Those who know me and read this thing often enough know I’m a very upbeat fan, and things have to be going bloody awfully before I’ll really start laying in to the team. There has been talk of us not buying enough or buying the right players this summer. I look at Carrick now, who has slotted in to our midfield well, and his performance against Newcastle, just his sixth start for us, showed how much and quickly he is improving. It looked as though Scholes and Carrick had been playing together for years, and complimented each other so well. Both had the opportunities to go forward, and when these arose, the other would hold back. He works hard, finds space, and most importantly, thinks like a footballer should. He knows what he’s going to do with the ball before he even receives it, he can see where a player is going to make a run before they even move.
There’s been a lot of talk surrounding his transfer fee, which at the moment, stands at £14million. We all know you have to pay over the odds to buy English players, and thank goodness we support a team who are prepared to do that. If the fee does rise to the possible £18.6million, it’s because United have gone on to win a lot of trophies. Will the extra £4.6million feel like a rip off if Carrick’s presence in our team helps us go on to bring home silverware?
There were people after Fergie’s head when we saw Mascherano move to West Ham. “He would have been the perfect signing for us, what’s Ferguson thinking about?” I’m sure Sir Alex is kicking himself now upon watching the contribution the young Argentinean has made so far this season … Hmm.
On Sunday, we needed three points, but equally, we needed a good performance. After a blip against Arsenal and Reading, we needed to establish ourselves, and after Chelsea had been held to a draw at home, it was imperative we took advantage of this. Far too often we’ve seen United over years have opportunities to capitalise on our rival’s downfall, only to draw or lose. As we know, this wasn’t the case on Sunday. We started the game with no Saha or Giggs, and Heinze limped off after half an hour. Still, there was never any question who was going to leave with three points.
It’s still early days, and as excited as we want to be about topping the league, and as pleased as it makes us to see Liverpool all the way down in 10th place, we need to stay realistic and calm. However, there just seems to be something tugging away, inside me at least, over our prospects this season. Not because we have shown to be the best team after seven matches, but because of the sense of belief there seems to be on the pitch this season, and the quality of football they are playing. Ronaldo, for all the criticism, is having a storming season so far, and looks absolutely terrifying to play against. He still has areas to work on, and we’d all like to see him be a little less greedy at times, but several times against Newcastle he was sprinting back in to our half and actually winning back the ball for his team. This was practically unheard of from him last season. After hitting the woodwork three times, he certainly deserved to get his name on the score sheet, but seemed happy enough just to provide an easy tap in for Ole’s first.
Another area of worry was our strikers. Selling Ruud and buying no replacement? That seemed to be the question floating around. Torres was a name quoted by a lot of United fans, too many wanted him. Some people were even mentioning Defoe! Surely the obvious answer was that Ferguson intended Saha to be the replacement, after all, it was the favouring of Louis which contributed to Ruud’s departure. Louis netted seven goals in twelve league starts last year, and currently has five goals from seven starts this season, as well as currently being the highest scorer in the Champions League. And what do we do if Saha is injured? Play Ole. Now he has his first full 90 minutes under his belt, which gave him two goals, and the winning goal against Celtic in Europe.
Of course it’s not plain sailing from here, and of course there are going to be times in the season fans will grumble over Fergie not bringing in more players in the summer if things go sour for a while. Because the man already has worked so many miracles with our team and players, we expect him to do it all the time. We expect perfection, because over the years, that is what we became accustomed to. However, there’s not a lot to be grumbled about at the moment, and long may that continue!
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