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Is Rio Vital To Our CL and League Success?

Rio FerdinandThe disappointing result against Middlesbrough was soon put to the back of our minds when news broke that Rio Ferdinand returned to the team bus with his foot in a protective case. In the age where metatarsal breaks are the new craze, the thought that Ferdinand could have broken his foot was pretty unbearable. Already missing Vidic and seeing what costly effect that had to our defence, the last thing we needed was for Rio, who has been our player of the season after Ronaldo, to miss the rest of the campaign.

Scans revealed that nothing was broken the following day, much to our relief, but there was still no word on whether he would be fit for Roma, and more importantly, Arsenal. A back four of Hargreaves – Brown – Pique – Evra was surely our best bet, after John O’Shea looked massively out of his depth and out of place at the Riverside, but that wasn’t set to instil fear in our opponent’s strike force. Whilst our attacking players have stolen much of the limelight this season, our defence have been the foundation of our success in both the league and Europe, and the prospect of a makeshift defence for crucial games was certainly worrying.

However, it has been announced today that Rio could feature in tomorrow’s match against Roma. How crucial is this to United?

“I’m hoping he will be playing tomorrow,” Ferguson at a press conference earlier today. “His scan was clear, which was good news. That’s the most important thing and therefore we hope we can get him fit for tomorrow.”

The Roma game wasn’t the greatest concern anyway, after recording a 2-0 victory away from home, our lads should be comfortable enough tomorrow. If Ferdinand is a risk, I’d much rather see him left out of the squad so that he can be fully recovered for the Arsenal match, which is far more important. After drawing at the Emirates and witnessing Arsenal’s poor current form (DDWLDDWDDDL), United are certainly favourites for the game. However, if we were to play without both Ferdinand and Vidic, we could struggle. Fortunately now that doesn’t appear to be what will happen.

United have long stood by the mentality that “no one player is bigger than the club” after selling on massively important players in the past for the sake of the club, and those decisions have been vindicated by further success. I don’t think that stance is in jeopardy now, but Ferdinand’s impact on our team is immense. He has played like a machine this season, easily the best form he has enjoyed at the club, and with contract talks under way, it appears as though United will offer stupid money to keep him at the club for life.

Long term injuries to Scholes and Rooney had the potential to rock United’s boat, but the team ploughed on. Would we be able to do the same without Rio? It begs the question, just how crucial is Rio Ferdinand to United’s success this season?

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Zae says:

    Yes, he is. Next question?

  2. Kunal says:

    he is the most important player for us along side VDS right now. His position sense is second to none and I dont think Vidic can alone handle the defense at this stage and quality. It is absolutely necessary tht Rio plays against Arsen, rent boys and CL semis and probably Final.

  3. Stephen says:

    He is a top player and has been truly inspirational this season. But he does owe us a great season it still niggles me that he asked for a pay raise after being banned for 8 months and also that chance meeting with Kenyon in a London hotel.

    But I suppose we must move on but I do think we missed Vida on Sunday more, Borough were winning a lot of balls in the air which I think he would have won

  4. Red Ranter says:

    how crucial is Rio Ferdinand to United’s success this season?


  5. The Artful Lounger says:

    Very crucial. For this season and the next few years, till at least eeither Pique or Evans comss of age as players. Preferably both.

  6. Sam says:

    He is crucial anyway, and his importance is elevated by Vidic being out too, naturally.

    I agree with you, though, and hope he is rested tomorrow- or just put on the bench though.

    On a slightly different point I would disagree slightly with your defensive line up- I know exactly where you’re coming from, but I feel Hargreaves is vitally important just in front of the back two considering they are Brown and Pique. Therefore I would, reluctantly, put JOS there- unless of course Neville’s fit. He’s coming back at just the right time, eh! I wouldn’t trust Silvestre though…especially not when the matches are so tight and so important.

  7. Anant says:

    rio without vida is an incomplete defence…and vida without rio is even worse . together they make the best defensive pairing in europe combining rio’s pace , character and composure and vida’s strength , heading ability and concentration

  8. Tom F says:

    He has been one of our most consistant players this season and along with Vida has a lot to say about the destination of the league title. If you look back at the performances we’ve put in without those two at the centre of our defence we have looked shakey to say the least. Saying that Wesley Brown and Gerrard Pique should be good enough to fill in for us at the back, as long as Evra and Hargreaves are the full backs they will be able to provide convincing cover.

    It is a mental understanding as well as pure desire and ability that makes Manchester United the best defending team in the league this season, I hope there is enough work going on behind the scenes to ensure other players can come into the team with efficiency and subtlety.

    We saw what can happen to Arsenal and Chelsea when they have decent defenders missing. Teams like us who have an even stronger emphesis on attack do need a solid base and I am confident we’ll be ok. Roma tonight is the start of the season in terms of big things, we saw what they can do last week. They attacked and caused us numerous problems with only a lack of precision in their finishing that got us off the hook. Boro on the other hand attacked and Alves took his chances.

    I am glad that park has come into the squad now, he provides passion and under rated ability as well as Champions League experience that not many seem to notice.

    Exciting times ahead.

  9. UnitedBlogger says:

    He may have forgotten to piss in the bottle but he is the first name of Fergie’s team sheet. Nuff said.

  10. nittin says:

    i don’t understand why SCOTT still can’t accept rio is important, i know you aint a great fan of his.. trust me he’s exceptional these days,check the roma game for instance, he is as important as nyone in the team, like how some on else told before me, first name in fergie’s team list

  11. Stephen says:

    Rio first name on Fergie’s team sheet? ahead of Ronaldo, Rooney not sure about that. But he is really important to us but as has been Vida, Evra and Brown to a degree. This is the best defensive we have had since Pallister, Bruce, Irwin and Parker.

  12. Tom F says:

    I’d say Wes Brown is the first name on the team sheet. I base that on the fact that he has played and started more games than any other player this season!

  13. Siddharth says:

    I have always loved rio!

    He is the most talented defender in the planet.

  14. suhayl says:

    vital vital vital


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