Whose Time Could be up at Old Trafford?

Manchester United currently sit top of the Premiership with 79 points, five points in front of 2nd place Manchester City and hadn’t conceded a goal in five Premier League games before Wigan beat them on Wednesday night, but is someone’s time at United near to an end?

Sir Alex Ferguson publicly made it clear that Rio Ferdinand would not be one of the first defenders on the team sheet unless he changed his approach and method of playing the game a few months ago, but now the experienced defender has formed a solid partnership with Johnny Evans at the back, saving United on a few occasions with some last ditch defending.

Players like Michael Carrick and Jonny Evans had people questioning their abilities earlier in the season with a slow start to the campaign but both have now found their form again which has seen them cement their places in the team. The return of the midfield maestro Paul Scholes from retirement has seen the centre of the park calm down when on the ball which has improved their chances of grabbing the title.

Patrice Evra on the other hand hasn’t been able to show the defensive qualities that had the media mentioning his name alongside some of the best left backs in the world. Now, even though the Frenchman has gained the responsibility of leading his team out in front of the Old Trafford faithful in the place of injured Nemanja Vidic, has been the weak link for his side.

Attacking is still one of his strongest areas in his game as he likes to get forward and overlap whoever is playing down the left side, wither its Ashley Young, Nani or Ryan Giggs. He always makes an option for his team out wide which is a tradition of what great United full backs do, a great example is Dennis Irwin and Gary Neville in the late 1990s.

The passion is still there, especially when he comes up against Luis Suarez and Liverpool, which explains why he currently wears the captain’s armband but without it would he have been dropped by now?

His lack of defensive positioning has shown up several times in this particular season by quick and skilful wingers of the Premier League and in Europe. He commits himself to easily into tackles which puts his team in real trouble down that left hand side because wingers just knock it past him and put a dangerous ball into the box.

Another quality he lacks from a few ago is his interception skills and his ability to read the game, something that was once exceptional in the French man’s game. He gets himself in some bad situation where he’s found himself in no man’s land and people have just played the ball around him.

If Sir Alex had another experienced left back that has played at the top level for a few years consistently in his set up then Evra could have seen himself placed onto the bench but luckily for him they do not. Which imposes the question -has he gone past his best?

Maybe the competition of a stronger back up left back will get the best out of him, because as they say competition brings the best out of everyone. Currently Fabio takes that back-up role but he is considered to be a left back for the future, full with energy and skill going up and down the flanks but can make the wrong decisions when it comes to tackles.

His recent performances have seen him recover some decent form and the Old Trafford faithful will hope he can continue that until the rest of the season and come back stronger next season , hopefully with a successful Euro 2012 campaign behind him.


2 thoughts on “Whose Time Could be up at Old Trafford?

  1. As Jordan has highlighted, Patrice Evra has certainly been exposed this season with his form looking suspect even before the firestorm that occurred in the aftermath of his clash with Luis Suarez took its toll. I think given that the Da Silva twins have not developed their footballing intelligence as quickly as anticipated (not helped by their respective injury problems) it is quite likely that one area United will look to strengthen in the summer will be in the full back positions, even if Evra is not immediately moved on.

    The other area that United will surely be making reinforcements in will be the centre of midfield. The Wigan match last night showed dependent United remain on the creativity and the decisiveness of Paul Scholes, which cannot be healthy considering Scholes is 37 years old, cannot play two full games in a week and was recalled to the squad seven months after announcing his retirement. Considering that there must be serious question marks over Darren Fletcher’s future given how his illness has curtailed his season and that Anderson has once again flattered to deceive this season after a promising start, again not helped by injuries, there remains a pressing need to bring in at least one midfielder. Ultimately Tom Cleverley could be the player to fulfil the ‘Scholes role’ within the team, but the amount of time he has spent on the sidelines this campaign is already a concern.

    As well as Berbatov and Kuzcsczak who are pretty certain to leave at the end of the season, I can see Park-Ji-Sung and Anderson being allowed to move if the right deal can be found and if reinforcements are made. Patrice Evra might get another season to prove this season wasn’t just a blip. The player I’d be concerned about losing against our will is Nani. He has not been able to nail down a regular place this season owing to the form of Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young and with Nani now hitting his peak years, he is going to be dissatisfied if he is not playing every week.

  2. I actually remember writing about Evra a while back. No doubt, he has been atrocious. His defending’s been poor, he hasn’t contributed to the attack like he once used to and FFS why can’t he tackle anyone without falling over himself?

    Weirdly, the statistics would disprove everything that both you and I have said about him. Evra’s actually had MORE succesful tackles, ground clearances, dribbles and 50-50 wins than ever before. Unbelievable but true. Check them out yourself.

    That said, I still don’t think he’ll be out of OT any time soon. Fabio isn’t the most reliable of deputies and compared to him and Fryers (who is actually a centre-back), I’d have Evra anyday.

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