Manchester United accrued the most points in the of the Premier League without actually winning the league. But the raw data hides some major weaknesses in Fergie’s squad. Shaka looks at what’s needed to return United to the top next season.
There’s been something so utterly un-Manchester United about the closing weeks of the league. They couldn’t look more out of character if Fergie started praising referees and Rio Ferdinand started tweeting in the Queen’s English.
The game against Everton, when they conceded four goals and dropped too immensely valuable points highlighted the fact they need to reinforce at the centre of defence. I know they had to do without Nemenja Vidic for most of the season and Jonny Evans did well as a replacement, but they need something else.
Rio Ferdinand is still capable of playing well, but he’s at an age where he’s a little inconsistent. I’m a big Vidic fan, but we have to wait and see how he returns following a serious injury. I like Chris Smalling, but I still think he’s one for the future and United need someone for the present. I felt he was a little exposed in the second half of the season, but that’s only to be expected because he’s so young and he’s still learning the game at the highest level. He’s highly talented and he’ll get better as he builds up his experience.
If I was Sir Alex, I’d be looking for another high class out and out striker to lead the line alongside Wayne Rooney. They do have Welbeck and maybe he can grow into that role, but with United, success is demanded so relentlessly, they should look for a finished article to share the goal-scoring burden with Rooney.
The biggest area of the team in need of work is the midfield. They need more creativity and a more defensively minded stopper. Michael Carrick is not a combative midfielder and he never has been. He’s been doing the role and not done too badly, but it doesn’t suit him and you get the impression he’s only ever filling the void. Giggs and Scholes have been fantastic players and great servants to the club, but the fact United are still relying so heavily on them for creativity shows how much creativity they lack.