher, ran at the defence and scored a invaluable goal in front of the Stretford End which went bonkers.
The man who most rival fans think we bought purely for selling shirts in the Far East will always be one of those players who divide opinion among their own supporters. Park has been injured so many times throughout his United career that fans have failed to see him string a decent amount of first team appearances over a few seasons and some of these fans sometimes start wondering whether it would be best to just get someone better and sell him off. Other fans would then use the work ethic card to defend him, just like Tevez used to be defended for his headless chicken impression on the pitch. But Park is much more than bundles of energy. He is pretty quick, very tactically aware (generally good positioning and disciplined), shows great movement in crowded areas, can dribble well and can finish too. He can lose possession very often (and very frustratingly), just because he can be too adventurous or easily pushed off the ball at times. But he definitely has the class of a player who can change matches in an instant but who can also do the dirty work and press the hell out of opponents. Furthermore, he is very versatile and can play anywhere in midfield and even behind a lone striker in a central role.
Park seems to love playing against Arsenal too (I always remember his best performances being against them). And the Arsenal match could not come at a better time for our Korean midfielder. Another reason for me being particularly happy with Park as well as players like Nani for example is that we are doing really well in the league without our two main stars being in great form. Berbatov, despite his 5 goals against Blackburn is far from his best and Rooney’s season is really only starting now. Football experts and fans always talk about Berba or Rooney just needing a goal to get them back to their best and sometimes even link that with a turnaround for the club. I think I don’t care if Rooney (or Berba) does not score again this season…if we win the Premier League! It is sometimes better to have the so-called fringe players i.e. Park as well as the rest of the team doing extremely well than having to rely on 1-2 players to deliver for the whole team. It is reassuring to know that we can have a few players who can pose a threat to opposing teams rather than one player everyone in the team has to pick out with a pass for something to happen. I have no doubts that Berba and Rooney will start getting some of their magic back soon, but so far this season, we have managed to remain in the race for honours and players such as Park, Nani, Rafael and particularly Anderson at the moment seem to be stepping up at the right time as United get ready to take on two main rivals for the title, Arsenal and Chelsea.
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I would consider Nani a fringe player, in fact I consider him one of our best players, if our squad was fully fit he’d be starting, as he is now.