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.