The "We Don't Actually Need A Midfielder" Thread

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by KingEric7, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. Aug 20, 2010
    #81

    amolbhatia100 Barbiturates ain't got nothin' on me

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    Er, right.
  2. Aug 20, 2010
    #82

    ALX8725 reyalP maeT htuoY

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    Scholes and Giggs weren't so excellent in Rome or in the CL last year... just sayin'
  3. Aug 20, 2010
    #83

    KingEric7 Conspiracy enthusiast

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    It wasn't as strong as the year before, which damages the point you are trying to make. The team is built around our defensive strength.

    They'd be less happy drawing our set of wingers, defenders and forwards and all.
  4. Aug 20, 2010
    #84

    ludvik Full Member

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    Anyone that has been following Sir Alex Ferguson knows this current team is his oldest ever, and by a good margin too. For the first time ever under his rule do we have four players from the ages of 35+. The following statistics derives from "United Supporteren", which is a well-known supporter-magazine for the Scandinavian branch of the fanbase. The writer is Ole P. Pedersen, who is one of the founders of the club. He has also personally interviewed Sir Alex Ferguson (and many, many of the players over the years) on a number occasions, which I doubt many here have had the priveliege to do.

    7 different and relatively successfull seasons are represented: 1986-87, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1998-99, 2002-03, 2006-07 and 2009-10. Furthermore; 20 of the most-used United-players in the Premier League are represented in the different age-categories. To keep it simple and ignore different months of birth the ages of all players have been calculated from the end of the season in question. That means the average age on a given team somewhat higher than reality would have it, but in this comparison it matters nothing.

    1986-87
    Average age 26,3
    Amount of players in the ages 16-21: 1
    Amount of players in the ages 22-25: 6
    Amount of players in the ages 26-29: 8
    Amount of players in the ages 30-34: 5
    Amount of players in the ages 35-40: 0

    1992-93
    Average age 27,3
    Amount of players in the ages 16-21: 3
    Amount of players in the ages 22-25: 3
    Amount of players in the ages 26-29: 7
    Amount of players in the ages 30-34: 6
    Amount of players in the ages 35-40: 1

    1995-96
    Average age 25,9
    Amount of players in the ages 16-21: 5
    Amount of players in the ages 22-25: 7
    Amount of players in the ages 26-29: 1
    Amount of players in the ages 30-34: 6
    Amount of players in the ages 35-40: 1

    1998-99
    Average age 27,8
    Amount of players in the ages 16-21: 1
    Amount of players in the ages 22-25: 6
    Amount of players in the ages 26-29: 7
    Amount of players in the ages 30-34: 4
    Amount of players in the ages 35-40: 2

    2002-03
    Average age 27,4
    Amount of players in the ages 16-21: 1
    Amount of players in the ages 22-25: 4
    Amount of players in the ages 26-29: 10
    Amount of players in the ages 30-34: 4
    Amount of players in the ages 35-40: 1

    2006-07
    Average age 28,0
    Amount of players in the ages 16-21: 0
    Amount of players in the ages 22-25: 5
    Amount of players in the ages 26-29: 9
    Amount of players in the ages 30-34: 5
    Amount of players in the ages 35-40: 1

    2009-10
    Average age 28,8
    Amount of players in the ages 16-21: 1
    Amount of players in the ages 22-25: 5
    Amount of players in the ages 26-29: 8
    Amount of players in the ages 30-34: 2
    Amount of players in the ages 35-40: 4

    Sir Alex Ferguson has always been outspoken about Manchester United's youth-policy, and has maintained over the years about having the right balance in all of these age-categories. Individual differences apply, but normally one would expect players at their peek when they are from 26 to 29 years of age. Looking at the numbers we also see that, except from 1995-96, not many players from 16 to 21 actually get alot of first team matches during a season. I am not saying that this is wrong, the man clearly knows what he is doing, but the youth team of 92 may have lent to an idea that is far from true when it comes to most seasons. Based on the seasons above, the total amount of players represented in each age-category across the seven seasons are:

    Amount of players in the ages 16-21: 12
    Amount of players in the ages 22-25: 36
    Amount of players in the ages 26-29: 50
    Amount of players in the ages 30-34: 32
    Amount of players in the ages 35-40: 10

