Where are the goals going to come from? Part 2
I can?t believe we?re at this again. In 2006, when Ruud left, the big question was ?where are the goals going to come from?? We got an answer didn?t we? That answer was everywhere.
Now Ronaldo has, ironically, moved on to the same place Ruud did. A direct comparison is pointless as this is a different team than the one Ruud left, but there are still a few similarities such as the promising youth players coming through the system.
This is probably the first time in recent memory that I can identify so many youth players who look like they could be first teamers in a few years. Unfortunately we need some ?here and now? goal scorers. When Ruud left, Ronaldo was already an established first team figure, as were many of the other players who stepped up. This time around, the younger players who have been on the fringes and look to make their breakthrough this season also have to step up. I do not envy them their task.
I?m going to point fingers now. Welbeck will make an impact this year if he listens to Sir Alex. I noticed in his performance against Hull City at the end of last season he looked excellent, except he didn?t know when to pass or shoot. If this improves he will be a contender for a starting place.
Now we have ?Kiko? Macheda. Someone is going to have to refresh my memory but I can?t remember the last time a player as young as seventeen had so much pressure on them. Oh wait yes I can ? Wayne Rooney. Macheda isn?t even half the player Rooney is today but hopefully with some development and time he?ll make a similar impact. He?s a bit slow, and his first touch is weak. During preseason he scored a goal that had many posters excited, but for me all I could see was that he dithered on the ball before the shot. In a competitive fixture this would not have gone unpunished. In short, he has a lot of raw ability, but has a lot to learn. I have hope, but next season will be more telling. This season will be another year of development and learning and the supporters will have to have patience, as will Kiko.
It?s time to have a look at Mr. Tosic. This signing confuses me. He looked excellent for Serbia?s U-21 team this summer. He had a few nice moves in preseason, notably against Valencia and a goal during the Asia tour. I still can?t figure how a 21 year old can be so light weight. In terms of his build, he looks similar to Ronaldo did when he arrived. To compete in the English Premier League, and in the Champions League you need to have some serious muscle to avoid being hounded off the ball easily. He needs to work on that before he has any chance of a starting place. Anyway, feel free to post your thoughts as I don?t know what to think. As I said above, it confuses me.
So those are the most promising youth players who, realistically, will participate in the attack. I know Fabio and Rafael will dash down the field and contribute but they are, at least on paper, defenders.
Our current ?senior? attack is looking half decent. Rooney seems ready to resume his normal service, hopefully with more goals. Owen stands ready in the wings and I?m sure he can perform at the highest level if his body cooperates. The player that I?m curious about, and that I?ll probably write a future blog post about, is Dimitar Berbatov.
Last season I was less than impressed with him. Last season was a constant battle between the Tevez supporters and Berbatov supporters. So I think it?s time for another prediction; Berbatov is going to be one of the players who steps up. Some here are pegging him for an immense season. I don?t think that will happen. I just think he will fill a part of the void. I wasn?t impressed with him during preseason but his performance during the Chelsea game had to have been his best in a United shirt. He clearly has the ability; all he needs is to increase his speed, slightly improve his finishing (he should have scored vs. Chelsea) and to maintain his desire for the entire match. I felt last season, at times, his desire to play flagged in comparison to Tevez. If he does improve then he will be one of the players who shoulders the burden created by Ronaldo?s departure.
I was just thinking that if you combine Berbatov?s footwork and touches with Valencia?s speed and power then you have a player in the Ronaldo mold. These two, properly combined, could be the right fit for the attack.
I feel for Owen. If Rooney-Berbatov-Valencia click then he will be a bit-part player this season (at least in big games). My instinct tells me that Berbatov will improve on everything but his desire, which will leave room for Owen to make an impact, as I doubt Sir Alex will allow a half hearted Berbatov to play in place of Owen who wants to get back in the England squad for the World Cup.
I haven?t even touched on the rest of the squad. I?m not going to as posters never read a wall of text so I?ll leave it at this. For the past two years we?ve had an out and out star in Ronaldo. We?re back to being a team that relies on every squad member for a contribution. I think if the rest of the squad stays the same or improves on their performances last season, and the above mentioned players make those improvements, then United will be in fine shape.
Bring on the season and bring on your thoughts.