United have been dealt a major blow for the season with the news that Antonio Valencia will be out till the end of February. I made it a point this week to look at the stats and see how Valencia influenced our game last season and the results are worrying. Antonio had a hand in 3/4 of the goals we scored last season and was just about the sole reason that Rooney got those many goals with his head. His ability to put in a good ball from the right hand side is just about as good as was Beckham's was. He's out no so we have to deal with it.
Nani can put in a good ball---as we all saw last weekend but not anywhere as frequently that Valencia does. He'll be playing on his favourite right wing spot so you hope that he turns in the magic but that is only down to hope.
I think that United have to re-invent themselves into that sort of side we had when we lost the likes of Beckham---when the midfield provided the creative ingenuity. At the moment, we've got Paul Scholes and Dimitar Berbatov providing the creative axis in the team but I fear that opponents such as Liverpool could work out a means of shutting Scholes out of the game or even getting him sent off. Darren Fletcher does provide us with a goal or two here and there but it would be nice to see him back to his creative best that we saw last season. Carrick would have been the other player I expect to step up but he's out so Anderson really has to get going. He can do a job as a defensive midfielder but being Brazilian, you'd think the first thing he learnt was going forward and spraying passes.
Ultimately though, regardless of the side Fergie picks, we need to be more than just the one dimensional team that we've been with Valencia. I think we'll also have to work on the defect of throwing away chances as we might not be able to create as many---I mean look at Tuesday's game!
The Dippers have started the season poorly and so they might be looking for such a result to kick-start their season. Having said that, it's not like if we've started very well either. We need to address one or two defensive issues that have cost us four points from four games. Our rivals for the title have more or less straight forward opposition this weekend so that will be a bother. Ultimately though, we're at home and so you expect us to do all we can to get the three points. This Liverpool teams has just about enough holes to exploit and I believe we can beat them on the day.
The manager has named Nemanja Vidic captain for as long as he's in the side----Not a bad choice!