5 Things We Learned: Manchester United 4-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers


By Jason Freeman

1) Ferdinand not “past it”

Many have declared the England defender “finished” and “past it” this season, Ferdinand has struggled for form and fitness at times this season and had a nightmare to forget at Old Trafford in the derby along with many other Man United players but since then his form has got better and better and he was incredible today, making a mammoth 20 clearances. Ferdinand really stood up today in Vidic’s absence and his performance was very Vidic-esque, very dominant and commanding. His distribution was another nice feature during the game as it has been during his whole career. Ferdinand also instilled confidence at the back and lead the defence very well and this helps the young players around him especially Jonny Evans, who looks more assured when the former England Captain is next to him as do many players. More of this will be needed from Ferdinand for the rest of the season with Vidic out and now more than ever it is vital that he stays fit, it may be too much to ask though with his recent injury record. One thing is for sure though, when fit, Ferdinand is still one of the best around and certainly not “past it”. More of the same please Rio.

2) Carrick & Jones: Midfield Partnership

An unexpected but thoroughly pleasing midfield partnership that is getting better and better with every game. The duo complement each other very well, both are defensive minded players but are also comfortable in attack and their defensive abilities allow each other the freedom to get forward. Jones’ energy and drive has provided the United midfield something that has been lacking for a while. For the past few seasons Carrick has been handed a more disciplined role protecting the back 4 and has rarely gone anywhere near the opposition box but yesterday we saw him allowed more freedom getting into the penalty box to make a diving header which just went over the bar early on. The freedom for Carrick to get forward also allowed him to be more effective in the final third with his passing, creating a few chances which isn’t something we’ve seen from Carrick for the past few seasons. It’s only early days with this partnership but Jones is bringing the best out in Carrick and hopefully this will continue as Carrick can be very effective and who knows had he been playing in Switzerland on Wednesday we may even have got the draw or win that we needed to progress to the next round.

3) The season isn’t going that bad

Yes we’re out of the Champions League but our Premier League campaign isn’t going that badly especially when compared to this stage in past seasons. After 15 games last season we were on 31 points, this season we’re on 36 points after the same amount of games and usually we finish the season stronger than we start. It’s not going to be easy to win the league as we’re picking up a lot of injuries and City are doing well but they have a tough run of games coming up over the next month and we could be top come the new year or the gap should be reduced. We have a young side and potentially a very good side on our hands, even if we don’t win the League this season, the future is still bright and is looking more positive than the last time we went out of the Champions League at the group stages and even 2 years after that we were in Moscow lifting the Champions League.

Manchester United’s league points tally after 15 games: 06/07=31, 07/08=33, 08/09=31, 09/10=34, 10/11=31, 11/12=36

4) Youngsters need patience

We have a very young squad this season. The outgoing Paul Scholes, Edwin van der Sar, Wes Brown and John O’Shea were replaced in the squad by the incoming David De Gea, Phil Jones and Ashley Young, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck were also added to the first team squad after successful spells on loan in the Premiership last season and they have both impressed but have struggled with injuries. Ashley Young has also struggled with injury after a bright start. David De Gea has come in for much criticism this season, most of which has been over the top as he’s been very good for a young goalkeeper, there have been mistakes but it was to be expected with buying someone so young, the fact is he is potentially the best keeper in the world and he has shown signs of becoming that player so far in his short time at the club. Other young members of the squad require patience too; the likes of Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling will be at the club for many years to come. You can’t expect young players to be instant successes, not even Cristiano Ronaldo was an instant success, I’m not saying any of our youngsters will turn into the standard of player that Ronaldo was, but patience was key with him as it has been for many players that have come through the club’s academy or have been brought to the club at a young age.

5) Rooney and Nani: Key Players

Rooney and Nani are probably our main 2 attacking threats and yesterday they scored their first goals since September which is pretty hard to believe given the start to the season they both had, especially Rooney who scored 9 in the first 5 league games of the season. Rooney however tends to score in bursts, he’ll go 8 games without a goal and then score in 8 consecutive games, I’m not sure why but it seems to happen quite often. Nani’s fluidity and ability to use both feet makes him unplayable at times, where as Valencia and Young are more predictable. Both will need to kick on now as with Vidic out for the season we may be required to score more goals. They are 2 players who are capable of scoring goals on their own but they can also create goal scoring opportunities for others. These 2 will have a key role in any success we will have this season and hopefully they can both kick on after yesterday’s good win.