    This season we have four players past 35. Two of those play in the midfield. Granted: the veterans of today are special. Still, the team we have today is showing signs of age for sure. It is hard to see these players play more than one more season at this level of performance. You simply can't dodge bullets. We have alot of other players in the squad that also operate in the midfield, but no one can truly be said to be able to replace Paul Scholes. Michael Carrick? Get real. Carrick can make good passes on a good day, but you can stash three or four of him beside Paul and it still wouldn't measure. Anderson? He has the energy and nice technical skills to go with it, but he lacks Paul's knowledge of the game and furthermore hasn't the same flair for goals. What about Owen Hargreaves? Yes, you are right. Why should I even mention him? In any case, Hargreaves, if he wasn't injured, is more of a Roy Keane-clone than being able to replace Scholes. He can run all over the place, hamper the opposition's game, and tackle anyone anywhere. That means he can also start our attacks pretty well when we counter-attack. Brilliant passes or fantastic and cracking goals? No chance. Darren Fletcher? The way Fletcher has taken care of his game the last season means that we haven't actually much felt the void Hargreaves was supposed to fill. Actually I think Hargreaves would have found it hard to out-wrestle Fletcher now. That means that we don't miss Keane so much. Replacing Scholes is total different kettle of fish however. What about Ji-Sung Park? More or less the same story as written above: lot of energy, can abrupt opposition's play, etc. As it stands we have no one to step in for Paul Scholes, the closest being Anderson I reckon. The Carrick-dreamers on this forum should continue doing what they are so good at: dream on. What about Ryan Giggs? As it stands now he may be successfully replaced on the flanks. This process has been going on for many years already. We have Nani and Valencia now, and they most likely will give us plenty of candy for many years. The playmaker Giggs playing in the central of the midfield is another matter however. Scholes and Giggs fill this crucially important creative central midfield-spot for us. They take turns on doing it. Apart from them we don't have anyone at the moment who can pull that job of with the same amount of flair and sting. In whatever way you look at this team you have to realize it is getting old. And if you thought otherwise, yes we do need a new player who operates on world class level in the central of our midfield. Anything less would mean a step down in quality: Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are pure world-class performers. And then you get the notion: actually one such might not even be enough compared to what we have today.

    The good thing is that we have wealthy owners that put the club's interests on the top of...oh, wait.
  5. Aug 20, 2010
    #85

    Ringo 07 Full Member

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    The White Silvestre - Obertan might pull a few surprises and put in some big performances. You would think that Anderson too will be up for it this year and might just do a Nani and go from being a squad player to world class!
  6. Aug 21, 2010
    #86

    ALX8725 reyalP maeT htuoY

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    :rolleyes:
    seriously? it's great that you support United and everything... but it's also okay to admit when another team is drastically better.

    David Villa, Messi, Bojan, Pedro, Zlatan, and Dan Alves in attacking talent alone... with Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, and Keita in the midfield

    Rooney, B... actually I'm not even going to bother.

    If you actually think that our attack and defense would scare them... oh jeez.

    And say what you will about their defense as individuals, but as a unit they defend as one of the best.
  7. Aug 21, 2010
    #87

    Shimo Full Member

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    @ludvik - offcourse our average age has gone up. We've not had players leave the club from last season and we've added 3 youn players but, every one of the rest have become a year older, so obviously the average goes up.

    Not sure why it is missing the squad for 2010/11 but:

    16-21 - Amos, Twins, Macheda, Cleverly Smalling, Obertan, Da Laet
    22-25 - Anderson, Gibson, Nani, Valencia, Evans, Rooney, Chichartio, Da Laet
    26-29 - TK, Carrick, Evra, Vidic,Fletcher, O'Shea, Berbatov, Park (Hargreaves assuming was listed in stats)
    30-34 - Rio, Brown, Owen
    35-40 - VDS, Neville, Giggs, Scholes

    Making a claim of "oldest squad" based on an average age is a bit silly when looking at our squad we've got a large portion of our squad below 25. Maybe tomorrow I'll take the time and add them up but, am guessing the average for this season is actually lower than the 09/10 season.
  8. Aug 21, 2010
    #88

    ludvik Full Member

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    War doesn't decide who is right, only who is left.
    I am not saying you are wrong in your guessing, but you still would have to do your mathematics first. The main point is still not this, but the fact that 3-4 of our most essential players are past 35.
  9. Aug 21, 2010
    #89

    Rory 7 Full Member

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    There is another way to look at things...

    We have Fletcher who has been superb.
    We have Carrick who has been excellent at times but last year really was off colour & as a physical presence can leave a lot be desired.
    We have Scholes who is Scholes. Nuff said...
    We have Anderson who has buckets of potential.
    We have Gibson who also has lots of potential IMO.

    But our big investment in midfield over the last 3/4 years was HARGREAVES, who is clearly crocked....does his injury not make a case for investing in some top talent in central midfield.

    I think that is the point. Our big investment in central midfield hasn't worked out, due to injury.

    I think it is the one area we are lacking cover as at present we are relying on an aging Scholes, some young talent and combo of Fletch & Carrick to get us through.
  10. Aug 21, 2010
    #90

    7even Resident moaner, hypocrite and moron

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    Our first XI!

