The start of the season is finally there and we have had a rather quiet silly season, other than being rumoured to have been interested in everyone who can kick a ball and has a high price tag. Pretty much like Harry Redknapp during every break but it seems that all our signings were done since a long time and chances of anyone other than Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandez joining the ranks are rather slim. And just like last year, it doesn’t matter because our squad *is* strong already and the two only signings we made were sensible ones.
Last year I said:
Contrary to what most people have announced, we do not need any more new signings because ManUtd is already a stronger squad than last season, even after CR7 and Tevez left Old Trafford.
With the arrival of the talented Gabriel Obertan, Michael Owen, who signed on a free and Antonio Valencia’s arrival times certainly look great for the Red Devils.
Although at many times last season our vulnerabilities have been exploited, we must be honest and admit that the squad wasn’t weaker due to the departure of Cryboy and the Gelled Tumbler. What did happen though was that we struggled once more with a huge amount of injuries and these cost us lots. And to be honest, if I see one problem this season it’s in the defensive department again.
There is no doubt that the Twins will continue to grow and get used to the pressure of Champions League and Premier League football and Evans has become a solid defender, worthy to play in the Premier League. But my main worry lies in the centre-back role and Ferdinand’s recovery. Now more than once have I said that our medical department brilliant is and over the years we have seen many a player return better than ever before, even after long periods of injury. But Rio’s case actually does worry me because I think we could have our Ledley King case and we are short in the defensive department when the riding gets rough.
Even though we have signed the highly talented Chris Smalling to replace Rio/Vidic if one of both leaves in a couple of years, it is too early for Smalling-Evans to pair up as a central defensive pair. If Rio’s condition remains doubtful we only have one real cover option with international experience and that is Evans. The next option would be Wes Brown, who hopefully will have more luck and enjoy a less injury plagued season.
While it might be too early for Smalling to really shine in our squad, there is no doubt that we have signed one of the most exciting players to participate to the EPL and Javier Hernandez will arrival on Europe’s football stage will not pass unnoticed. The young Mexican, and one of the revelations at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa scored his first goal in a red shirt against the MLS All Stars during our USA tour and followed this up with another lively display and a goal in Sunday’s 3-1 drubbing of the Rentboys for the Community Shield.
Hernandez will add speed and precision but also a lethal touch to our attack and together with Rooney, Valencia and Nani we certainly will be as fast and probably even more dangerous on the counter as with CR7.
While Chelsea arguably haven’t improved their squad and age continues to be an issue, not to mention saturation and ego of certain players we will continue to love and hate here, our neighbours have continued there spending spree and now will soon have t start selling the international stars whom they paid over the odds for last season. Besides that I think that although they are contenders for fourth spot, maybe even third with Arsenal looking to have a similar squad and every prospect of failing once more in the last two months, Citeh won’t qualify for Europe’s elite this season. With the extra-ordinair man skill manager Roy Hodgson now at Anfield, there is no doubt that the Dippers will be a force to consider again for fourth spot and I predict that they will qualify and Citeh will have to wait another year before they could possibly flavour the taste of silverware or at least qualify for the competition of Europe’s elite, while we clinch our record 19th and knock the Dippers of their perch.
I for one can not wait for the season to start and while there still are many question around who will make our 25 man squad and who will be deemed not fit enough, the Season is about to start and that 19th will be ours at the end of the season. Finally.