Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Is midfield central to United’s title prospects?




Is midfield central to United’s title prospects?

Is midfield central to United’s title prospects?

Analysis

Whilst reigning English Premier League champions Manchester United have had their pre-season tour of Asia constantly interrupted by the nagging irritation of the Wayne Rooney saga, that has seemingly followed them around the continent like a hungry mosquito, there is perhaps another more searching bug that may find them out when they begin the defence of their crown in a little over two weeks from now that will not be so easy to swat away with spin.

United’s relentless pursuit of Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas is surely testimony to the hole that needs to be filled in central midfield, vacated by the retirement of the outstanding Paul Scholes.

Scholes became the butt of many a joke with relation to precisely what time in a game that he was going to get booked. However, very few players could deliver a deft pass so frequently as Scholes could in his heyday.

Two seasons ago when the noisy neighbours of Manchester City pipped their more illustrious rivals to the title, it was the shy ginger haired lad from Langley who was the linchpin in keeping tabs on City.

The acquisition of Robin van Persie last year alleviated some of the pressure on United’s midfielders and Rooney often slipped back into the pocket behind the regular Dutch goalscorer.

However, should Rooney depart to Chelsea or elsewhere and Fabregas stays as expected at his boyhood club in Catalonia, then unless they fill the void quickly United may well find themselves reliant solely on the skills of the outstanding Shinji Kagawa.

Will that be enough though? With Giggs turning 40 in November and nobody in the mould of Keane about to protect the heart of their defence anymore, the Red Devils could once again find themselves chasing a City side, that has been spending more money in the summer window than is handed out to a retiring BBC executive.

Manchester City’s spending has already topped the £90 million (US$136.9 million) mark in the past few months, with the smart looking investments of Jesus Navas, Fernandinho, Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo. United on the other hand have only so far bought the Uruguayan fullback Guillermo Varela.

Fernandinho is considered good enough to feature for Brazil, and Navas and Negredo have played a combined 42 times for World and European champions Spain. There will be no African Cup of Nations this coming season to deprive City of Yaya Toure for an entire month, and with Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Edin Dzeko to call on, Man City look stronger than ever.

David Moyes needs a miracle midfield makeover and fast, or else the sounds of Blue Moon and the rhythmic sways of The Poznan will be ringing and lingering in the ears and eyes of United.

However, a certain man from Portugal might just poke his way into the fray, or may be it is time for the Wenger Boys to finally deliver. Whatever happens, it should be another season to savour.

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: antibiotics cause more deaths

    Increased antibiotics use in combating the Covid-19 pandemic will strengthen bacterial resistance and ultimately lead to more deaths during the crisis and beyond, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a “worrying number” of bacterial infections were becoming

  • Children in poverty said to rise by 86M

    The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children warned that if urgent measures are not taken, the number of children living in poverty across low- and middle-income countries could increase by 86 million, a 15 per cent jump, by the end of the year. In

  • PM slams HRW ‘double standards’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has chided Human Rights Watch (HRW) Asia director Brad Adams for keeping quiet over protest crackdowns in the US following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Addressing reporters while inspecting infrastructure development in Preah Sihanouk province on Monday,

  • Four more UN troops infected by Covid virus

    Four more Cambodian Blue Helmet peacekeepers in Mali have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, bringing the number of infected Cambodian UN peacekeepers to 10. National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces and Explosive Remnants of War deputy director-general and spokeswoman Kosal Malinda told The Post on Tuesday

  • Huge tracks of undocumented land a concern for registration officials

    Siem Reap provincial deputy governor Ly Samrith expressed concern that land registration plans for residents scheduled to be completed by late 2021 could not be achieved because 80 per cent of the land had not been registered. Land dispute issues are a major factor that poses a

  • Bank robber of $6M asks to be released

    An accused bank robber who admitted to stealing $6 million has asked the Supreme Court to release him temporarily because he had returned the money. In a court hearing on Tuesday Chan Simuntha, 39, told the judge that on January 18, his wife Teang Vathanaknearyroth told him that