    Our only big concern next season is to replace VDS.

    A fit and matured Ando is the natural replacement for Scholes, not the same type of player but who is? Petrucci, Pogba and Morrison is also knocking on the door. But I have a sneaky feeling that Ginger (and Giggs) will play another season after this one. He stil is one of the best without doubt. Can we get 15-20 competitive games from him it's more than enough.

    I feel very confident with our age profile.
  11. Aug 21, 2010
    #91

    golden_blunder mijn naam is Golden Blunder en ik hou van team LVG

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    Good post Elvis, I agree

    There are no guarantees when you buy a new player

    I personally didnt think that we needed a new midfielder, i thought we needed to freshen up our attacking ideas. Im excited to see Hernandez in particular, who has the pace to keep up with Valencia!
  12. Aug 21, 2010
    #92

    Berlinknives Full Member

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    Catenaccio and Route one hybrid ...

    -----------Van der Sar------------
    ----------------------------------
    --Rafael-Ferdinand-Vidic-Evra------
    -Hargreaves/Fletcher--------Park---
    Valencia-----------------------Nani
    -------------Berbatov-------------
    --------------Rooney--------------
  13. Aug 21, 2010
    #93

    KingEric7 Conspiracy enthusiast

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    Well done on missing the point. I meant as opposed to that of Inter et al.

    And if you think Barcelona aren't scared of the likes of Rooney, Nani, Vidic, Evra and Ferdinand (if he's ever fit), then you're a bit of a mong really.

    There isn't a single team in the world that is drastically better than United, so there's no need for the patronising shite.
  14. Aug 21, 2010
    #94

    AttackingFlair Full Member

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    Have to disagree with you KingEric, explained why in the Scholes thread.
  15. Aug 21, 2010
    #95

    Brwned Have you ever been in love before?

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    Selective memory at it's finest!
  16. Aug 21, 2010
    #96

    evra Full Member

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    Just an example.
  17. Aug 21, 2010
    #97

    CnutOfAllCnuts Bald Boring Cnut

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    I am repeating myself; only a SMALL handful of midfielders would improve on what we already have at United, and none of those midfielders are gettable.
  18. Aug 21, 2010
    #98

    evra Full Member

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    The fact that Gibson could be starting a lot more games this season makes me doubt your assertion.
  19. Aug 21, 2010
    #99

    Brwned Have you ever been in love before?

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    An examples that hugely misrepresents the general trend, even in terms of against teams of that quality and upwards! Why would you put it out there when it's essentially an exception?

    Anyway...

    If Anderson doesn't step up this season we might need to look at our attacking options in the middle, because chances are we won't have at least one of Scholes/Giggs to pull one out of the bag by the start of the next season(although we've been saying this for a couple of years now). Cleverly will be a factor in that too. Even if Anderson doesn't show without any doubt that he's ready to step up this season, I think we might just put our faith in him anyway. We know he has the talent.

    I think Carrick and Fletcher are fine, neither need be worried about. Gibson and Cleverly are maybes but not players I think we should be relying on to step up, they'll just be potentially very big bonuses.

    Giggs and Scholes are fine for this season, in terms of quality and quantity of performances. Giggs was argubly our best player until December-ish, Scholes our best behind Rooney from February onwards. And they started 55 games combined last season, which is a very fair portion(especially considering Giggs missed 7 games with injury).
  20. Aug 21, 2010

    CnutOfAllCnuts Bald Boring Cnut

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    If Gibson starts more than 10 league games, I'd be extremely surprised.

    Unless there is an injury crisis.

    He's arguably 5th-6th choice, behind the likes of Fletcher, Scholes, Carrick, Anderson and Giggs.
  21. Aug 21, 2010

    evra Full Member

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  22. Aug 21, 2010

    evra Full Member

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    I expect us to continue with the three man midfield in the challenging games this season, therefore being fifth choice means it's quite likely Gibson will see a good deal of game time.
  23. Aug 21, 2010

    CnutOfAllCnuts Bald Boring Cnut

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    As I said, if he starts more than 10 league games, I'd be extremely surprised.

    If he does play a good number of games, it's either because there are lots of injuries or because he has earned it.
  24. Aug 21, 2010

    Brwned Have you ever been in love before?

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    Nope I'm saying that it was one of the few exceptions, let's take the top 8 games as examples - how many times were we outplayed in midfield that game aside?

