The Red Devils have defied logic so far to head the Premier League table according to supporter Rasheed, who believes the new year will be equally as exciting as 2012 was.
By Rasheed Abu Bakar
With a seven-point advantage at the top of the table, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United has had an unconventional season so far.
United are top of the table not only based on points but also goals scored – 50. Majority of those have come in entertaining comebacks where United snatched victory from the jaws of defeat: Fulham, Manchester City, Southampton and Newcastle can all attest to that.
United defying logic
Interestingly enough, Alex Ferguson’s men have also conceded the most number of goals than any team in the top ten, and we are only halfway through the season. How can a team that has leaked 28 goals still afford to be at the top?
Answer: they just score more than what they concede.
Since Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister, Alex Ferguson has had a hard time finding the next reliable pair. Nemanja Vidic’s injuries meant Johnny Evans has been partnering Rio Ferdinand in the middle of defense. While the defense concede silly goals, United’s new boy, Robin Van Persie has been creating havoc at the front.
With 14 goals under his belt so far, the Dutchman has bailed United out of jail countless times and is proving to be the buy of the season; the last-minute winner at the Etihad is my favourite.
Wayne Rooney may not be scoring as much, but he has continued to be the team player he excels so well at. Apart from partnering Van Persie upfront, Rooney has also been drafted to the wing and central midfield on many occasions.
At 27, Rooney has developed his all-round game under the astute stewardship of Ferguson and we’re seeing the benefits of that master and disciple relationship this season.
Another player who Ferguson has used a lot lately and often goes under the radar is Michael Carrick. The ex-England international has started almost all of United’s games but his real contribution has come from his excellent performances in central midfield. Carrick does the simple things very well and most often provides that link from defense to attack.
The 31-year-old is following the footsteps of his mentor, Paul Scholes, by staying very far away from the media and letting his feet do all the talking. He may not be in the mold of pass masters Xavi or Iniesta but Carrick is the traditional defensive midfielder that suits the style of play United is accustomed to – getting the ball from defense and pushing it forward with pinpoint passes.
What lies beyond the horizon?
The not-so-healthy seven point lead makes for an exciting 2013 as traditionally, United are bound to drop points later in the season. Apart from improving defensively, I hope Ferguson sorts out the attacking midfield position that I feel could make or break the season.
Shinji Kagawa, Tom Cleverly and Anderson have had spells in that position and to be fair, all did relatively well. All three possess different qualities, giving Ferguson a lot of options for the rest of the season. However, the challenge lies in finding the player that can give you seven to ten goals in 2013; Kagawa, Cleverly and Anderson have been a little shy in that department.