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Scholes Out, What Now For Our Midfield?

United have topped the injury lists all season so far, with our returning casualties having their space on the sidelined filled by newly crocked players.

I thought we might have been pushing our luck a tad at the weekend when Scholes and Anderson started in the centre of midfield, alongside wingers Giggs and Nani. It was somewhat of a surprise to see Ronaldo left out, despite getting kicked from pillar to post away to Kazakhstan with Portugal, but now that might well have been a very important decision. Ronaldo’s freshness could prove vital in us getting a result tonight.

Paul Scholes has been ruled out of tonight’s match against Dynamo Kiev because of a problem with his knee. “Paul will miss tonight’s match,” Ferguson told MUTV earlier. “He got a knee injury in training last night and he will have a scan when we get him home. It is unfortunate, but these things happen and I am sure we have enough experience to cope.” This is the recurrence of the injury which saw Scholesy fly home from this summer’s pre-season tour.

His injury leaves us all with sorts of selection problems for tonight’s match. Both Fletcher and O’Shea are available to play after returning to the first team on the bench at the weekend, but are certainly some way off being match fit (and not to be harsh, but even when they are fit, I wouldn’t be pleased to see either of them starting for us on an away trip in the European Cup). Anderson is just finding his feet, and whilst having a promising game against Wigan at home a few weeks ago, starting him tonight would be throwing him in at the deep end, with no solid holding player to support him.

Owen Hargreaves has had sicknote after sicknote over the past year or so, and it is a shame that Carrick, who’s first XI place of last season will certainly be replace by the former Bayern man, is not around to plug the gap whilst we wait. Hargreaves is set to return to first team action first, in less than two weeks, whilst Carrick’s return date is likely to be four weeks away yet. These two injuries, compounded with Scholes, are pretty disastrous for us, not just in light of tonight’s game, but our forthcoming league games against Arsenal and Blackburn, and later CL game against Sporting Lisbon.

So what are our options?

1. Ronaldo and Nani on the wings, Giggs and O’Shea (/Fletcher) in the centre as part of a 442.
2. Ronaldo and Giggs on the wings, Anderson and O’Shea (/Fletcher) in the centre as part of a 442.
3. Giggs, O’Shea and Fletcher, behind Rooney, Tevez and Ronaldo as part of a 433.

I personally would go for option one, as within that we have the good European experience of Giggs, Scholes and Ronaldo, as well as the eagerness of Nani. I think it’s important to see Ronaldo and Nani on the field together as much as possible, and Portugal saw the benefits of that midweek when Nani assisted Ronaldo’s late winner.

So this could be a tough match, following a hard few weeks with international games taking their toll and Kiev desperately needing a win, but don’t fret, at least our tactics are a secret. Fergie made sure only the whole World knew we were planning to play on the counter *sigh*

Which line-up do you think United should go for tonight in the Ukraine? Talk about the game and catch the live chat box closer to kick off at the forum.

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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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15 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    Personally, I’d go with Fletcher in the middle. He’s got the energy and hustle for this kind of match. Would like to see Anderson involved at some stage, hopefully. It’s a shame Gibson got loaned out, because we could have done with him here.

  2. natho says:

    i would like to see anderson starting tonights game

  3. JM says:

    I think we should go with Giggs, Anderson middle with ronaldo and nani on the wings, very attacktive style will work well

  4. AnekinManU says:

    Anderson shud be a starter.
    Lets see has he really got what it takes.
    I believe he is special, always seems to have that extra time in his hands during play.

  5. John Kári says:

    I hope SAF will give Anderson a chance tonight. Im sure he is going to prove that he, has not been a wrong buy. Fletcher and Anderson in the midfield

  6. keaneO says:

    Anderson and giggs in the middle with ronaldo on the right and nani on the left who impressed against roma. good luck lads but just pass it to wayne ; )

  7. craig mc says:

    I don’t think it matters who plays, Rooney the ‘ towering inferno’ is on the field, and we all know he plays defender, midfielder and forward all in the same match. And superman No2 Tevez is right there with him. Blow ‘em away lads!!!!.

  8. Sharath Ciddu says:

    I would love to see the second formation with fletch and Anderson. I dont think that Anderson would be thrown into the deep. He has CL experience last year with Porto and has troubled Cesc and co with his running, robbing..

  9. Larry says:

    I would go with Pique and Anderson in central midfield, Giggs and Ronaldo on the wings and Tevez, Rooney up front with our current first choice defence and Edwin. Pique would a bit more robust than Fletch and his passing is also superior to John O’Shea

  10. christoffer says:

    I would like to see Fletcher and Anderson in the middle and Nani and Ronaldo on the wings.

  11. yip says:

    i really don’t care on the midfield most important thing is saf please don’t put o’shea in the team

  12. Dan says:

    well well, hope all you doubting thomas’s have shut up, o’shea and fletcher were pretty good considering they had no games in ages…

    man utd are a team, we all support the team as a whole, and the whole of the team performed amazingly this evening, well done boys, in that first half you could have beaten any team

  13. Yohannes says:

    It is really bad to see Schols out. I would say Anderson and Oshea/Flecher. I think Anderson can replace Schols very well. It will be an alarm for schols when Hargreves get fit!!!!!!!!

  14. Dave says:

    well well i think yesterday anderson proved his doubters wrong again. This boy is really something! he can tackle, pass, dribble and cross. Only his shooting remains to be seen. I think we need to see the injuries in a positive manner. When the current first teamers are gonn aget tired, those returning from injury will be fresh to take over, thus ensuring minimum disruption!

  15. big ati says:

    not quite there sell him

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