    Once v Arsenal...that's it? Basically 2/14, which is what I would call the two exceptions. We had 68% possession against Villa, 66% against Everton, 60% against City...no mean feats.
  25. Aug 21, 2010

    ludvik Full Member

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    War doesn't decide who is right, only who is left.
    That is so true, given our financial situation. Our veterans Giggs and Scholes are world-class, and it takes world-class to replace them. Sir Alex can either buy world-class and hope it works with us (no guarantees). But, who needs alot more of debt? Certainly not us, hence the "no-value-in-the-market-lie". He can also buy a good player (or two), that is/are relative mature of age and cheaper, and hope we can make it grow in quality (Sir Alex is good at that). Ferguson can even buy really young players (terribly good at that too), but if he/they develop into what we hope they will it's still not helping out when it comes to replacing players that are passed the 35-mark. The time-frame is not right. Sir Alex can of course decide to not invest in the market for midfielders whatsoever, which so far is precisely what he is doing. That means no newcomers are supposed to fill any void whatsoever, as it stands now. That means he relies on our current squad to cope with the loss of of two world-class performers in the midfield. So the question is then: who of our other players can replace Giggs and Scholes in the central of our midfield (the flanks are hardly the issue anymore when Giggs is concerned)? Where is the world-class material in a central midfielder that we have that is not Giggs nor Scholes? Carrick? Anderson? Park? Somehow that doesn't sound very likely, does it? Don't say Fletcher or Hargreaves. It is an attacking world-class central midfielder we are talking about, no correction: two of those that we are talking about.

    You can shut your eyes, but the problem won't have gone away when you open them again in a season or two. The two fantastic veterans we borrow will be though.
  26. Aug 21, 2010

    Red Dreams Full Member

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    the financial situation has nothing to do with it.

    We are not willing to pay over the amount any player is worth.
  27. Aug 21, 2010

    ludvik Full Member

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    War doesn't decide who is right, only who is left.
    Edited. Read up.
  28. Aug 21, 2010

    Shimo Full Member

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    Add Gibson and Cleverly to that list. Those are the players he sees as being the replacement for Giggs/Scholes in an attacking CM role - ones that will get more into the box and provide support to our forward line.

    Carrick is more of a player to replace the Scholes of now who sits back in front of defense and controls the tempo and pace of the game. There isn't another player as good as Scholes but, there isn't another players as capable out there as Carrick either to do a similar job

    Anderson and Park both have the capability to be more like Giggs in central midfield that can carry the ball forward and dribble at the heart of defenders.

    Gibson/Cleverly are probably players he sees that can play the role of Scholes of old that can provide goals by getting forward.

    As has been pointed out repeatedly - the WC players out there aren't available that can come in and replace these guys. Perhaps Ozil was a player that could be called on for as scorer from CM when playing 3 but, wasn't a player that would be it all the time. But, the no money theory gets blown out of the water when it comes to him.

    Think we'll see a good improvement out of Anderson this season to at least put a little less worry for our midfield next season as well as Carrick. I've got faith that when they are playing to their levels - they are a match for any out there.
  29. Aug 21, 2010

    Wes Banned

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    we could do with a creative midfielder over the next 12 months, but bar maybe Sneijder, I don't see one on the market worth having
  30. Aug 21, 2010

    CnutOfAllCnuts Bald Boring Cnut

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    If the current players aren't good enough to replace Giggs and Scholes, Sir Alex will buy someone who might, when he needs to. Simple as that.
  31. Aug 21, 2010

    amolbhatia100 Barbiturates ain't got nothin' on me

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    We were set up all wrong against Barcelona. We didn't have the players to have a go at them. We tried, we got shat on by Iniesta. Not much Scholes can do at 36 when he barely ever gets the ball. And he's 36.
  32. Aug 22, 2010

    Forever Red Full Member

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    We could have had James Milner .... a snip at 30 million :D
  33. Aug 22, 2010

    ludvik Full Member

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    War doesn't decide who is right, only who is left.
    I never claimed you were intelligent, did I? Sorry if I gave you that impression.
  34. Aug 22, 2010

    CnutOfAllCnuts Bald Boring Cnut

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    Excellent....
  35. Aug 22, 2010

    Kelvin Banned

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    we were so easy to get by through the middle it was unreal today.
  36. Aug 22, 2010

    wr8_utd :'(

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    With a 2 man midfield of Fletcher and Scholes that was bound to happen
  37. Aug 22, 2010

    Carl has permanently erect nipples

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    Exactly. We don't need a new midfielder, the solution was sat on the bench.
  38. Sep 11, 2010

    evra Full Member

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    We need more energy and dynamism in central midfield, maybe Anderson can fill the void but he's turned out to be quite injury prone. At the moment we only have Fletch who can get box to box at any sort of rate.
  39. Sep 11, 2010

    Brwned Have you ever been in love before?

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    Do the best midfield in the world have any more dynamism than us? I'd say individually they probably have less.
  40. Sep 11, 2010

    girish I too love women...for their shoes.

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    Options.

    We don't have enough.

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