2012/13 Season Preview : Manchester United

Having pioneered the innovative No Central Midfielders formation, in response to Barcelona’s Seven Midfielders At Once, Manchester United are still at least the second best team in England.

At the end of last season

They were this close to winning the Premiership (I’m holding my thumb and finger very close together), despite having no clear best ‘keeper, one decent centre-back and no central midfielders, a response to… wait. I’ve done this “joke”. Look, I put it in quote marks. I’m self-deprecating. Basically, if it wasn’t for Joey Barton, they might well have won the league.

What’s happened since then

They’ve signed Shinji Kagawa, who definitely isn’t a direct replacement for Park Ji-Sung, you racist. They’ve finally got rid of Michael Owen, hopefully putting an end to his chokingly annoying Twitter cheerleading. They conspicuously haven’t bought a new “proper” central midfielder, and continue to hold back the inexorable rise of future Ballon d’Or winner Dimi Berbatov. Oh, and the Glazers have fucked everyone over, again.

Current Starting XI

Kagawa will likely start “in the hole” behind Rooney, although given that I’ve seen him play three times ever I’m about to be forced to admit that I’m pulling this out of my arse. United do actually possess a fair bit of squad depth (although perhaps not quite to Chelsea-esque levels in midfield), with admirable cover across the defence and Welbeck/Hernandez providing adequate forward options for when it becomes apparent that Rooney can’t do anything except score goals nowadays. Maybe another midfielder would be nice, or as seems more likely everyone will shut up and get on with letting Carrick and one other be just good enough.

The Manager

Well, he is a bit of a prick, but of all the top managers (Pardew notwithstanding) Sir Alex is the only one who seems to know what he’s doing. Mancini can’t sign anyone, Wenger can’t persuade anyone to stay, Di Matteo will be gone by Christmas, Villas-Boas has one striker and Rodgers is severely handicapped by virtue of being in charge of Liverpool. 25 years later, still United’s biggest asset.

Where will they finish?

Not a chance of repeating the European debacle last year, or Ferguson will be dangling not a few players from the top of Old Trafford, and they’re still substantially better than everyone bar City and perhaps Chelsea. Close second again, at least Semi-finals of the Champions League.


About Dave

I'm not biased, I hate every team, and often the sport itself.
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9 Responses to 2012/13 Season Preview : Manchester United

  1. BartJ says:

    Hilarious first paragraph, couldn’t stop laughing! :)) Coming from United fan. :))

  2. olivermills6 says:

    I really enjoyed reading this, but I don’t quite agree with your starting line up. It clearly includes Cleverley now, and now he’s signed, Van Persie. It should also incorporate Nani instead of Young and if I had my way, Anderson somehow – he plays best alongside Clev. Give my blog a follow and we can exchange views sometime 🙂 http://oliandmattfootball.wordpress.com/

    • Dave says:

      Aye, you’re right, although to be fair to me this was written before RVP signed and Ferguson’s last lineup of the 2011/12 season included Carrick, Giggs and Young. Cleverley and Anderson do seem to work well together, and it looks like SAF hasn’t yet decided who he prefers out of Young and Nani. I might be tempted to have them both and leave out Valencia who, although very good, is pretty one-dimensional, which annoys me.

      • olivermills6 says:

        That’s a controversial claim if ever I’ve seen one! Leave out Valencia, fans’ and players’ player of the year 2012? Haha. I do agree about him being one dimensional though, but he’s certainly improving – he now uses his left foot occasionally and doesn’t always cross from the goal line. And you’ve got to give him the utmost respect for filling in at RB so much even though it’s not his preferred position. I think Young is our weakest winger to be honest, but no one else seems to like to play LW!

        I’m finding it really tough to pick my lineup, so I don’t really have a right to criticise yours :P. I think Fergie will alternate with Clev/Ando and Scholes/Carrick in the middle, perhaps? Although watching Kagawa play there against Hannover ’96 last month… he was brilliant there! I think it’s quite exciting that we’ve got so many options, our CMs aren’t half as weak as people make out.

        • Dave says:

          Yeah, the problem with Kagawa is he’s probably your best player in any of the attacking midfield positions. I like your CMs, there’s a decent balance, especially if Fletcher can get back to anything approaching fitness.

          • olivermills6 says:

            Indeed, I’ve been saying how our CMs are quite varied recently. Out of interest, who do you support?

          • Dave says:

            Quite a lot of decent CMs around in the league at the moment, strangely City’s are probably the weakest of the “big teams”. I’m a Newcastle supporter, Ben follows Liverpool.

  3. olivermills6 says:

    Nice to see someone not have a go at Man United’s midfield for once! Newcastle have an excellent team to be honest. I don’t think Liverpool have anywhere near enough depth in numbers though…

    • Dave says:

      Oh definitely, they’re a bag of shite. But then most teams are. And as Newcastle had to play James Perch in a variety of positions last season, I would never dare criticise anyone else’s strength in depth

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