I realise that Michael Carrick isn’t everybody’s cup of tea.
The Manchester United midfielder has been the target of a fair amount of flak this season, from both his own fans and neutral observers. He arrived at Old Trafford from Spurs with a huge price tag (£18.6m) and an even bigger point to prove. He may have impressed in Tottenham colours, but could he do the job at arguably the biggest club in the country? The fact that he was handed Roy Keane’s number 16 shirt was even more of a sign of the trust placed within the midfielder.
Has Michael Carrick rewarded that trust? On some occasions: yes. On other occasions he’s looked lost, incapable or just plain sloppy.
This week, however, when United took on Chelseain the Champions League, Carrick put in an astonishingly good performance. He was my MOTM. He helped Manchester United get creative in the first-half, controlling the flow of the game through the midfield and changed his game in the second-half as Chelsea started to assert their dominance by adopting a more defensive style.
In the first half, where Manchester United were working with a 4-4-2 formation and attempting to shock Chelsea, Carrick was absolutely fantastic. He picked out passes, found runners, got in the faces of Chelsea players and was, for a little while the best player on the pitch. The second-half saw a more defensive performance from Carrick, as Chelsea turned the screw, but he handled the responsibilities just as ably.
He was given responsibility and he excelled. Why is it then we don’t see this Carrick week-in, week-out in the Premier League?
Far too often Carrick is the purveyor of lifeless, passive performances. If his passing game is off, he often has very little to offer. He doesn’t snap into tackles in the same way Scholes does. He doesn’t bomb forward in the same fashion as Anderson.
Performances such as the one Carrick served up against Chelsea should make fans pause to think. Why is it that he’s not doing this every week? What is it about the way Manchester United is set-up that doesn’t allow him to play his best football? In many ways I think Carrick has been set-up as something of a scapegoat for United’s failings over the last couple of seasons.
I would suggest that Carrick is at his best when he’s at the centre of an attacking, free-flowing team performance. He’s not the kind of player that likes to get stuck in, but if his side are already dominating, if the strikers are making good runs, he can pull the strings and make things happen. It strikes me that the way United are set-up, the way they approach every game, fails to do any favours to Michael Carrick – who is expected to scrap it out in the centre of midfield.
Whilst the more combative Scholes was expected both to do this and to provide the passes that start off the United attacks, Carrick simply isn’t good enough to offer both. As such, it’s not Carrick’s fault – he’s been handed a role that he’s not accustomed to, that he doesn’t have the stones to pull off. On his day he’s an excellent player, as we saw, but in the midst of this United set-up over the course of a season, he will get found out.
Read more of Harry’s articles at the excellent This Is Futbol
tbh i think he never recovered from the champions league final, cos since then personally i have never trusted him in our midfield and great performances since then have been a rarity.
however as you say he put in a good display with some very good passes on wednesday night, so hopefully he can follow that up, also he signed a new deal so saf must still have faith.
I really like Carrick, and always have stuck by him. Part of why he’s suffered, I believe, is down to the abuse he’s given by our own fans. At games, I’m always amazed by what’s hurled at Carrick. He’s a player that needs confidence. He is capable of playing balls (like we saw against Chelsea) that not many can pull off, but he’s seems to have become reluctant to try it and just plays the simple pass much more often nowadays. At Spurs, he would ping the ball 40yards to switch the play left to right, or from a defensive position to start an attack. He needs to get back doing that, and people need to give him a break
totally agree with u
carrick when 1st arrived at manchester were the same carrick at spurs
i have always like the ways he casually pick a defense splitting pass but as season goes, he have lost the spark
however, performance on wednesday was by far the best he put for the last two season
we need him to put that kind of performance for 5 more league game, 4 champion league game and 2 fa cup game and the treble is ours
glory glory manchester united
michael carrick is a really flop for man utd. i hate him and i want leave the club immediately.
I don’t think he is as bad as made out, has had some shockers but has been quietly getting on with his job.
I think any dip in form is more down to a change of role if anything. Still struggles under pressure and with the more mobile midfielders but that isn’t something that happened after Rome rather it has always been a failing of his.
Good to see him put in such a solid shift and hopefully he can build off it
Firstly this isn’t the Michael Carrick ManU and the fans wanted. As seen, it’s been near impossible to replace Keane and Scholes, how many midfielders have been bought or repositioned to fill those great boots?
People talk of the likes of Anderson, Parker from west ham, Fletcher, Gibson, Hargreaves, Alan Smith, Rodwell etc. The problem is can they do any better than Carrick? Yes he is annoying with his continued 3 yard pass sideways. He has shown he has the skill for more, but doesn’t attempt it. Has SAF told him to keep it simple and just protect the defence? We do expect more from him and he has signed a new contract, so he is committing himself to play how ManU wants him to, either expressing himself or defending or both! I know what I would want to see.
MC the only main signing utd did to reclaim the title from jose M. in 2007 a player that kept on… man7- 1 roma… what a fantastic carrick!!! when players like gari cause u to lose remember his crosses,when owen harg. causes it rem. man vs asn his free kick… M.owen against man city… berba control hat trick vs liverpool…. rooney against west ham if he suddenly demands for another contract….lol so that’s how to be a good fan moreover a united fan my blood is red and that can’t change THE SKY MIGHT BE BLUE NOW BUT IT’S DEFINITELY GOING TO BLACK….. UNITED FOR LIFE
MC the only main signing utd did to reclaim the title from jose M. in 2007 a player that kept on… man7- 1 roma… what a fantastic carrick!!! when players like gari cause u to lose remember his crosses,when owen harg. causes it rem. man vs asn his free kick… M.owen against man city… berba control hat trick vs liverpool…. rooney against west ham if he suddenly demands for another contract….lol so that’s how to be a good fan moreover a united fan my blood is red and that can’t change THE SKY MIGHT BE BLUE NOW BUT IT’S DEFINITELY GOING TO BLACK….. UNITED FOR LIFE… what say you