Date: 8th March 2011 at 3:00am
Written by:

If there has been one thing that has been consistently clear this season it is that we have lacked the quality in central midfield to dominate games like we once did.

I believe it would be wrong to accuse United of lacking depth in the midfield, as I am sure Chelsea and others would be delighted to have the options of players like Fletcher, Anderson and to a lesser extent Carrick in their squads to give them a little more variety and options.  But the issue is the quality.

All too often this season the team has simply been overrun in midfield and bar twenty minutes it was the same again on Sunday.  Ignoring the fact that Fletcher didn’t start a game where you would expect him to at least add some energy and bite, it has become all too common a theme.

Whilst many have chosen to lay the blame on Gibson when we have performed badly this season, and I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with them (seeing as he is limited across his game), it should be noted it isn’t his fault he is getting picked.  It is also not as if the names mentioned above have become rubbish overnight, they are still quality footballers but they require a little stardust next to them (something Scholes can’t do with the regularity of old).

We now need to bring in at least one quality midfielder, preferably box to box and all action.  I know people called for Ozil in the summer and others will talk and talk about how we missed VDV, but as I have argued before I don’t believe they are the type of player we need.  Too attack minded and would require us to change formation, unless they fancied slotting in on the left or were only used in a five man midfield away from home.  But that is the past, they are gone.

There was one thing that has been overlooked is analysis of why there wasn’t any spending in the summer.  I for one think it may have had a fair bit to do with Hargreaves and Anderson.  Both men were coming back from long term injuries and I would guess that SAF did not want to demoralise either player with the purchase of an all action midfielder.  Little was he to know that Hargreaves would relapse and Ando would struggle again with injuries and fitness issues.  When considered in that light it makes sense, what didn’t was allowing Cleverly out on loan but that is another discussion.

Where it truly gets frustrating is in January when surely we could have picked up a midfielder to add bite and drive to the midfield, even if it was a stop gap loan.  After the last week it becomes clear how needed this is.  I think where January becomes complicated is with the performances of Pogba, Tuncliffe and Morrison in the reserves this year.  All highly thought of, all have been playing well, and all 17/18, and banging on the door to play.  But we know they won’t feature (much this season) however we can’t let them down by not giving them a chance, would new signings jeopardise this?

The press now have us down to buy Rodwell, Henderson, Ashley Young, and Modric.  I can’t see that happening, none of them really bring what we need to the team.  Surely a De Rossi (huge gamble) or a Defour (another gamble) are more suited?

This pic from @BeardedGenius sums it up for me:

All I do know is the last time I felt like this was in 2005/06 season when we were crying out for a new midfielder, except back then Chelsea were rather good and Arsenal had a little bottle.  This time we might still just sneak home with a winner’s medal.

That summer we bought Michael Carrick and despite some initial doubts by most fans we all know what the next few seasons brought, here’s hoping.


17 responses to “Who can provide the ‘X-Factor’ for Manchester United?”

  1. stephan says:

    Personally as everyone have said we need some change in the miefield players….but i don’t agree at the fact that we should buy all these players…perhaps javier pastore will fit in our game.But let be realistic..

    Manchester possess one of the best youth system in England…..

    Sir Alex should give the chance to :

    1 Paul Pogba :
    considered as the next Patrick Viera

    2 Tom Cleverley:
    considered as a mixture of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard

    3 Ravel Morisson:
    considered as a mixture of Roy Keane and Wayne Rooney

    4 Davide Petrucci :
    considered as the next Francesco Totti

    There are still other gifted players such as Macheda,Welbeck,Joshua King,Will Keane,Fournasier,Reece Brown….

    So why should we buy other players…the only 2 players we should buy is JAVIER PASTORE(21yrs) replacing Scholes , JUAN ITURBE(The next Leo Messi)replacing Giggs and Finally one of our rivals player PEPE REINA……thats all

  2. William says:

    Our midfield is pretty messed up.. But i dun recommend massive clearance with Heagraves (possibly), Carrick (new contract), Gibson (unlikely), so on and so forth with bringing in the likes of Henderson, Hazard, or whoever. This is because it will take a long time to understand if you bring too many new players, at least half of the season (up to December). Instead we should give a chance young players like Cleverley, Pogba and Morrison (perhaps). Anyway, we all would love to see another version of class of 92.

  3. fakrul chowdhury says:

    man united should buy , manuel neuer, subotic/showcross , pastore/ganso …. nuri shahin and mario goetze/ sanchez/gareth bale….

    and sell/release/retire vandersar, kusjack, rio ferdinand, evra, wes brown, john oshea, carrick, anderson, harzgreeves, scholes, bebe, obertan, owen, rooney,c. evans, mame birman diouf and de laet…

  4. nani4ever says:

    For some strange reason i take much pleasure in our last two losses, because it should show the manager that is blind faith he has in our mediocre midfield is proved wrong, i don’t necessarily think that we needed to buy, because we had the players who with a little game time would have solved our midfield problems but we let them go or didn’t sign them. In Adem Lialic and Magnus Eikrem we had two superb midfielders with wonderful technique and great composer but instead the manager let them go and said “we are strong in that area” while keeping gibson who has no technique no vision lack positioning and couldn’t retain the ball even if a kid is tackling him but now for sure the manager knows we either have to buy or promote our brilliant youngster for sure and get rid of the mediocrity. But i still desperately want us to get 19 but the needs to be a huge overhaul of the squad this summer

    players in transfers/promoted
    magnus eikrem
    ravel morrison
    paul pogba
    ryan tunnicliffe
    joshua king
    tom cleverly
    danny wellbeck
    nuri sahin/shinji kagawa
    stekelenburg/manuel neuer
    davide petrucci

    players out transfers/retired/loaned out
    machedea season long loan in the premiership
    obertan (loan out)
    vds (retried)
    carrick sold or part exchanged for rodwell
    neville (retired)
    scholes (retired)

  5. I cannot judge you should be athletic loincloths made of dingo skin, superior to we have been wanting to training session. When ever we realize that is nicely worth keeping fit, it’s going to be useful.

  6. Yetta Ran says:

    Lots of of the societies we live in at this time are depending on the majority’s decision, placing value, and the right to make decisions, on the consumers, and their options. Possibly in societies that do not function this way, the majority’s ways of thinking are shown in how they take action.