Giggs In The Middle, Zaha On The Right & More I Want To See From Man United vs. Stoke
Evans and Jones at the back
Given David Moyes’ previous emphasis on defensive solidity, his new United side have kept just two clean sheets in eleven premier league outings this season. The early season partnership between two of the Premier League’s finest ever defenders: Messrs Vidic and Ferdinand, has looked about as solid as Wayne Rooney’s midriff, and with Evans and Jones impressing during their midweek run-out against Real Sociedad, Moyes should be looking to nurture and develop his new found centre-back pairing. Ferdinand and Vidic have undoubtedly been two of United’s finest ever defensive servants, but with Rio looking uncharacteristically off the pace so far this campaign and with Vidic still battling Ledley King-itis, it may well be time for a changing of the guard, and a lengthy first team run for two of Britain’s most promising centre backs.
Ryan getting the gig
In recent years, seeing the number eleven on the pre-game team sheet has been a source of despair for Red Devils fans, and that was again the case mid-week when David Moyes selected player/coach Ryan Giggs as a starting midfielder alongside Michael Carrick. But the veteran winger surprised all of his recent critics, including myself, by producing a fine performance in the centre of midfield. The Welshman, who astoundingly turns 40 next month, played 93 minutes and controlled a midfield that has in many games been dominated by opponents this season. With the £27m Fellaini looking alarmingly average in his game time so far and with Tom Cleverley still not looking anything more than a squad player, a revitalised Giggs should be given another chance to show that his midweek display was not a one-off.
90 minutes of Shinji Kagawa
Based on little more than the midweek game against Sociedad (mainly because that’s about as much time as the Japanese playmaker has had on the pitch this season), Shinji Kagawa proved that despite his recent run of games on the bench, he still remains one of the more important and influential players in the squad. Epitomised by his outrageous turn and pass to Wayne Rooney in the second half, the number 10 was close to being at his best, despite being slightly wasteful in front of goal, but that will surely improve as he gets more time on the pitch. Kagawa offers something different to Rooney or Van Persie; he is capable of producing a moment of magic when surrounded by players, and with United finding themselves being pressed harder by opposition than ever before, the Japanese international could be crucial to turning his sides fortunes around.
Zaha on the right
United’s flanks are a source of concern, and have been for some time. So when Ferguson brought in the Championship’s brightest young talent, Wilfried Zaha, to the club fans were expecting an immediate impact from the England youngster at the start of the 13/14 campaign. But other than a thrilling preseason tour and a run-out in the community shield win, Zaha has been forced to sit on the bench and watch the likes of Nani, Young, and Valencia get chance after chance to produce something at least adequate. But with the Portuguese continuing to frustrate, Valencia still working towards his best, although still being a long way from it, and with Young spending most of the 90 minutes flying through the air like Wayne Sleep on a trampoline, it must surely be time for Moyes to take a punt on the former Palace starlet. The manager is not much of a gambler, as has been proved in his matches so far this season, but with the league campaign still stuttering like Del Boy’s Reliant Robin, it is surely time for Moyes to give the fans something to smile about. It worked with the relatively untested and unknown Adnan Januzaj who has been a revelation, and it can’t do much harm to try his luck with a player who many have tipped to reign supreme in the premier league for years to come. Give us Wilf!
More Man United...