‘Return Of The Baby-Faced Assassin’ 5 Things I Noticed – Wigan v United

4. We’ll Miss You Edwin He kept us in the game today with two quality one v one stops and a reassuring leap to prevent a long range effort from Figueroa. Whilst this has not been a vintage season thus far for Van Der Sar, its always near the business end of the season that his class comes to the fore.

We generally take his steadiness for granted, spoilt by his fantastic consistency. He makes it look so effortless that some of us forget what a talented shot-stopper he is to go with his fantastic ability on the ball and aerial composure on crosses.  I don’t know how much his replacement is going to cost but I’m not worried about that, I’m more worried about whether the new keeper we bring in is worth of lacing the Dutchman’s boots.

5. Opposition One2Watch: James McCarthy

McCarthy Match Statistics:  (34/39 Successful Passes, 4 Interceptions, 3 Tackles, 1 Clearance)

After an impressive start to the 2010-11 season, he picked up a serious ankle injury against Bolton Wanderers on 23 October 2010, keeping him out of action for three months. He scored on his return to the line up against Aston Villa on 25 January 2011 and today he demonstrated once again why he is one of the upcoming young midfielders to keep an eye on in the Premier League this season.

I’ve kept a keen eye on him and one game in particular which caught my eye was Wigan v Chelsea, a game in which they were unfortunate to get thrashed in and an encounter in which McCarthy was more than holding his own and at times looking a class above players from both midfields. He is technically very sound, no real weaknesses and in comparison to Jordan Henderson a very similar player, he has a touch more flair and is more likely to take players on rather than play the simple pass, an attribute we would very much like to see in our own midfield.

His best position for me would be as the attacking midfielder in a midfield trio and I see him developing his goalscoring further, a 10 goal a season player who can rack up a great number of assists as well as being relied on to ‘run’ games. At what level he could do this remains to be seen but I do think he is too good to be at a club like Wigan, likewise Rodallega and N’Zogbia.


Barclays Premier League – Match Facts Score: 0-4 Venue: DW Stadium Date: Saturday 26th February Kick-off: 1500 GMT

Man Utd (4-3-3): Van Der Sar, O’Shea, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Scholes, Fletcher, Carrick, Rooney, Hernandez. Subs: Berbatov (76th min), Gibson (77th min) Fabio (85th min).

Wigan Athletic: Al Habsi, Gohouri, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa, Moses, McCarthy, Watson, N’Zogbia, Diame, Rodallega Subs: Di Santo (64th min), McArthur (89th min), Gomez  (89th min)

Referee: Clattenburg

Written By Raees Mahmood ( Follow me @ www.twitter.com/redrae7 )

4 responses to “‘Return Of The Baby-Faced Assassin’ 5 Things I Noticed – Wigan v United”

  1. Ryan says:

    enjoyable article. Totally agree on VDS. he is so steady, was massive today. Will really miss how confident he is on the ball.. Interesting point on the Nani/rooney relationship, something to monitor for sure. The thing now that is obvious to me is that Nani is now our most important player going into the future (Vidic a very close second). He has the creative talent that he could be a top 3 player in the world. A player who can always get by the opposition is so important, and just like Ronaldo, he will learn as he goes on as to when to distribute the ball. He was too selfish today, but with a player like Nani, you have to be willing to take some of the bad with the great. Just look at the development weve seen since his breakout (the arsenal away match last year to me,,). I still need therapy to explain to me why Nani didnt start last year at home match vs Chelsea.. With no rooney, we needed Nani to start.. the key fuck up last season i keep thinking about. To me that proved that nani is the key man in the side. We need his superior talent in the side to win more than anyone. Lets go Reds!

  2. Rohit says:

    Wayne was completely stupid in the elbow incident..I mean wtf was he thinking, not even 10 min on the clock and with massive away games looming..For most periods of the games he looked frustrated and irritating to be honest..None of his one touch passing came off and his first touch was generally piss poor..No wonder saf was completely pissed and gave him a right bollocking..
    Nani for all the stick he gets is probably the only player on our team who can produce moments of absolute magic, both in terms of goals and his final crosses..His productivity has gone up ten fold and though he’s not the most consistent with his end product,what he does usually ends up as gold..He clearly deserved a goal yesterday, the one that hit the post was as close as they come..I for one have no complaints on him taking the most shots..Its not as if providing wayne has a better end product..
    The central defense was again pretty unbeatable..Vida was too good, but along with him smalling again looked business..Won everything in the air and generally looked untroubled in possession..Totally agree everything on chico, another ole on the rise..Gibson with a fine pass to berba who in turn was absolutely unselfish in providing wayne one on the plate..Fabio with a fine goal to cap..All in all a very satisfactory result..

  3. Redrae7 says:

    Agreed with both posts, a good win all in all and it was an entertaining game if a little helter skelter, but I’d rather experience a typical United game like that rather than nick a boring 1-0.

  4. jonathan says:

    I don’t know if we need to worry seeing Hernandez in the preferred starting 11. As with many similarities he shares with Ole, if he remains a viable alternate and/or super-sub, than that may be just as valuable.
    I’d agree about the parts of his game to be improved apart from building strength. Muscle is weight and it’s unlikely he can keep the same pace if he gains a few pounds. So many of his goals have been scored when he was only a split second ahead of the his defender. Even a marginal affect on his speed may have a greater detrimental effect than initially thought.

    I agree regarding Nani. In a perfect world he’d know when it would be better to pass than try something on his own. But I can live with a few shakes of the head if it means we have such a gifted player going at full confidence. Tactially, the fact that he has less tendency to pass makes him more difficult to defend as he is that much more unpredictable. You can literally see the uncertainly and even fear from his defenders’ because they have no idea what he’ll do.
    Even if he keeps up his goal/assist ratio, I’m not sure he’ll win the PFA POTY – though he deserves it. Culturally in the EPL, it seems there’s a lot of people who view what he does simply as showboating regardless of whether it’s true or not. It will take an absolutely exceptional year, similarily to Ronaldo’s last couple seasons where the proof is too irrefutable.