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  1. I would expect so. If Jones keeps impressing in midfield we may go with a 3 of Carrick, Jones and Cleverley against City in the cup.

  2. Wolves keeper Hennesy, is so tall, he has problems dealing with snap shots low and under his torso! Park goal, Nani and Rooney goals!

  3. One game, and all is forgiven regarding Rooney, who cost us the CL game with the myriad chances he blue in front of goal. Never mind the nine game sequence without a goal, never mind that he scored at home against Wolves, one of this season’s candidates for demotion. Never mind that he created nothing himself during this game but was handed both goals, or that he spent a great portion of the game squandering possession against Wolves’ lowly defense, either through his innocuous passing or by kicking the ball into opponent’s legs.

    Author’s like this really are annoying with their utter blind loyalty and the ridiculous double standards they apply to Rooney and his performances. Had Berbatov missed as many chances as Rooney did a few days ago the knives would been sharpened and thrust deeply into his back post haste. Had the Bulgarian endured such a goal-scoring drought Old Trafford would have been burnt to the ground in protest at his ongoing inclusion in the side – most certainly a double goal redemption similar to Rooney’s would have been met with utter scorn and the usual labels of being inconstant – as happened last season when he scored his hat trick against Liverpool and then put five past another side. Resident Rooney apologists like this writer write off the blazing inconsistencies by almost making it sound like a virtue ‘Oh, that’s just Roo, he’ll go 6 months without putting one in, but watch out when he gets the radar going!’ or ‘There’s a lot more to Rooney than just scoring goals’ – funny, I thought that was a striker’s key role in a side?

    The guy is simply the most over-rated and over-hyped footballer in recent memory, and if he wasn’t English you can be sure that the fan base and media alike would be giving his ongoing pathetic performances the short shrift they deserve – and I say all this as a United supporter who’s allegiances go all the way back to the Busby era.

    • I never said Rooney had a brilliant game, thought he was good but can be a lot better. I’ve mentioned it on the forum too.

  4. Good assessment..I thought Jones and Carrick did brilliant in that game..to be honest,I’m not a fan of M.Carrick but he has really improved his games in the last couple of matches..looks more confident on the ball,passing and tackling,something that I haven’t seen from him for a while..all in all,glad to see everyone has backed to their best form even it was against ‘Wolves’..

    • aHaving said this, I couldn’t see Jones ended up as a CM rather than CB. He is and will always be our future CB. At the moment, he is the solver of our problem at the central of midfield. Our midfield future is lying with Cleverley, Morrison and Tunnicliffe. It would be a great combination, wouldn’t it?? Pogba?? No one knows whether he will stay at the club or not..

  5. I know its only wolves but after basel who cares a win is a win and more important was the performance in terms of commitment and desire.Really like the first 11 that started the match and hope SAF play this team on a consistent basis for a change.

  6. It was a much needed win on Saturday. But you have to look at Wolves. The amount of possession they let Utd have was astonishing. I mean I never saw a team give so much space to Utd in Midfield and in front of goal. They were absolutely terrible. I’m not trying to take away from Utd’s performance, but it was rountine agasinst very bad oppoistion who Utd and the majority of other premier league teams should have destroyed.

  7. Everyone who is saying “Oh it’s only Wolves” may want to remember that they gave us tough games last season and ended our unbeaten league run. We’ve also played similar teams recently and not played as well. I’m not trying to make out that we were playing a very good team because we weren’t but we won and won well, had we played like we have been playing since October we wouldn’t have won with such ease. Enjoy the win.

  8. Rooney was terrible against Wolves and Timbo correctly printed the rest.Utd players this season so far have 36 assists for goals Rooney has 2 assists.Rooney scored just two goals in champions league, against part-time Romanians whose yearly wage bill for the entire team is one week of Rooneys.

  9. I haven’t said anything in this article about Rooney’s performance vs Wolves or anyone other team.

    If you want to talk stats to debate his importance then 160 goals and 80 assists in 341 games.

    There’s probably a stat out there too that says we win more games when he plays compared to when he doesn’t.

    You’re entitled to your own opinion but I believe Rooney is one of our most important players and our biggest threat going forward.

  10. I just wish we will see more of that killer instinct from nani and rooney I want to win the leageu for the 20th time so come on guys let’s do it

  11. Rooney was far from terrible against Wolves. Having a solid performing midfield (Carrick and Jones had good games) allows Rooney to play closer to the centre forward. Rooney’s form has to play deeper due to the lack of creativity from midfield, which has hindered his goal scoring form.

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