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Viewpoint 30/10/07

 fans viewsHenry Kibirige's column this week looks at the growing understanding of the players within the team. Also how our strong squad will help us cope with injuries.


I think that after recent performances, it’s fair to say that United are back and rapidly edging towards their best. After the 4-0 win over Wigan, United have put four past Villa, Kiev and recently Middlesbrough, which equals a 100 year old club record for scoring four in four consecutive games.

This is absolutely brilliant and our campaign to retain the title has truly started now, but the coming weeks will be a test to really see how far the reds have come. Starting with Arsenal away next Sunday, United will then welcome Kiev on the Champions League return leg, then it will be a tough home game against the rapidly improving Blackburn side. United then travel to Bolton before Sporting Lisbon visit Old Trafford.

But I have to say that the United squad has impressed me very much in recent weeks, and I can already see little partnerships and co-ordinations that ensure that I have every confidence the reds will continue their rich run of form.

None impressed me more though than the Argentine upfront. When Tevez signed, the majority of United fans and pundits predicted that his partnership with Rooney simply won’t work, as they play too much like each other. This then meant that these people preferred to see more of a goal poacher upfront -someone who you would expect to be challenging for the long Rio Ferdinand passes from the back.
During that time though, I firmly believed that playing with a goal poacher isn’t the United way. I would rather see two wingers, a centre mid and two strikers flying in attack, than a striker and another striker just behind him. United are at their best playing this way, and that was one of the major reasons why United devastated defences last season.

So Rooney and Tevez knuckled down in training, and some of the stuff they have both been playing recently is pure class. They are already showing a unique understanding between each other, and at these early stages, one seems to get he ball and know where the other is in a split second.
This isn’t by luck or determination, this is showing that they are both great players. Andy Townsend, the ITV pundit said during the Kiev game along the lines of:

“ Tevez and Rooney are world class players, and world class players already know what the other is going to do. They form an understanding instantly due to their intelligence.”

And for the first time in my young life, I wholeheartedly agree with an ITV pundit. You can practice and practice partnerships, but there are some that you simply cannot coach. There is something unique in partnerships like Cole and Yorke, and Hughes and Cantona. That’s why they stand out from others.
Rooney and Tevez are similar in many ways. They are both strong and aggressive, and they are ready to chase down defenders and midfielders all day long. Their finishing and first touch in sublime and they link-up brilliantly with the midfield. The other thing is that they are both probably the ugliest players in the Premiership, and their combined force will give defenders nightmares. The last thing an opposition player wants is getting the ball, turning and realising that a raging Argentine bull is coming full force at him, hastily backed up by Shrek.
While United are playing well now, it will be interesting to see how they both cope when United are in a bad patch. That will be a test to see whether they really are that good, but I have every confidence that they are and will go through that patch smoothly…
Why does the word Saha keep popping in my head? -Never mind.
But without neat, crisp passes in the midfield, Tevez and Rooney wouldn’t be enjoying such impressive form. Ronaldo as always is causing havoc to opposition defences, and that is expected for a player of such high calibre. So instead I turn my attention to the new boys; Hargreaves, Nani, and Anderson.
There isn’t really that much to say about Hargreaves. He did well on his debut though. Patrice Evra realised that playing in the Manchester derby isn’t the most comfortable way to introduce yourself, but despite the 1-0 burglary in the Council house, Hargreaves was exceptional in the middle. United dominated that game in every department, and it was largely due to Owen’s hard work in midfield. He was everywhere, breaking down play, intercepting, and another option for the pass. Even though a few of my mates didn’t recognise this, I thought he was by far United’s Man of the Match.

His run in the first team came to a sudden halt when he picked up an injury in the 1-0 win over Sunderland at Old Trafford. I was happy to see him against Boro though, and even though it was a bit of a patchy performance, you could clearly see his determination to put in 110% for the team.
Nani has been in first team a lot of times already this season, and is rapidly challenging Ryan Giggs (Legend) for regular first team status. I think that the best way to describe him is the left winged Ronaldo. (Ronaldo plays on both wings, but you know what I mean) Nani loves to cut in to shoot, and shoot well. His goal against Spurs earlier in the season was venomous, despite a deflection off Tevez’s head. He then scored an absolute cracker against Boro. After running infield from the wing, he was unchallenged and his dipping and curling effort gave Schwarzer no chance.

He is a pacey player who isn’t afraid to run at defenders, but despite his trick box, he can lack concentration at times. Too often in games he has switched off and produced lazy and unnecessary passes. Hopefully he will cut this out the longer he’s at United.
Then there’s Anderson. Like Hargreaves, the Brazilian hasn’t featured much, but after impressing against Wigan, Kiev and Boro, you can see the class in him. Like many Brazilian players, he is comfortable on the ball and makes light work in some of his brilliant passes. He has great technique, and can put in a strong tackle if required to.
Scholesy looks like he’s out for a while, so Anderson will have to get used to starting alongside Hargreaves or someone else. Despite not scoring yet for United, I think Anderson movement and touch will help United to even more wins.
United have only conceded 3 goals at home, (2 against Coventry and 1 against Boro) plus having a solid defensive away record. When United weren’t scoring that many goals, it was a relief to see that we weren’t conceding many as well. Nemanja Vidic has been an absolute rock at the back. And with the ‘Nemanja oooooh’ chant ringing out regularly at United games, it shows that the fans appreciate his contributions. He is solid in the tackle and marks strikers brilliantly. Vidic is brilliant at heading the ball defensively, and also when needed in set pieces. His header against Everton is the sort of header coaches try teaching kids. The way he ran and attacked the ball was a joy to watch.

Vidic and Rio are continually doing well in the middle of the back line, and so is Wes Brown on the right. Gary Neville is set for a return from injury, and even he admits that he will face competition from Brown for a place back in the starting eleven. Despite a few poor crosses, Brown has been generally solid and reliable at right back.
The Coventry game was a absolute disgrace, but Pique and Simpson impressed and have earned senior squad status. They are both young and inexperienced, but are willing to learn from their older colleagues. They are showing a lot of potential, but I hope that they continue and not fade away.
So the squad looks great defensively and attacking wise. Bring on the league.
Henry Kibirige

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