‘Wembley Here We Come’ 5 Things We Learned – Schalke v United

3. Rolls Royce Rio & Pedestrian Patrice

How does he do it? He rarely plays in first team training games, let alone feature for United in the premiership and yet he’s capable of just walking into the most high profile matches and keep a clean sheet with the minimum of fuss. Natural talent, pure and simple… sheer unadulterated class, a player that regardless if fully fit would walk into any backline in the world, Club or National. Much fanfare has been associated with his Twitter feed and whilst he’s capable of quite humourous soundbites by footballer standards, its good to know that he can still more than deliver on the football pitch and I for one will miss him greatly if he was ever to cut his career short due to injury.

Now from a case of underplaying and performing brilliantly, to a player who has been overplayed and is performing awfully by his very high standards. Its got to the stage where I just don’t trust him at the back anymore, he tracks back in a meandering fashion and his precision in the tackle, well.. there isn’t any, not at the moment anyway. Apart from his still very crucial ability to carry the ball at left back under pressure and provide a passing option on the overlap, he is contributing very little to the United cause and it is sad to see. Hopefully he recharges his batteries this summer and returns to his best, but one things for sure.. we can’t afford defensive lapses against the likes of Madrid or Barcelona.

4. The Valencia v Nani Debate…

How brilliant has it been to be subjected to two very different types of wingplay, but both equally mesmerising in their distinct ways. The only problem for me has been the fact that it doesn’t really work for them both at the same time.. they both work best on the right and with Park doing the left wing shift.

Its a dilemma only because it is very hard to leave either of them out and the one who particularly suffers is Nani because he is seen as the more versatile player and the one more subject to being shifted around. His best position is for me.. on the right, where he is most unpredictable for opposition full backs, he can whip a cross in or come in and strike off his potent left, he’s also more likely to pass on that flank.. whereas on the left, he is unable to cross as effectively with his left foot and he is more prone to coming off the flank and striking with his right, his general passing game suffers as a result.

5. Opposition MOTM: Manuel Neuer

As Fergie put it “Best goalkeeping performance against us I’ve ever witnessed” and boy was he right. It was a one man army keeping us at bay tonight, such was the one sided dominance that United had.. 4-0 by half time wouldn’t have flattered us and yet we went in at 0-0. All down to the German in goal… Germany’s answer to Peter Schemiechel.

He’s been reknowned for producing these ’ ‘Thou Shalt Not Pass’ sort of performances, and they’re usually a brilliant collection of long range spectaculars followed by a series of One v One Star Jumps and fantastic distribution from his hands. He also seems quite strong on collecting crosses and is very quick to come off his line, the only slight question mark I’d have on him is his feet.. is he as good at kicking and passing as say Van Der Sar. Everything else though.. very impressive, strong mentally and good presence too.


Overall a fantastic performance, brought about partly by our own brilliance and also just the poor quality of opponent. There are still bigger tests to come, both domestically and in Europe.. we can’t afford to take our eyes of the ball, but there is a feeling of momentum behind us, instead of worrying we need to seize the moment!

Good to have Raees casting his eye over and then offering his opinion on our games again, if you want to read more of his opinions follow him on Twitter

7 responses to “‘Wembley Here We Come’ 5 Things We Learned – Schalke v United”

  1. Mannings says:

    “In fact the manager who first had the foresight to re-deploy Rooney in his favoured role was Fabio Capello”

    Are you forgetting Fergie played Rooney in the hole in his first season, with Van Nistelrooy up front? Then in the 06/07 season he played Rooney in the hole with Saha up front.

    • Redrae7 says:

      ‘re-deploy’.. it means return someone back to a particular position. Of course Fergie played Rooney in the hole, so did Sven as well.. but for a while under Fergie, Wayne had not been employed in the hole especially in big games.

      Capello was the manager who decided that to get the best out of Rooney, he had to return to the position in which he made his name and Fergie has now followed suit but superceded anything Fabio could muster by bringing in the perfect partner.. Javier Hernandez!

  2. Red Ben says:

    The massive mistake Schalke made in this game was, quite apart from letting Carrick and Rooney play, giving Tony Valencia so much time and space.


    I have never seen Valencia recieve the ball so often with so little marking. His width created space for everyone else.

  3. jonathan says:

    Thanks again Rae for the great analysis. Either you’re always right, or at the very least convincing because I can’t seem to disagree with any of your points.
    Barring injury, this is most likely our starting XI on May 28, and they are very capable of doing it!

  4. Mannings says:

    Sorry I did mis-read there!
    However, I’m not sure if Fergie just followed suit because Capello did. I think the reason why Rooney wasn’t in his favoured position in 08/09 and 09/10 was due to the fact we played a 4-5-1 formation in the big games. Now that we’re going back to 4-4-2 we can play Rooney in his favoured position. I’m sure Fergie has always known Rooney plays best in the hole, but the team of the last 2 seasons has played better in a 4-5-1 shape.

  5. Ryan says:

    who could believe the best player (for me) in the league Nani, and the epl’s leading scorer Berba, might start on the bench and we play like that. Amazing. I do wish SAF could figure a way to get Nani in there, but dont mess with something that works i suppose.. He would be massive to counter vs barca me thinks… (if knock on wood we get to the final)